United Arab Emirates – Kousa Mahshi

by Adelina Aida

Kousa Mahshi is a dish of the whole Middle East and many other countries. This dish is a rice stuffed zucchini or squash. As a cultural component, it is served as the main dish or snacks at meetings, parties, Ramzan, meetings, before meals, sometimes after meals, etc. They are served hot and even cold. Various herbs are added to them to strengthen the immune system. Stuffed zucchini (or squash), zucchini (KOUSA in Arabic) is the side dish of the national cuisine of Arabs.

To make this dish we need to have 3 main elements and then the stuffing procedure. Cooking all elements together and assembling. This dish required many steps to cook. But the taste worth it.

Alternative names of this dish

  • Stuffed squash
  • Stuffed courgette
  • Kabak dolması
  • punjene paprike
  • Stuffed marrow
  • Punjene tikvice
  • Stuffed mahshi
  • Stuffed zucchini

This dish is famous in many countries like

  • United Arab Emirates
  • Lebanon
  • Syria
  • Turkey
  • Dubai
  • Abu dhabi
  • Egypt
  • Greece

This is the type of DOLMA.


Dolma is a dish from the family of Ottoman-stuffed dishes that can be served hot or cold as a snack or main dish. Some types of dolma are made with whole vegetables, fruits, nuts, organs, meats, or seafood. Wrapping the filling in leaves, often from grape or cabbage leaves can also be done while preparing dolma.

Dolma can also be served as the appetizer for the main dinner. Stuffing is prepared and wrapped by grape leaves of cabbage leaves. But in a dish like kousa mahsik, Stuffing is filled in the vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, squash etc.

Dolma is distributed in many cuisines like :

  • Turkish cuisine
  • Balkan cuisine
  • Israeli cuisine
  • Arabic cuisine



Zucchini, baby marrow, or courgette are the different names for this vegetable. Many stuffed dishes are made of zucchini. To consume zucchini in dish and daily diet makes you fit and glowing while having many nutrients like :

  • Folate
  • Pottasium
  • Vitamin A
  • Iron

Zucchini is shaped into noodles and then they are known as ”ZOODLES”.


This dish has zucchini that is stuffed with rice. Rice is cooked with different spices and herbs to make it delicious. Mince is added to cook rice so it is like mince rice stuffed into zucchini. Rice cooked properly, the addition of spices like red pepper, cumin powder, turmeric, and cooked mince is added. Then hollow the zucchini from the middle filled with cooked rice and serve in tomato sauce. Some people like to mix meat, especially if they only use lamb or cow. I like to use both lamb and beef. The meat is usually chopped and mixed with rice, although kusa makhshi with tiny lamb or beef fillets sprinkled over all the rice is also eaten.


Tomato sauce is very simple with few ingredients. Sometimes, the sauce is served very liquidy and sometimes it’s more like curry. But usually not so thick but slightly thin consistency of the tomato sauce is served with it.

Salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, vinegar is added to make it tasty.


  1. Labenese zucchini = 8, medium sized
  2. Salt = 1 tsp
  3. Paprika powder = 1 tsp


  1. Rice = 250 grams
  2. Lamb mince = 250 grams
  3. Oil = 4 tbsp
  4. Salt = 1 tsp
  5. Pepper = 1 tsp
  6. Cumin powder = 2 tsp
  7. Turmeric powder = 1 tsp
  8. Parsely = 4 tbsp
  9. Onions chopped = 4 tbsp
  10. Baharat = 2 tsp
  11. Mint chopped = 2 tbsp


  1. Tomato paste = 1 cup
  2. Salt = 1 tsp
  3. Paprika powder = 1 tsp
  4. Vinegar = 1/2 cup
  5. Water = 1/2 cup
  6. Sugar = 2 tbsp


  1. Clean the zucchini, wash it properly and hollow it carefully with knife.
  2. Remove all the seeds but donot peel off the skin of zucchini. Zucchini in this dish is hollow to make stuffing filled in it.
  3. Now to make stuffing, take oil in a pan and add chopped onions into it. After 2 minutes frying, add mince and start cooking until the moisture releases from mince.
  4. It time to add salt, pepper, cumin, paprika to the meat.
  5. Now add water of about 1 glass, wait for 10 minutes for the mince to cook properly.
  6. Add rice with meat when cooked and let them cook together.
  7. If water required add 1/2 glass of water to cook rice with meat mince and spices.
  8. When rice and meat cooked, add parsely and mint over the rice.
  9. While rice are resting and let it cool, make tomato sauce.
  10. To make tomato sauce, add tomato paste with water, paprika, salt, vinegar and sugar together into the pan.
  11. Let it boil, cook for 5 minutes and ready.
  12. Now when rice is ready, add rice stuffing in the hollow zucchini and add one by one into the sauce.
  13. When zucchini is added into the sauce, let it cook together for 10 more minutes and serve.

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