Mehshi Kousa {Stuffed Squash}

The weather has finally cleared up today. We passed through the only storm of the winter season and amid all its pent up rage, winter exploded with a sandstorm and rainstorm in one. Unfortunately it couldn’t quite get the cold temperature, but alas, I thank it for the rain it gave me on Friday and Saturday, for a moment I was transported to rainy Beirut winters during my university days.

As the rain tapped on my window, I could only think of having something comforting.  One of the most traditional Lebanese dishes that touches on the holy trinity of comfort food is Mehshi Kousa or Stuffed Squash. (Mehshi means stuffed and Kousa means squash in Arabic)

What is the holy trinity of comfort food?

  1. Something stuffed with rice
  2. Something tomato based
  3. Something served warm

And that’s a check, check and check for Mehshi Kousa which is essentially cored out squash and potato stuffed with rice and meat and cooked in a fresh tomato based sauce.

We have all been asked this question several times, “Who would you have dinner with if you could pick anyone past or present?”  I have always answered this question on a whim giving the first thing that came to mind without being convinced to my core with my answer.

But now I can declare that I would love to dine with a food historian so they could retell the fascinating stories of how some cuisines and recipes came about. I’m sure they are a function of seasonality and functionality but I know the details would mesmerize me.

Take for example Kousa Mehshi, how did that come about?  I would infer that squash was in season, they needed lunch that they could carry around and was easy to eat and at the same time would fill them up via the rice and meat stuffing.  The early begging’s of a modern day sandwich perhaps?

Either way, I’m happy it came about. It’s a dish that would inflict fond memories of home to any Lebanese.

Through some of my recipes I would like to shed some light on Lebanese food that goes beyond mezza and mixed grills typically served at restaurants to more traditional food that is cooked at home.

Sahtain!

Love,

Tala

For the full recipe click the link Mehshi Kousa Recipe .

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    1. Angus

      Hey, more a grammatic question since I’m studying arabic but doesn’t the adjective follow the noun, ie “kousa me7shi” instead of “me7shi kousa”? Anyway, they look delicious. Key ingredient is 5 spice mix :) Sa7tayn.

      • Fork It Over Dubai

        It’s funny how you brought that up! My cousin and I just had an hour long heated debate about which comes first. Some people say kousa me7shi and others say me7shi kousa. We tried to get to the bottom of what is correct but at the end of the day we settled on its what you’re used to in your house. But maybe you solved it with the grammatical reasoning.

        I have to say, we never use 5 spice mix in my house. I feel it’s too over powering. Try sweet pepper on its own. This would let the vegetables speak for themselves rather than weighing them down with spices.

        :)

    2. Wow! I am so loving this… I’m wondering why I haven’t come across Mehshi Kousa in any of the Lebanese restaurants before in Dubai. Photographs are amazing… can almost feel the stuffing pouring out!

      • Fork It Over Dubai

        Hey You!

        Thanks for your positive comments regarding my photos, I woke up at 7 am, on a Friday mind you, to take them. So your encouraging comment is my reward, thank you.

        That’s exactly what I’m trying to shed light on. People think that Lebanese food is Mezza and Mixed grills but in our households that’s not what we eat on a daily basis. We usually eat stuffed squash, eggplant, vine leaves or cabbage or string beans with rice. The list goes on. Hopefully people will get to know a bit more about that through my posts.

        xxx