Stuffed Marrow with Beef and Rice (Koosa Mahshi)

When you think of Egyptian food, you think of ful mudammas, kushari, and ta’ameya. Usually after the first five dishes or so, you come to the infamous koosa (kousa) mahshi, or stuffed marrow. Marrow squash are like mini zucchinis, with a light green color, and a firm fleshy interior. In the United States, I would only find these at farmer’s markets, the Arabic grocery store, and every now and again at Whole Foods. Thus, whenever I craved stuffed squash in the United States, I often was left stuffing zucchini and whatever else I could find in my refrigerator. Living in the Middle East has now allowed my family to get MORE than our fair share of koosa mahshi, because you find these lil squashes everywhere! And not only that, but they recently started selling organic (yes, I said organic in the context of the Middle East) squash too! It has quickly become one of our favorite dishes and a staple at our dinner parties.

As you know, Middle Eastern food involves a lot of stuffing things. So naturally, this is not the first time we have featured on midEATS a recipe for stuffed vegetables. Heba shared her version of Bell Peppers and Squash Stuffed with Quinoa, Beans and Vegetables. We featured guest blogger Faith Gorsky of An Edible Mosaic and her recipe for stuffed zucchini. We also have Heba’s version of stuffed white eggplants and grapeleaves. SO MANY STUFFED VEGGIES!


Well, one of the main reasons behind starting midEATS was to share different versions of traditional Middle Eastern dishes. Every family has their own version of making a dish, and that is what makes traditional cooking so special. I realized over the years that my version (or really my mom’s version) of traditional dishes does not necessarily resemble another Egyptian family’s version. The beauty of cooking is that there is no right or wrong way to make anything – you just make whatever tastes good! I think that is why I love cooking so much – living a life as a lawyer is chock-full of rules and procedures. Entering my kitchen, where there are no rules, has to be the most liberating time of my day!

Okay, so back to the recipe. This recipe involves a few steps, but over the course of making this regularly, I never get more than one bowl, one saucepan, and one pot dirty. I used to be left with a mountain of dishes every time I made this, but with dishes being my least favorite chore, minimizing the workload is essential! A few key things to remember:

  1.  After I core the squash,I save the insides. As you will see, I saute them lightly and add them to the simmer sauce.  Don’t let any of the great nutrients go to waste!
  2. There will be at least 1/2 cup of stuffing leftover. This is on purpose! I add it to the pot and everyone loves to eat the spiced rice that floats around the final dish anyway.
  3. I stuff my vegetables and grapeleaves with the exact same stuffing – khalta, which is a mixture of sautéed beef, spices, tomato sauce, and short grain rice. Thus, the stuffing part of the recipe is uber versatile, and you should try it when you are stuffing other random veggies in your home.
  4. I also use Trader Joe’s curry powder because it honestly tastes like a mix my family used to get from Egypt.  It does not have a strong “Indian” flavor, but it adds a nice subtle taste of spice that isn’t overwhelming and adds just the right flavor profile.
  5. And lastly, it is important to use a high quality olive oil –  I use a Palestinian Olive Oil that I could quite literally eat with a spoon.  Yes, it is THAT good!

So without further ado….

Stuffed Marrow with Beef and Rice (Koosa Mahshi)

by Brenda

Prep Time: 35 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Keywords: saute Stuffed Vegetable entree gluten-free dairy-free squash rice tomato sauce beef Middle Eastern Palestinian

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 10 cored marrow (or small zucchini)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/3 lb of lean, grass-fed beef
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 cup short grain rice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Inside of squash (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 cups organic chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (approx. 1 lemon)
  • 1/4 cup high quality olive oil
  • salt
  • olive oil


(1) Core the marrow, and save the insides of the squash for later use.

(2) In a large saucepan, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil. Saute the onions. Once translucent, add the ground beef, pinch of salt, and 1 tsp of curry powder.

(3) Brown the meat. Once browned, add 2 tbsp of tomato paste, parsley and water.

(4) Bring the sauce to a rapid simmer, then remove from heat and place into a large bowl.

(5) Add to the bowl the 1 cup of uncooked short grain rice. Mix together with the sauce using a spoon. Set aside until it cools down.

(6) In the same saucepan, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add the insides of the squash, 1 tsp of curry powder, a pinch of salt and saute.

(7) Once the squash has absorbed the spices and lightly browned, add 1/2 cup of tomato sauce and parsley. Set aside.

(8) Once the rice mixture has cooled, begin to stuff the squash. You will have leftover rice mixture.

(9) Add the squash in one layer or so at the bottom of a pot.


(10) Add the leftover rice mixture on top of the squash.

(11) Pour the sauce made with the inside of squash on top.

(12) Now add the chicken broth, lemon juice and olive oil. Add another pinch of salt.

(13) Bring to a rapid simmer over high heat, then reduce heat and cook covered for approximately 40 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed.

(14) Flip the pot over into a serving dish – ENJOY!

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  1. Love stuffed veggies. Can’t wait to add the curry and parsley to my version (which is very similar with the exception of these two ingredients). Btw Brenda, looks like the Recipage print bar isn’t showing up. On Recipage, click on the “GetHTML2” button instead of the “GetHTML” button to get the code. After emailing back and forth with the guy in charge of it, he said for some people the old code (GetHTML2) works better with their theme, and that is the case for us!
    Heba recently posted…Koosa Mahshi (Stuffed Organic Marrow with Beef and Rice)My Profile

  2. I was delighted when the seeds for Koosa squash became more readily available for me to grow in my garden. My mother makes a great koosa, but I can see I’ve been letting the squash get too big. I turn my back and they are giants. Look forward to reducing the stuffing size to more a manageable edible size squash. Love your blog, just found you through Mama’s Lebanese Kitchen.
    Tom @ Tall Clover Farm recently posted…Worthy Recipe: Apple Berry Crumble PieMy Profile

    • Hi Tom! Great to hear from you, and welcome! It’s really awesome that you grow your own squash … I dream about starting my own little garden one day 🙂 Let us know if you ever try stuffing squash; it’s one of my favorite traditional recipes! Have a lovely day.

    • You don’t have to add anything in place of the beef! i make these vegetarian all the time when I don’t have beef on hand. Let me know if you try it!

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