3:33 AM

Stuff the Food with Food

Wrote: American Muslima Writer |

It amazed me when I came to Lebanon all the fresh foods they cook with. No boxes and very few jars (mostly homeade jarred food). They would take a fresh food and stuff it with another fresh food everyday! Many times a day. Very important foods to learn how to make are following:

1.Kousa Meshi (Stuffed Zucchini)

2.Warna 'A'nab (Rolled -and stuffed- Grape Leaves)

3.Kibbe (Meat stuffed into a burghol-cracked wheat- shell)

1. Kousa Meshi is relatively simple. Take some seasonings or cut up parsley or coriander and mix it with some rice and half cooked ground beef. Mix them together and put aside. Then take a good kilo or so depending on family size, of Zucchinis and wash them well on the outside and scrap off any bad looking parts. Cut the tops off and if the bottom is yucky trim it slightly. Then with a specail scraper or a knife remove the inner flesh (doesn't that sound horror film-ish) and put aside [some throw it but I used it to make my kids a snack]. Then once they've all been prepared leaving a hollow shell stuff in the meat/rice mixture half way using your pinky finger to compact it slightly. Only fill it half way because as the rice expands durring cooking it will burst if full. once they are all finished you can cook them in a typical white or red sauce (I prefer white ;) ) Boiling them until rice is cooked and they are tender.

2. Warna 'A'nab: Collect beautiful symmetrical grape leaves from random trees along the road (my in-laws way of getting them) or buy a pack from the market. Trust me when my mother in law and grandmother in law are in the car on the way to the mountains in Lebanon and you hear a loud exclamation of "Yiiii!!!! Masha'Allah!!!" You know you better stop the car and find a plastic bag to stuff leaves in. Very Amusing for me... their exclamations and my father in law's LOOK as he pulls over just as he got ahead in traffic. So after you get them take them home and wash them in some water while you prepare again a mixture of half cooked ground beef or lamb, rice uncooked, and spices or coriander/parsley, and a few tiny diced tomatoes if you want. Take the pile of leaves on a tray with the bowl of mix and a spoon to get comfortable. Place the leaf vein side up and in the exact middle right above where the stem should be (having been removed) place a small spoonful of rice meat mixture. Carefully fold in the bottom two sides of the leaf over the edges of the mix then hold them firmly down as you tightly roll the rest of the leaf up into a tiny cigarette shape. It takes practice but since you have a few dozen to do, you HAVE the practice in front of you. Continue rolling and rolling and rolling.... put more rice on bigger leaves and less rice on smaller leaves. Stack them pyramid style to ensure they dont unroll. Tie around 8 to 10 of them together with a piece of string and put them in a red sauce (with plenty of oil and water). Continue typing and adding the bundles until the large pot is filled or your tray is empty. Cook until tender then eat! Serving them in their bundles is best unless you don't have much to go around then serve them carefully on a plate unbundling them and restack them pyramid style for best effects.

3. Kibbe. I know the basics but not exactly how to make the mixtures if someone knows a better recipie tell me. Make a meat mixture full of onions and seasonings and cooked meat and make a cracked wheat mixture (not sure how). Take a spoonful of cracked wheat (burghol) in the palm of your slightly wetted hand (have a smal bowl of water standing next to you to re-moisten your hand as you work so it doesn't stick to your palm) and roll it into an oblong ball. Stick your pinky or the tip of your index finger into the top of the ball and press gently around until you have an EVENLY formed hollow shell The bottom should be slightly thicker then the sides of the shell. It should look bowl shaped. Stick a tiny spoonful of cooked meat mixture inside and carefully roll and press the ball closed at the top making it form a pointed end and do the same for the bottom end until it looks literally like an American football (not soccer ball) then put it on a tray to make the next and the next. When they are all finished you fry them in oil or bake them turning half way until they are all around browish golden. Serve them with a white sauce for best results :D

And enough now for the food posts hehehe. I keep making myself hungry...

3 intelligent thoughts:

RUBA said...

Lebanese kitchen is one of the bets if not the best,you're lucky you're there ;)

you should try their desserts...

UmmLayla said...

Yeah, what's with all the stuffing??? Egyptians do it too. I have a different method from the one you describe, but I make the same things. I also stuff peppers and tomatoes. I love stuffed cabbage, but hate making it because the leaves always tear on me. It's all yummy IMHO.

Phantom said...

i'm fasting n i saw ur posts> torturing! >_<
well lebanese foods are super delicious 4 me,, starting from wara8 3nb till 7m9..emm


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