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Halal Iraqi Stuffed Zucchini (Dolmas)

Serves: 6


Lamb Filling

1 lb finely ground lamb with a little fat (I use extra lean ground beef and add a some extra olive oil)
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1/2 a small onion, finely chopped
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup long grain white rice, rinsed (I use Basmati)
3/4 teaspoon baharat mixed spice (I use, Baharat Aka Middle East Mixed Spices - the Real Mix)
sea salt, to taste
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 lemon, juice of
1 tablespoon olive oil


6 regular zucchini (or cusa, the small stuffing zucchini squash are best if you can get them)
2 tablespoons olive oil
broth (chicken or beef, if needed)
1/2 lemon, juice of
2 tablespoons date syrup (also called date molasses, dibis in Arabic, Silan in Hebrew)
sea salt, to taste

Tomato Sauce

1 cup canned plum tomato, ground in a food processor
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 large garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon olive oil
drippings from cooked zucchini
1/2 teaspoon baharat mixed spice (I use, Baharat Aka Middle East Mixed Spices - the Real Mix)


1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Combine lamb filling ingredients. Mix thoroughly with hands and refrigerate until ready to use.

3. Wash Zucchinis well.

4. Depending on the type of zucchini used cut in 4 inch pieces or use whole small (cusa) zucchini sold in Middle Eastern stores by just removing their tops.

5. I use the wrong end of a small spoon to remove the zucchini innards, there are gadgets sold to make cusa which can be used just be careful the object you chose to use is not too sharp or to large or the zucchini's may break.

6. Rinse hollowed zucchinis with water.

7. Discard innards.

8. Stuff zucchinis with Lamb Filling, fairly full but not packed. (The rice will expand) If you like you may cork them with their tops shaved down a bit if using small cusa. I have made them without closer and they are fine!

9. Oil a pan that will fit the zucchinis in evenly, packed together.

10. Place zucchinis in pan, pour lemon juice on top and salt to taste then drizzle olive oil & date syrup over top.

11. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake a further 25-35 minutes or until cusa can be easly priked with a fork.

12. *If extra liquid is needed add a little broth to the pan while cooking.

13. Tomato sauce:.

14. Heat olive oil a little and cook garlic for one minute or just until LIGHT brown.

15. Add Tomato sauce and paste and simmer for 10 minutes then stir in as much drippings from the cooked zucchini as needed to make a semi thick sauce add baharat.

16. To Serve:.

17. Place zucchinis over a bed of rice (I like to cook mine in a light stock) and serve with tomato sauce and a fresh salad.

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