KUSA ABLAMA (LAVANT)

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STUFFED COURGETTES IN TOMATOE SAUCE

A delicious Lebanese dish. It consists of courgettes / zucchini (kusa) stuffed with ground meat and pine nuts, cooked in a thick tomato sauce. Kusa Ablama is usually served for lunch with plain or vermicelli rice.

1 kg small or medium kusa (12-14 medium courgettes)
3 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
cup pine nuts
½ cup finely chopped onion
300 g minced meat, preferably lean lamb
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Lebanese spices
¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
teaspoon black pepper powder

To Fry the Kusa:
1 cup vegetable oil

Sauce:
3 cups mashed and strained (pureed) tomatoes or 6 tablespoons tomato paste dissolved in 3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
2 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon dried mint
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour

Garnish:
A dash of dried mint
1 tablespoon fried pine nut

(Serves 6-8 persons )
(About 12-14 medium Kusa)

1- Fry the pine nuts in butter until just golden, quickly remove from butter with a perforated spoon and drain on a paper towel.
2- Stir onion and meat in the remaining butter until meat is no longer pink. Drain excess fat, season and stir on medium heat for 5 minutes. Allow to cool at room temperature. Stir in pine nuts .
3- Use the special kitchen tool to core the kusa starting from the neck towards the tip without piercing the kusa skin. Use the core to prepare kusa salad or soup.
4- Wash the inside of the hollow kusa, allow to drain.
5- Stuff each kusa with meat until full.
6- Heat oil in a frying pan. Fry kusa on medium heat until golden on all sides. Allow kusa to drain on a paper towel.
7- Arrange the stuffed kusa in a saucepan, pour tomato sauce on top, bring to a boil on medium heat. Reduce heat, cook for 10-15 minutes.
8- In a small saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter, stir in 1 tablespoon flour until it turns golden. Remove from heat.
9- Add some of the tomato sauce to the mixture and stir.
10- Pour through a strainer over the kusa in the saucepan.
11- Crush garlic with mint and a pinch of salt, sprinkle over the kusa. Cook on medium heat for 3 minutes .
12- Arrange the kusa in a serving dish, sprinkle with dried mint and fried pine nuts. Serve with rice.

Variation:
Kusa Ablama Bi Alaban

Kusa Ablama with Yogurt:
Yogurt Sauce:
1 kg yogurt
2 tablespoons corn flour dissolved in ½ cup kusa cold stock
teaspoon salt
1 ½ – 2 large cloves garlic
2 drops vinegar (optional)
egg white of a small egg, slightly beaten

– In the above recipe, substitute tomato sauce with 1 kg yogurt.
– To prepare the yogurt sauce, crush garlic cloves with a pinch of salt and a few drops of vinegar.
– Stir one egg white in the garlic mixture.
– Stir the garlic mixture and 1 tablespoon corn flour dissolved in cup water in the yogurt.
– Stir over medium heat until it boils.
– Omit step 6.
– In step 7, cook kusa in the prepared yogurt for 10 minutes and continue the above recipe from step 11.