July 28, 2010

'Kousa b'Jibn': Zucchini, Cheese and Egg Pie

I love zucchini, cooked in many ways: sauteed with butter and onions, or olive oil and garlic, via Marcella Hazan; in pasta; grilled, fried or added to pizza. I'm not one of those people who leave bags of zucchini on their neighbor's porches in the dead of night. Granted, I have only one hill with three plants, but this produces lots of fruits for fresh eating and freezing.

One of my favorite zucchini dishes is a family middle eastern recipe which my mother often prepares for non-meat dinners; I look forward to making it each summer. The squash is first cooked with onions and then mixed with cheese and eggs and baked. It is good hot or cold (mmm, leftovers).

1 large onion, chopped
3 Tbs vegetable oil
2 lbs zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch slices
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups grated cheese. My mother uses muenster, I use cheddar.
salt to taste

  1. Fry the onion in a wide pot oil till golden.
  2. Add the zucchini and cook until very soft, stirring often.
  3. Mix the eggs and cheese in a bowl, then add the zucchini-onion mixture and mix well, adding salt to taste.
  4. Pour into a baking dish (I used a 9 inch square for this amount) and bake in a 350˚oven until golden brown, about 45 minutes.
  5. Serve with yogurt.
Serves 4 to 6

I should mention that my mother uses more eggs and cheese, as does my cousin Poopa Dweck in her cookbook Aromas of Aleppo, using twice as many eggs with a pound of cheese. This makes a more dense pie as the softer squash is surrounded by the firmer egg/cheese mixture. Claudia Roden, in her The New Book of Middle Eastern Food, uses the smaller amount above, which I also like. So if you make this more than once, you can experiment with the proportion of ingredients to see which you prefer.


  1. That looks delicious, Altoon. My Arab grandma and aunts spent many a Sunday morning stuffing kousa with rice, lamb and saffron for big family dinners (served with kibbee and grape leaves, of course!)

  2. I jumped up and made a quiche in the middle of reading this....how's that for being inspiring!

  3. Oh my! Lookin' good!

    A quick one I like in summer is various colors of zucchini sliced and lightly steamed, with spaghetti sauce and melted grated parmesan and/or cheddar on top.

  4. Great recipe. How do you pronounce the name?

  5. I'm glad you all liked the looks of this recipe. It's a great way to use the bountiful crop of zucchini. And Susan A., we also stuff the squash in my family, with chopped beef and rice, calling it muchshee.

    As for pronunciation: the 'kousa' is just as written, with stress on first syllable, and the 'b' is attached. So sort of kousab, then jibin.

  6. I made this today -- it came out of the oven and disappeared immediately! I added some thyme and the tops of green onions. And the recipe is going right into my stash of best summer suppers. (Nice that it's chilly enough today to bake something.)

  7. I'm glad the recipe was popular in your house, Susan. And your additions sound great; it's always fun to tweak recipes to your liking.

  8. I've been making this pie since I stumbled upon it in a back and forth between Altoon and Susan Sawyer. It's so delicious! I add a bit of feta and sometimes a squirt of sriracha sauce but the best tweak by far has been that I make it and freeze it. I use the smallest, sweetest little Gentry summer squash and we eat it all winter, frozen in individual servings. Thank you Altoon! I've shared this recipe so many times!