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Stuffed Zucchinis and Peppers

This classic Turkish dish was brought by the Ottomans but has undergone a Libyan makeover. The steamed version is deliciously moist, and the mint makes it refreshing on a hot summer’s day. It is quite labor intensive, so allow plenty of time for preparation.

Serves 6

Stuffed Zucchinis & Peppers

1 pound green peppers
1 pound small zucchinis, trimmed
3 onions, peeled and finely chopped
1 bunch flat leaf parsley leaves
1 pound beef or lamb, minced
2 tablespoons dried mint
5 ounces cooked rice
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 to 3 large cabbage leaves
2 tablespoons tomato purée
3 to 4 cups water

Prepare the peppers by cutting off the stalk and upper quarter, or “lid,”of each. Remove all inner pulp and seeds. Rinse. Cut the zucchinis across the middle (not lengthwise) to obtain two round halves from each. Scoop out the cores.

Blend the onions and parsley in a food processor, then mix with the minced meat, mint, cooked rice, black pepper and salt in a large bowl, using your hands to distribute the minced meat evenly.

Fill the peppers and zucchinis compactly with the mixture.

Place the cabbage leaves at the base of a wide, deep pan and stand the stuffed vegetables on top, positioning them upright and packing them close together. Dilute the tomato purée in the water and pour over the stuffed vegetables. The water should reach about halfway up their sides.

Cover the pan, bring the water to a boil, and simmer for about 45 minutes. Then transfer vegetables to a preheated 375 degree oven. Brown for about 10 minutes.

Make it Vegetarian: This dish is delicious even without the meat. Simply use more rice to stuff the vegetables. Add lemon juice and more tomatoes and parsley.

 

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