Mahshi Koosa from Egypt – WayMadi

With our love of travel it was no surprise that we went to my other half’s roots as our first holiday together in 2006. Egypt! This time Cairo, later also Alexandria and Marsa Matruh.

What taste explosions I experienced that holiday. Of course this was years before I started eating low carb. I can still bring out the smell and taste of the grilled meats. From koshary to stuffed pigeon, which I took a bite of with both horror and curious interest, and it was delicious! One of my favorites was mahshi kiesa, which my husband now lovingly prepares for mister Z. who loves it. Inherit something of your father’s taste. I have now also figured out how to prepare this great low-carb dish, you owe me that version.

Egypt here we come!

Preparing for that trip was one thing. Of course, during my teenage years I had lessons about Africa and countries like Egypt. Still, I had no idea what to really expect there. The first week was quite a culture clash for me as a blue 19 year old. I traveled most of Europe with my parents, but this was a completely different world. Mega cozy, because we are not types who go to tourist areas, so hello Egyptian real life. The traffic, the language, the crowds, the cordiality of the people, but also the confrontation with how good we have it here. So many impressions.

I soon realized that I (not yet a Muslim at the time) could move more freely and, above all, less warmly and more inconspicuously in an abaya and hijab. What a relief. The streets of Cairo are busy, but you stand out with Western clothing and that’s just not practical. In addition, I was really devastated by the heat in clothing. To this day I still don’t really understand why we have a preference for tight clothing here.

Preparing travel to Egypt, from visa to suitcases

What I really found a challenge was the arrangements that came with traveling. Get suitcases that can handle 30 kilos of luggage, arrange travel insurance and visa. If you’re 19 and your parents used to take care of that side of the holiday, it’s a bit of a switch. Fortunately, applying for our visa for Egypt was not very difficult.

Thank me later, this online Egypt visa application form is ideal. Nicely arranged and not having to stand in line at customs at the airport to manually apply for your visa. The faster you are at your plate of mahshi kosa in a local restaurant.

Mahshi Koosa (stuffed zucchini)

Time to bring the Egyptian flavors into your kitchen. Mahshi kiesa is of course made in more countries than Egypt, with each country having a variant in the recipe. In this blog I will show you how to prepare the Egyptian version of mahshi kiesa.

Mahshi is the collective name for stuffed foods. Mostly vegetables. Koosa is a light (and smaller than you see in my photos) zucchini that tastes more refined and less bitter than the dark green ones we know here. We still had eggplant that had to be used up so it could go right into the pan.

Do you have filling left? Then you can keep it in the fridge and fry it the next day in some fat and broth and stew some eggs in it like you do with shakshuka.

Stuffed zucchini with minced meat, herbs and rice from the Egyptian kitchen.

Preparation time1 o’clock

Preparation time1 o’clock 30 minutes

Total time2 o’clock 30 minutes

  • Mix all ingredients for the filling in a bowl until thick.

  • Wash the courgettes and cut them in half. Let the butts sit!

  • Hollow out the courgettes with the special scraper.

  • Below is a practical instruction. You want the side as thin as possible without making holes or breaking. A zucchini with damage will explode in the pan.

  • Insert the scraper into the center of the zucchini a few times. This is how you make the starting hole from which you will continue to hollow. If you’re afraid of shooting through the back, measure your scraper on the side of the zucchini leaving a 1/2 inch at the back. When inserting, keep your finger on the measured scraper so that you cannot insert any further.

  • Gently turn the zucchini in your hand in circles while using the scraper to remove a little more of the flesh.

  • Voila. This is how you want your zucchini to look.

  • Time to fill. You leave 1 cm free at the top edge. The filling expands during cooking. Press gently, but not too hard, or you may break the zucchini or it will break in the pan.

  • Continue like this until all your zucchini is filled.

  • Heat a little bit of mild olive oil in your pans. The bottom should be just covered. Place the mahshi kosa in the pan.

  • You are now going to brown the mahshi kosa. Carefully turn them over in the pan and brown them a little on all sides. I use a fork (don’t prick the mahshi! but dip it underneath) and kitchen tongs to turn the mahshi.

  • Now the mahshi kosa are going to stew. Put them for 3/4 under broth. Cover and fire gently.

  • The mahshi kosa are usually done with 30-40 minutes of slow stewing. It is normal if the filling comes out a little.

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