Mahshi batinjan ala libo, is one of my most favorite amongst the mahshi family. Mahshi which means stuffed, an Arabic word for so many different variations of stuffed vegetables. Within the Palestinian cuisine, there is a big variety of vegetables which is used for stuffing. The stuffing often consists of rice, meat, and spices or can be also vegan, with just rice and vegetables. Zucchinis and eggplants are one of the most popular.
- 12 eggplants, 8 zucchinis.
- 3/4 pound ground meat (beef or lamb)
- 1 cup rice (uncooked and soaked with water for 10 minutes) Cal Rose or Egyptian rice
- 1 teaspoon allspice (most for the stuffing and a sprinkle for cooking the dish)
- 1/4 teaspoon of cardamom powder
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 4-5 small fresh tomatoes cut into cubes.
- Wash all well and rinse from water, with a knife start by taking the top stem out. With a manakra (corer) gently start by taking out the insides of the eggplant to make space for stuffing, make sure not to poke the bottom, gently roll in the manakra and start with a little cut and slowly pick at it, round it until you make enough space, continue the process until all eggplants are done. Make sure not to make the zucchinis too thin, so they won't break during cooking.
- Have a pot full of water, and keep the stuffing and the cored eggplants (which will be used later) in the water to maintain the white color of the eggplants.
- For the zucchinis follow the same steps, just make sure to cut out the stem from top and bottom as well, the difference is that zucchinis take less curving so make sure not to make them too thin as they won’t hold well while cooking, unlike eggplants skin which needs a bit of more coring.
- For stuffing mix the rice, ground beef or lamb, salt, oil, and spices. Take a small amount with your hand and insert inside the eggplants, keep filling them but make sure the eggplants are not too full, try not to push too much of the stuffing, just gently stuff it in, because rice is uncooked and needs some space, if too full it may break during cooking. Fill up about ¾ of each.
- To prepare for cooking, take the stuffing out of the water, with your hands squeeze well to get rid of the water, mix with chopped tomatoes, sprinkle some salt, and place half of it at the bottom of a large pot, then fill the pot up with the all the stuffed eggplants and zucchinis. Spread the rest of the stuffing with the tomatoes mixture on top. Sprinkle some salt and allspice.
- Place the pot on high heat, fill it with ¾ of boiled water. Once it starts boiling cover and turn the heat on low. Let it cook for an hour to an hour and a half. You can test it with a fork, also make sure the rice is well cooked from the inside.
This recipe makes 4 servings.
Mahshi is served next to plain yogurt or basic salad.