Kousa and My Secret Recipe

Kousas

My favorite squash is starting to come in my home garden and I also see it at the farmer’s market. It’s called Kousa or Kusa and it’s a Lebanese version of the zuchinni. It’s about the same shape, but it’s a very light green in color. And I can’t get enough of it because of this recipe I am going to share with you. It was given to me by some close friends of our family that are of Lebenese descent.

We even just call the meal “Kousa”. And there is a hard version to make and an easy version. And of course I pick the easy version unless I want to turn some guests on to it. And sorry, you won’t get exact measurements for this recipe. It’s a family recipe that’s been handed down by watching people cook in the kitchen. I can’t think of a better recipe for success than that.

Ingredients:

1lb Ground meat, preferably lamb (Riverslea lamb is very good)
2-3 medium Kousas, seeds removed and chopped into 1 inch pieces

fresh tomatoes chopped or 2 cans of chunky tomatoes

a handful of freshly chopped mint or dried mint to taste

2-3 small handfuls of rice

About 1-2 cups of water, however you might like the consistency, more stew like or soup like.

Boullion cube if you like.

Saute the meat, toss in the rest of the ingredients and simmer until the kousa is soft, about 45 min. The liquid ingredients should just cover the meat and kousa.

The more difficult version involves coring out the kousa and stuffing them with the tomato/meat/rice mixture and then cooking them in a tomato sauce. It is soo good.

And waste not, the Lebanese take the Kousa insides/seeds and saute it up with onions and eggs for a delicious breakfast. Also, the insides and the kousa can be blanched and frozen, so you can eat this yummy warm your insides meal in the winter time as well.

If you are not into trying to cook as much, try out Martha’s restaurant in Hampton Falls. When Kousa is in season, you can have the meal made for you here. Click the link for a great review.

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19 Comments

  1. Posted July 23, 2007 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    ahhh that is so smart to just cook it all up together –

  2. jean
    Posted July 24, 2007 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    I like to squeeze on a generous amount of lemon juice right before serving. Mmmmmm.

  3. jean
    Posted July 25, 2007 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    This isn’t specifically cousa related -BUT- there’s a new kid in town. Z-Mart, a gas station on 108, (just North of downtown Newmarket) is now serving Lebanese cuisine (Maha’s Homemade.) Look for the gas station sign with the word “Falafel” underneath it- that was what drew us in. They haven’t got their full kitchen running, so everything is served refrigerated, but he assures me that that will change. We’ve tried a bunch of their stuff, and it’s pretty darned good, considering it’s not freshly made. Martha’s will always be my first love, but I look forward to getting my fix closer to home!

  4. Posted July 26, 2007 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    That’s great to hear. Since I spent many years in the Washington D.C. area, I was spoiled eating fantastic ethnic food. It’s always a good thing, when another cuisine opens up. Thanks for sharing the info!

  5. Jeff
    Posted August 2, 2007 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Kate and I finally tried your Kousa recipe last night. Yum-o, as the kids say.

  6. Posted August 2, 2007 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    lol. Yucky and yummy are two of the most used words in our house right now, so I understand to vocab.

  7. Mom
    Posted August 6, 2007 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    The Kousa was delicious! Ted and I enjoyed it so much I will add it to my regular repertoire of recipes. I used ground buffalo meat in the recipe, which I bought along with the kousa, at our local Farmer’s market in VA.

  8. cathy
    Posted August 3, 2008 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    am going to try this today–I wanted to avoid cooking cousa the traditional way–always looking for fast recipes.

  9. Mahoil Auzzi
    Posted August 26, 2008 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    Im sorry but this is not a lebanese recipe. It is a BLAND American one. My Lebanese dog would stick his nose up at it.

  10. Posted August 29, 2008 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Mahoil – any suggestions to spice it up?

  11. SK
    Posted May 14, 2009 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    My grandmother made wonderful Lebenese/Syrian Food. Kousa was her specialty. We always make it stuffed. I make a simple version of my grandmothers…#1 brown/season ground beef (or lamb), #2 season uncooked (but wet) Rice with Cinnamin (or allspice),#3 mix uncooked rice with meat (add little tomato sauce for texture)then stuff. #4 Season Tomato Sauce with good amount of “Nana”… Fresh Speriment Leaves…Cook in sauce/Juice until house smells like heaven. Also, it was custom to cut into slices, top with a little sweetened plain yogert and eat with pita bread. Please share with everyone…it is the best!!!

  12. Amahl
    Posted September 30, 2009 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Sarah, please forgive Mahoil and his arrogant jerk of a dog. We Lebanese do take our Kousa seriously though. Try adding some garlic to the sauce, with a dash of “Lebanese pepper” which is a blend of black pepper and allspice. We also love fresh lemon juice, and my great aunt from Jbeil used to serve this recipe with lemon juice in the tomato sauce and as a garnish with fresh mint. There is also a variation with laban (yougurt), but it takes a bit more time since you have to stabilize the laban before cooking or it will curdle. See Claudia Rosen’s A Book of Middle Eastern Food for details…it’s an amazing resource.

  13. Amahl
    Posted September 30, 2009 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, that’s RODEN, not Rosen!

  14. David N. Bergeron
    Posted October 25, 2009 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    My mother shared cooking recipes (French-Canadian) with a Syrian housewife. Kousa was one that my mother got from Mrs. Samara. It was/is a favorite of mine. Can’t easily find the proper squash, so I use regular zucchini.
    Today I’m trying Grey Squash…looks a bit like Kousa. In the oven as I type!

    • Sarah
      Posted July 28, 2012 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      Johnny’s seeds in Maine sells a “Magda” summer squash seed that yields a light green squash that has a plumper silhouette than zucchini. It looks a great deal like the squash pictured. I think it would work well for this recipe, and it is easy to grow.

  15. Mary D.
    Posted November 10, 2009 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    My grandfather was an immigrant from Syria. He cooked Kousa the stuffed way. My mother came up with an easy way to cook Kousa much like yours. We use a large sauce pan (3 qt.) and place the cut squash in the bottom with a little salt and pepper. Mix the meat, rice, salt, pepper and any other seasoning you prefer and place it loosely over the squash (do not pack the meat, pinch off small pieces and place over squash until covered). Now add a can of stewed tomatoes (cut up the tomatoes) over the top and about 1/2 can of water. Cover and place on medium heat until boil. Do not ever stir this recipe. Then reduce to a high simmer and cook for one hour. The meat tastes more like the stuffed Kousa rather than the sauteed type.

    • Sandy
      Posted July 27, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

      Like lazy man’s lasagna..ie baked ziti…and lazy man’s golumpki….chop cabbage instead of rolling…….I make an Italian version of stuffed cousa adding Romano cheese!

  16. Audrey Gerkin
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Love all these extra suggestions!! Thank you for sharing!

  17. Amy
    Posted August 17, 2015 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    We use cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, jalapeños, bay leaves, and garlic (and salt and pepper) for spices. I usually make stuffed zucchini, but love the rebellious and quick lazy man’s way!! When I make it this way, I also pre-sauté the zucchini slices (rings) a bit in olive oil so they are partially browned. In a separate pan, I brown meat, onions, and jalapeño peppers. When this is done, add spices to meat mixture (~ 1 tsp cinnamon, ~ 1tsp nutmeg, & ~ 1.5 tbsp allspice, salt and pepper. Then, mix into zucchini mixture and add 4-5 cloves of garlic (minced) and 1 lg can Contadina crushed tomatoes and enough water to just cover all. Bring to a boil then simmer, adding bay leaves.)

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