Lebanese zucchini is tiny and almost sweet; this dish is considered comfort food here and the zucchinis are sold in supermarkets already cored to save people time. I had found a small battery-operated zucchini (and eggplant) corer at an Iranian bazaar in Beirut, but when I showed it around, most people said “no thank you, I can core faster than this machine”.
Here is an idea: steam the zucchinis a couple of minutes till tender, cut them in half lengthwise and core them with a small spoon. Keep the zucchini flesh for another recipe (two possibilites, here and there).
These are stuffed with either meat and spices, meat and rice, or rice and herbs for a vegan version. All delicious. The sauce can be either onion and tomatoes stewed, or pomegranate molasses and water.
Mo3allem Philippe picking zucchinis.
- 1 pound of zucchinis (the smallest you can find)
- 1/3 pound of ground beef (fatty is better)
- spices: 1 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp of allspice, 1/4 tsp of black pepper, 1/4 tsp of paprika
- 1 large onion
- 1 can of chopped tomatoes or 3 or 4 large tomatoes, diced
- OR 1/4 cup of pomegranate molasses diluted in 1 1/2 cup of water
- 3 cloves of garlic (optional)
- 3 tbsp of olive oil
- Wash the zucchinis and remove the small cap from one end; core with a veggie corer or split in half and core with a spoon. Set the flesh aside to use later for treedeh or fritters.
- Mix the meat and spices; chop the onion. Heat the olive oil and fry the onion till golden; add the meat and brown. Drain and stuff the zucchini with the meat. Gently fry the zucchini in a film of grease left on the skillet till golden; add the tomatoes and about enough water to come half-way up the zucchinis or the pomegranate juice. Cover the skillet and simmer gently 25 minutes or so. (You can also bake in a 325F oven for that same amount of time). Serve warm with pita bread or some rice.
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