Rachel Safdie’s Mehshi Kusa (Stuffed Zucchini)

Rachel Safdie was born in Manchester to Syrian immigrants, the 7th of 8 children. She married in Palestine and the family moved to Montreal in the 1950s.  At the age of 96, Rachel was still making traditional Syrian food for all the Jewish holidays for her 4 children, 17 grandchildren, and 6 great-grandchildren. Her stuffed zucchini remains a family favourite. Rachel passed away in August 2011.

Watch the video.

Mehshi Kusa


  • 6-8 zucchini (straight, firm and fresh)
  • 1 lb medium ground beef
  • 2 Tablespoons long grain rice
  • 20 dried apricots
  • salt
  • sugar
  • 2-3 lemons
  • cinnamon
  • allspice
  • black pepper
  • white pepper


  • Zucchini Corer (or Melon Baller)
  • Colander
  • Large Bowl
  • Tray
  • Large Pot


1. Rinse zucchinis in colander and trim stem. Cut in half.
2. Scoop out flesh of zucchinis using zucchini corer or melon baller
(reserve flesh for use in soups, omelets, or whatever else.
You can freeze it).
3. Put beef in a large bowl.
4. Rinse rice and add to beef.
5. Add 2-3 ‘pinches’ each of salt, black pepper, white pepper,
cinnamon and allspice.
6. Mix well with hands, adding water until ‘soft’
7. Place stuffing inside zucchinis, loosely (the rice will swell).
8. Any remaining stuffing can be made into ‘meatballs’
9. Drizzle bottom of pot with vegetable oil.
10. Scatter some apricots on the bottom of the pot.
Alternate layers of apricots and zucchinis.
If there are any meatballs they can go on top as well.
11. Juice 2-3 lemons.
12. Add a tbsp of sugar and salt. Set aside.
13. Put the pot on an element and turn to high. When you hear the ‘sizzle’, cover the contents with water and place a heavy plate over. Reduce heat to medium.
14. Add lemon juice mixture.
15. Cook on medium for 2 hours, checking every 15 minutes that the water hasn’t overreduced. The ‘sauce’ can be adjusted with more lemon, sugar, or salt during this time.
14. When it is ready, remove plate, set zucchinis on a serving platter, and cover with remaining apricots and then the sauce. Serve hot!