Learn how to core zucchini, squash, to make foods like koosa.
I previously shared a recipe on how to make stuffed zucchini (Kousa Mahshi) stuffed with rice and vegetables (plantbased/vegan version).
Coring a zucchini/squash is a quick process once you get the hang of it, I find carving out the flesh to create the hole and the noise associated with this process is very satisfying.
See below a 30 sec 'coring zucchini' video
Step 1 - Wash thoroughly and dry zucchini/squash
Step 2 - Using a paring knife, cut the ends off. Do not cut too much off the tip as you want to be able to maintain the shape of the zucchini
Step 3 -Using a manakra/zucchini corer*, place the tip into the center of the zucchini top (this is where the zucchini was attached the stem and not the flower, which is the larger end)
Step 4 -Gently start turning the manakra/corer using slight pressure to push into the flesh. The aim of turning the manakra/zucchini corer is to carve out the zucchini flesh from inside to the outer edge without breaking the zucchini
Step 5 - As the manakra/ zucchini corer carves flesh out, roughly about 4-5 turns in, pull it out to remove flesh. Collect the zucchini flesh into a bowl which you can use to cook with, check out my authentic Lebanese dish for Zucchini Flesh Recipe (Lib el Kousa)
Step 6 - Repeat step five, until there is no more flesh, leaving only a perimeter of about .3mm. Which is just about touch the end of the zucchini without piercing it.
💭 Kitchen Tips
Cut of the ends straight and not on an angle
Hollowing the zucchini can be daunting, if you lack the confidence, only carve out as much as you can. I really want to emphasize the importance of not piercing the skin as it helps to cook the rice (or stuffing) once it is pierced, the rice will bust out and may cook unevenly
Be comfortable whilst fleshing zucchini, have a clear workbench
Have two large bowls ready - one for placing the cored zucchini and the other to collect the flesh
Use your thumb and index finger to control the manakra/corer, similar to how you'd hole a screwdriver
When shopping for zucchini, select ones that you think will be easy to carve (straight and thick)
❗What if I don't have a manakra?
Whilst I strongly recommend a manakra as its sole purpose is to hollow out vegetables, here are a few other kitchen tools that may help you hollow a zucchini;
- Try using an apple corer* if the zucchini's have a big enough opening.
- Melon baller* (with a thin handle, which can be inserted into zucchini)
- Grapefruit spoon*
- A potato peeler* (the long scoop pencil version)
💡Zucchini flesh recipe
What to do with the leftover zucchini flesh? Zucchini flesh is not only edible, it's delicious and highly nutritious.
I highly recommend my quick lemony recipe which takes me back to my childhood, where we used to eat it wrapped up in Lebanese bread.
This recipe is called Lib el Kousa - which literally translates to flesh of zucchini. Try it here Zucchini Flesh Recipe - (Lib El Kousa)