Zucchini is very famous in Arabic cuisine. We like to cook it in every form or way imaginable. Personally, zucchini takes me back to childhood. It reminds me of when I would come home after school. The smell of it just filled the house and it is definitely one dish that belongs to the comfort food category!
The early days, that is where these stuffed zucchinis take me :)
There are many ways to cook zucchini. I have chosen my favourite two recipes for zucchini to share with you. the first one, is Stuffed Zucchini in minted yogurt sauce. This dish makes a delicious and comforting family lunch. This concoction is based on cooking the cored and stuffed zucchinis in a yogurt sauce - a sauce very commonly used in Palestinian Cuisine, specifically in Hebron, where my family comes from. Over there most yogurt-based sauces are made with the addition of tomato paste. Therefore if you haven't heard of it or cooked it this way before, don't panic, as the use of tomato paste in yogurt sauces is very specific to this city! I find that it adds depth and an extra layer of flavour to the overall dish. It is quite unusual to those who are used to cooking in a plain yogurt sauce, but once tried, it is always met with great admiration. Give it a go and I assure you that it will become a family favourite. It is the perfect meal for kids after school, and it pleases even the fussiest eaters.
The second recipe I am posting here is Spicy Zucchini Mash. I am posting both because as you core the zucchinis you will have the flesh, which instead of going to waste, is better used in the making of this mash, which you will love. Spicy Zucchini Mash is a perfect snack, and even makes for a very nice dip for pass-around cocktail parties that can be served with toasted pita wedges, or bread sticks.
So lets get cooking...
Stuffed Zucchini in Minted Yogurt Sauce
serves 6 | practice makes perfect
You can control fat intake, by using low fat yogurt, and lean veal mince instead of the traditional choice of lamb mince. This recipe requires a bit of extra work, but worth every bit of it.
20 medium zucchinis
1.5 kg Fresh Yogurt
500 g lamb mince
4 cups Egyptian rice (short grain)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp corn starch
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 Fresh mint leaves
2 tbsp Dried Mint
Salt & Pepper
This Rice stuffing is a basic recipe that is very frequently used in Arabic cuisine. It is the base for many dishes.
serves 6 | Super Easy
A perfect super delicious snack! when placed in a nice looking dip plate, sided with crispy toasted pita wedges, or bread sticks, it makes for the perfect pass around | cocktail party offering. You can control the heat of the spices, by reducing the amount of chili and removing the seeds. The recipe below goes for full on heat!
10 zucchinis, peeled & grated
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 green chilies, finely chopped or thinly sliced
Extra Virgin Olive oil
1 tsp Cumin Powder
Salt & Pepper to taste
In a heavy saucepan, heat olive oil, add garlic & green chilies. cook till garlic is translucent but not browned. add grated zucchinies, salt & pepper and stir. cover & cook till zucchini is soft & cooked through (stirring occasionally, so it does not brown). When zucchini is soft, it is cooked through. Sprinkle the cumin powder & mix to incorporate.
place in serving platter, sprinkle with a little lemon Juice (optional), sprinkle a little extra cumin powder & drizzle with XV olive oil. Best with Pita Bread, but can be served with bread sticks as well as any other bread types.
These are two seriously good zucchini preparations. I am hoping you will try them and see for yourself. Remember with any new technique a little bit of practice goes a long way. It is easier than it seems, so go for it.
Do leave me a comment before you go and let me know what you think of these two great recipes :)