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Zucchini Mechshie with Tamarind & Prunes

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

I’ve talked a lot about mechshie (a Syrian dish of stuffed vegetables) on my blog, especially around the holidays. I decided to keep up the tradition, and for the third year in a row, I’m sharing a stuffed vegetable recipe in honor of Sukkot. The tradition of eating stuffed foods on Succot is symbolic of an abundant harvest season. Since the wheat is harvested in Israel during the fall, we stuff foods to symbolize our desire for an overflowing harvest. This is popularly done with stuffed cabbage, or holipches, which some say are also made to resemble the scrolls of a Torah.


Ever since I married into a Sephardic family, I can’t get enough of my mother-in-laws delicious mechshie dishes! I’m slowly learning to cook different variations, adapting my favorite recipe with the additions of tamarind, pomegranate molasses and different types of vegetables and dried fruit.

When I spotted beautiful globe zucchini in the market, I just knew I had to turn it into some kind of mechshie. The small, round zucchini were perfect for filling, and I decided to work in some tamarind paste, an ingredient essential to Sephardic cooking. It adds a hint of sourness to the sweet dish, a perfect pairing with the plump dried prunes.

So let’s get stuffin’!

More Mechshie Recipes:

stuffed baby eggplant mechshie
zucchini and tomato mechshie “ratatouille”

More “Stuffed” Recipes:

corned beef arancini
Passover stuffed cabbage (replace potatoes with rice)
collard stuffed sweet potatoes
sausage and apple stuffed butternut squash
spinach stuffed mushrooms
stuffed chicken roulade
Israeli stuffed eggplants

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Meat & Rice Stuffed Baby Eggplants

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

As we approach the last days of the holiday of Sukkot, I wanted to share a nontraditional “stuffed” recipe, for those looking for a change from traditional holipches/holishkes (stuffed cabbage). If you’ve always wondered why Hungarian style stuffed cabbage is served up on Sukkot, it’s because we want to celebrate the abundance of the harvest season. Fall is when farmers harvest their wheat in Israel, and stuffing vegetables with filling symbolizes their desire for a year of overflowing harvest. Although it is customary for many to eat stuffed cabbage, any stuffed recipe is well suited to honor this custom. You can stuff grape leaves, zucchini, peppers, or even fruit for dessert!

As I mentioned in this post, I was first introduced to the idea of mechshie when I married into a sephardic family. My mother in law taught me to prepare various dishes of meat & rice filled vegetables – each with it’s own unique flavor. Having grown up with these traditional Syrian dishes, my husband loves when I surprise him by making them. Although my twist on tomato & zucchini mechshie (which I’ve dubbed “mechshie ratatouille”) is my all time favorite, this lighter stuffed eggplant version is a close second.

If you want to go the traditional route, but you’re overwhelmed by the idea of making stuffed cabbage, try my Bubby’s cabbage soup with flanken. It tastes just like stuffed cabbage, without all the work! You can even leave out the flanken and make mini meat & rice balls instead.

Related Recipes:

zucchini and tomato mechshie “ratatouille”
globe zucchini mechshie with tamarind and prunes

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{Mechshie} Meat & Rice Stuffed Vegetables

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

Growing up in an ashkenazic home, it just wasn’t succos without my mother’s holishkes (stuffed cabbage). I had never even heard of sephardic dishes like stuffed grape leaves or eggplants until I married into a sephardic family. My mother in law loves to prepare authentic Syrian dishes like mehshie (pronounced mechshie). She stuffs everything from artichokes to onions, each with it’s own unique twist.

After being married for a few years, I finally decided to learn how to prepare some of her signature dishes, so I could make them for my husband. She lovingly shared her family recipes, teaching me how to prepare each and every dish. When two of the recipes seemed similar, I asked her why I couldn’t combine them. I soon learned that the mere thought of combining two types of stuffed vegetables was deemed sacrilegious!

Of all my mother-in-laws mehshi recipes, stuffed zucchini’s is my favorite. It’s simmered along with dried apricots in a sweet tomato broth. The apricots become melt-in-your-mouth soft, and together with the zucchini pulp, create a delicious sweet and tangy sauce. Tomato mehshi is treated in the same way, and being my husband’s favorite, I decided to combine the two in one pot. I also opted out of the dried mint, because in my world, mint and meat just don’t mix. Although this dish is a heresy to my mother-in-laws traditional culinary roots, it is a delicious modern twist on a old world custom of eating stuffed foods on the holiday of Succos. So lets get stuffing!

Watch me make mechshie with TorahCafe here:


Watch on TorahCafé.com!

Related Recipes:

globe zucchini mechshie with tamarind and prunes
savory baby eggplant mechshie

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