Mehshi Al-Bathenjan and Mehshi Al-Kousa

April 2nd, 2010

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Mehshi means stuffed, any stuffed vegetable is called “Mehshi”. Mehshi Al-Bathenjan is stuffed eggplants and Mehshi Al-Kousa is stuffed vegetable marrows. The filling is prepared from rice, meat mixed with sheep/lamb tail fat “liyeh”, tomato paste, salt and black pepper, then the stuffed vegetables are cooked in tomato sauce.

Let’s make Mehshi Al-Bathenjan and Mehshi Al-Kousa:

Before talking about the method of cooking Mehshi Al-Bathenjan and Mehshi Al-Kousa, I’ll tell you some information about two things.

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1. Squash Corer

This utensil is called “Syrian Munara” or “Squash corer”, we use it for Mehshi Al-Bathenjan and Mehshi Al-Kousa.

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2. Stainless Steel Pot Lid (I will give it the name “Flat Lid”)

This lid is needed for the technique of cooking “Mehshi”, anything looks like this lid works fine, just try to find something similar to it but should be stainless steel. I have two sizes a big one and small one as you can see in the picture, I will not use both of them, you will know more in the rest of the post.

Let’s make Mehshi Al-Bathenjan and Mehshi Al-Kousa:

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1, 2. You can see in the picture long and thin eggplants, choose long eggplants that each approximately 3.5 – 4.5 inches (8.9 – 11.4 cm) long, then rinse eggplants with water and drain.

3. Remove the hat of the eggplants.

4, 5. Cut off the stem of the eggplants as you see in the picture.

6, 7, 8. Cut a small piece from the top of the eggplants to have a diameter of the top part of the eggplant equal to 3/4 – 1 inch (1.9 – 2.5 cm).

9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15. Hollow eggplants from one end with the squash corer leaving about 1/16 inch (0.06 cm) thick shell all around , and be careful to leave one end of eggplant intact, if you don’t have squash corer try to use apple corer.

16. This is the final result.

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17. Set aside.

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18, 19. You can see in the picture vegetable marrows (marrow squash), choose vegetable marrows that each approximately 3 – 3.5 inches (7.6 – 8.9 cm) long, then rinse vegetable marrows with water and drain.

20, 21, 22. Cut off the stem of the vegetable marrows as you see in the picture.

24, 25. Use a knife to remove the round caps at the ends of the vegetable marrows as you see in the picture.

26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32. Hollow vegetable marrows from one end with the squash corer leaving about 1/12 inch (0.08 cm) thick shell all around , and be careful to leave one end of vegetable marrow intact, if you don’t have squash corer try to use apple corer.

33. This is the final result.

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34. Set aside.

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Filling

35. In the bowl, you can see fat free lamb meat, and Sheep/Lamb tail fat, in Syria the sheep/lamb tail fat is called “Liyeh”.

36. Prepare meat grinder, attach the fine holed plate.

37, 38. Grind the meat and the liyeh together, and set aside.

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39. This is Egyptian rice.

40. Rinse rice with cold water in several changes.

41. Bring water to boil.

42. Soak rice in boiled water for 10 minutes, then drain and rinse with cold water in several changes.

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43. To rice, add the mixture of ground meat and liyeh.

44. Add salt and black pepper, don’t add salt directly to rice, but add it directly to the mixture of meat and liyeh.

45. Add tomato paste.

46. Mix until combine, and set aside in the refrigerator.

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For Soaking Vegetables

47. In a bowl, add water, crushed garlic, dried mint and salt.

48. Soak eggplants in this water for 10 minutes.

49, 50. After 10 minutes, shake eggplants and get rid of excess water from the inside of the eggplant, then set aside.

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51. After you finish from the eggplants, do the same with vegetable marrows, soak in the water for 10 minutes.

52, 53. After 10 minutes, shake vegetable marrows to rid of excess water from the inside of the vegetable marrows, then set aside.

54. After you finish all the eggplants and vegetable marrows, keep the water in the bowl and don’t discard it, we will use this water later. They are ready to be stuffed.

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55, 56, 57. Stuff eggplants with the filling fully to brim.

58, 59, 60. After that, press the eggplant slightly using your thumb and index and run your fingers from bottom up to top to remove excess rice.

61. Excess rice return them to the bowl of the filling.

62. Set aside.

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63, 64, 65, 66, 67. Stuff vegetable marrows with the filling to the half of the vegetable marrow only,  and press inside the vegetable marrow using your finger, for example if the vegetable marrow is 3.1 inch (8 cm) long, so you fill up to 1.55 inch (4 cm).

68, 69. You can notice from the picture how they are filled.

70. Set aside.

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71. The water (water, crushed garlic, dried mint and salt) that was used to soak the vegetables, now we need it, strain it.

72. Keep the water and set aside.

Tomato Sauce

73. To prepare tomato sauce, in a pot, put water and tomato paste.

74. Heat the tomato sauce, don’t boil.

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75. Meanwhile, prepare a large deep pot, and arrange tablespoons on the bottom of the pot (it doesn’t matter how they are arranged, try any way you are comfortable with,  also 6 tablespoons were good for the size of my pot).

76. Add the flat lid over the tablespoons (I used the large pot lid because the size is perfect for my pot). The tablespoons and the pot lid work as a protection for the stuffed vegetables; to prevent the direct contact between the stuffed vegetables and the heat.

77, 78. Arrange the eggplants first, in the same way as you see in the picture

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79, 80. Arrange the vegetable marrows over the eggplants, in the same way as you see in the picture.

81. Put a plate over the stuffed vegetable marrows.

82. Add 500 ml of the water that was saved in steps 71, 72.

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82, 83. Add hot tomato sauce.

85. Add a heavy thing over the plate, sometimes I use a piece of marble, but here I used a pot filled with water, (actually there is a special tool to be used for mehshi, but mine is broken).

86. Keep on high heat until it starts to boil.

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87. Once the sauce is boiling vigorously, remove the heavy thing but keep the plate.

88. Lower the heat, and taste if you need salt so you can add salt, cover the pot and cook for 2 hours.

89. After 2 hours, time to serve, I use “pot strainer” to help me to pour out the sauce through the strainer, save the sauce to serve with mehshi.

90. Transfer mehshi to a plate one by one, keep with you a bowl with cold water, wet your hand then each time take mehshi and transfer to a plate, cold water helps you to handle the hot mehshi.

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91. After you finish from vegetable marrows, do the same thing with the eggplants.

92, 93, 94. Serve hot with tomato sauce and Arabic flat bread.

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Mehshi Al-Bathenjan and Mehshi Al-Kousa

From: Family Recipe / Servings: 10 People
PDF Text Only / Print With Images

31 long and thin eggplants,
each approximately
3.5 – 4.5 inches
(8.9 – 11.4 cm) long

35 vegetable marrows
each approximately
3 – 3.5 inches
(7.6 – 8.9 cm) long

Filling

150 g fat free lamb meat

200 g sheep/lamb tail fat “Liyeh”

1000 g Egyptian short grain rice

Boiling water, for soaking rice

1 tbsp + 2 tsp salt

1 1/4 tsp black pepper

3 tbsp tomato paste

For Soaking Vegetables

Water

Crushed garlic

Dried mint

Salt

Tomato Sauce

2 L water

1 1/4 cup tomato paste

Salt – if needed

You can see in the picture long and thin eggplants choose long eggplants that each approximately 3.5 – 4.5 inches (8.9 – 11.4 cm) long, then rinse eggplants with water and drain.

Remove the hat of the eggplants.

Cut off the stem of the eggplants as you see in the picture.

Cut a small piece from the top of the eggplants to have a diameter of the top part of the eggplant equal to 3/4 – 1 inch (1.9 – 2.5 cm).

Hollow eggplants from one end with the squash corer leaving about 1/16 inch (0.06 cm) thick shell all around , and be careful to leave one end of eggplant intact, if you don’t have squash corer try to use apple corer.

This is the final result.

Set aside.

You can see in the picture vegetable marrows (marrow squash), choose vegetable marrows that each approximately 3 – 3.5 inches (7.6 – 8.9 cm) long, then rinse vegetable marrows with water and drain.

Cut off the stem of the vegetable marrows as you see in the picture.

Use a knife to remove the round caps at the ends of the vegetable marrows as you see in the picture.

Hollow vegetable marrows from one end with the squash corer leaving about 1/12 inch (0.08 cm) thick shell all around , and be careful to leave one end of vegetable marrow intact, if you don’t have squash corer try to use apple corer.

This is the final result.

Set aside.

Filling

In the bowl, you can see fat free lamb meat, Sheep/Lamb tail fat, in Syria the sheep/lamb tail fat is called “Liyeh”.

Prepare meat grinder, attach the fine holed plate.

Grind the meat and the liyeh together, and set aside.

This is Egyptian rice.

Rinse rice with cold water in several changes.

Bring water to boil.

Soak rice in boiled water for 10 minutes, then drain and rinse with cold water in several changes

To rice, add the mixture of ground meat and liyeh.

Add salt and black pepper, don’t add salt directly to rice, but add it directly to the mixture of meat and liyeh.

Add tomato paste.

Mix until combine, and set aside in the refrigerator.

For Soaking Vegetables

In a bowl, add water, crushed garlic, dried mint and salt.

Soak eggplants in this water for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, shake eggplants and get rid of excess water from the inside of the eggplant, then set aside.

After you finish from the eggplants, do the same with vegetable marrow, soak in the water for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, shake vegetable marrows to rid of excess water from the inside of the vegetable marrows, then set aside.

After you finish all the eggplants and vegetable marrows, keep the water in the bowl and don’t discard it, we will use this water later. They are ready to be stuffed.

Stuff eggplants with the filling fully to brim.

After that, press the eggplant slightly using your thumb and index and run your fingers from bottom up to top to remove excess rice.

Excess rice return them to the bowl of the filling.

Set aside.

Stuff vegetable marrows with the filling to the half of the vegetable marrow only, and press inside the vegetable marrow using your finger, for example if the vegetable marrow is 3.1 inch (8 cm) long, so you fill up to 1.55 inch (4 cm).

You can notice from the picture how they are filled.

Set aside.

The water (water, crushed garlic, dried mint and salt) that was used to soak the vegetables, now we need it, strain.

Keep the water and set aside.

Tomato Sauce

To prepare tomato sauce, in a pot, put water and tomato paste.

Heat the tomato sauce, don’t boil.

Meanwhile, prepare a large deep pot, and arrange tablespoons on the bottom of the pot (it doesn’t matter how they are arranged, try any way you are comfortable with, also 6 tablespoons were good for the size of my pot).

Add the flat lid over the tablespoons (I used the large pot lid because the size is perfect for my pot). The tablespoons and the pot lid work as a protection for the stuffed vegetables; to prevent the direct contact between the stuffed vegetable and the heat.

Arrange the eggplants first, in the same way as you see in the picture

Arrange the vegetable marrows over the eggplants, in the same way as you see in the picture.

Put a plate over the stuffed vegetable marrows.

Add 500 ml of the water that was saved in steps 71, 72.

Add hot tomato sauce.

Add a heavy thing over the plate, sometimes I use a piece of marble, but here I used a pot filled with water, (actually there is a special tool to be used for mehshi, but mine is broken).

Keep on high heat until it starts to boil.

Once the sauce is boiling vigorously, remove the heavy thing but keep the plate.

Lower the heat, and taste if you need salt so you can add salt, cover the pot and cook for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, time to serve, I use “pot strainer” to help me to pour out the sauce through the strainer, save the sauce to serve with mehshi.

Transfer mehshi to a plate one by one, keep with you a bowl with cold water, wet your hand then each time take mehshi and transfer to a plate, cold water helps you to handle the hot mehshi.

After you finish from vegetable marrows, do the same thing with the eggplants.

Serve hot with tomato sauce and Arabic flat bread.

Notes and Tips

Some people like to make the mixture of meat and liyeh coarser, but in my family we like them very fine.

Some people substitute sheep/lamb tail fat “Liyeh” with oil or ghee or butter, actually that will not be a traditional mehshi, and the taste is not great at all, liyeh gives mehshi the unique taste.

Some people don’t soak the vegetables in the mixture of (water, crushed garlic, dried mint, and salt), but soaking them gives a unique flavor.

In Syria, we don’t add cinnamon, cloves, all spice or any spice to any kind of dish except in few case and that’s when the recipe specifies the spices such as in Ozee, so please don’t add any spices if my recipe didn’t tell you to add, otherwise you will not get the traditional taste. Mehshi doesn’t need any spices, and that’s very clear in the recipe.

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2 Responses to “Mehshi Al-Bathenjan and Mehshi Al-Kousa”

  1. I’ve been interested w/ this kind of dish. I’ve tried/eaten a similar dish w/ onions. Can the filling be used for stuffed grapes?

  2. Dimah says:

    Taga luto (Pia): Thanks for visiting and for the comment! we have two kinds of stuffed grape leaves which are “Yalanji“, and “Yabraq”.
    Yabraq is prepared from grape leaves stuffed with a filling almost similar to this dish, but tomato paste isn’t added to the filling, and the cooking sauce is completely different, I’ll post it very soon :)

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