Koosa and baytinjan mahshi is a relatively easy recipe to make. It is something that i remember eating alot in Syria because everyone loves it. I remember i use to get so happy when my mom would come back from Dearborn and i saw koosa in the fridge. Ahh the memories, I remember (and Ranya O this is for you) when i was younger in Syria we were in Zabadani and my TehTeh made me and my cousins take like 3 kilos or more of tomatoes and grind them through this old machine to make a sauce. The smell of the tomatoes reminded me exactly of when i blend tomatoes here to make the sauce for koosa mahshi. Here is how i was taught to make koosa.
I had some tomatoes that i didn't want to go bad and i didn't know when i would use them so i decided to cut them up and put them in the blender until they are a smooth sauce (seeds and skin and everything except the core) If you don't have tomatoes that you want to use you can just use tomato paste.
I love the sauce so i add water to the fresh tomatoes and i add tomato paste. There is no measurements for the sauce because it depends on how many koosa you are making or how thick you want the sauce (the more tomato paste the thicker) My husband and i like the sauce kind of thick so i usually add 2 cans of tomato paste.
I took the koosa and eggplants (which should be relatively all the same size) and i wash them well to get rid of wax and dirt.
For the koosa cut off the top and just the little brown spot where the koosa flower grows from the bottom. Don't cut too much cause then you have a greater chance of poking a hole. Oh and side note: Don't ihfir koosa if you are stressed out, i once broke 5 in a row (not common) and it just made me even more stressed out.
For the eggplant you want to roll the eggplant and put pressure while you roll so that it is easier to take out all the insides.
For the eggplant you want to take out as much as possible, make sure all of the seeds are out. The Koosa is the same, you want them as thin as you can get.
I use ground lamb that is coarsely ground. Depending on how much fat is in the meat you may need to add oil. You may think this is unnecessary but it makes a difference, plus you don't use oil anywhere else in this recipe.
Use masri rice (calrose) rice which is a small grain rice that has alot of starch which you need for the inside to stick together after its cooked.
Add the spices: safflower, salt, whole cumin seeds and mixed arabic spice. I also add water and let the rice soak in a little so it expands and it reduces the risk of over stuffing.
Stuff all the koosa and eggplant and heat up the tomato sauce, Add salt to the tomato sauce and when it boils add the koosa and eggplant.
The koosa will take about 45 to cook on medium heat, 10 minutes before it is done add garlic and dried mint.
The sauce should be enough to cover the stuffed veggies, Also remember that the sauce will thicken because of the starch in the rice.
Serve with the sauce on the side. Do not leave the koosa and eggplant in the sauce because the rice will continue to expand and the koosa and eggplant will explode. If you have leftovers store them in separate containers.
As many Koosa as needed
1 part coarsley ground lamb
3 parts calrose rice
whole cumin seeds
safflower (or tumeric if its not available)
Mixed Arabic spice
For the sauce:
Blended fresh tomatoes (if you choose)
fresh crushed garlic
squirt of lemon juice
I know that i don't have exact measurements ut it is really hard because it depends on how big the vegetables are and how much you are able to remove from the inside. Some people like alot of cumin, some don't. Some people like the tomato sauce thick some like it thin. This is a recipe that allows you to make it your own.