Technique: How to core coosa, or summer squash


To make stuffed squash, or coosa mehshee (MEH-she), the squash has to be hollowed out. A special tool is used for this, and it’s typically called a zucchini corer. These long metal corers can be found in Middle Eastern markets very cheaply, or online. Is there a makeshift corer you can use? That depends. A melon baller could work, depending on the size of your squash. My melon baller was way too large to core my narrow squash. This dish will be easier, and therefore more pleasurable, to make (and, in turn, more pleasurable to eat) if you go ahead and get the corer. Besides, once you taste the stuffed squash, you’ll want to make it again and again, and then you’ll feel vindicated about having bought another gadget.

Cut the top of the squash off (the stem end that was connected to the plant). If your squash is bent at the neck, cut below the bend. You can save any edible portion of the bent pieces; slice them up and sauté them in flash in a splash (I couldn’t resist an opportunity to rhyme on my blog) of olive oil on high heat with a little salt. Delicious.

Hollowing the squash is entertaining and easier than it seems, but you have to be careful not to get carried away with how good you are at hollowing it out and puncture through the squash. Take it easy, leaving a ¼ inch rim of squash. Core deep enough into the squash to end up with a decent balance of stuffing to squash.

Insert the corer in ¾ of the length of the squash and twist. Pull out the core. Do this a few times, scraping against the edge of the squash with gentle pressure until you’ve hollowed it out. If you do puncture a squash, don’t throw it away in a huff. It’s still useable. Just serve that one, the ugly duckling, to yourself and no one will know.

The squash cores are sometimes added into the pot with the coosa when it cooks, and there are other tasty ways to use them up. I don’t add the cores into this dish but if you try it and like it, you get points for wasting not.

Tomorrow: the recipe for coosa mehshee (stuffed summer squash)!

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19 Responses to Technique: How to core coosa, or summer squash

  1. Anne says:

    Wow who knew someone other than my Dad made those! Thanks Maureen, the link really helps.
    Love the blog!

  2. Beth says:

    I just bought a corer on Amazon – cannot wait to try these!

  3. Tina Hogan says:

    Didn’t you call the corer
    a goofer? Still using Grandma Shaker’s goofer!

  4. Rick Ketaily says:

    I love making this, just like my aunts used to. However, I always try to find much larger squash like the ones we had in upstate NY. Do you find a big difference or have a preference between the large vs. small?

    • Maureen Abood says:

      Rick, I look for the pale green coosa that isn’t always available. In Chicago at the farmer’s market they had it and called it Korean squash. They are about the length of your hand and about 2.5 inches wide. I like that size because they look nice on the plate, but I think I would like them smaller too!

  5. lana says:

    Hi i was just curious about the koosa corer …i cant seem to find one but would love to make this!!!!any suggestions

    • Maureen Abood says:

      Hi! Thrilled you want to make coosa! Try Middle Eastern grocery stores or delis. Kitchen shops sell something called a “zucchini corer” that is very similar and will work well. Let me know how your coosa comes out! It’ll be delicious.

  6. din says:

    Hi! Can i core the squash a day ahead of time?

  7. Merry in Massachusetts says:

    Whenever we make stuffed coosa, we make what I know as ejjy with the insides of the coosa. I am sure you would love this version. Salt the scrapings and collect into a colander, and put an inverted plate on top with a weight to squeeze out excess moisture. Leave for about an hour…there will be a lot of water. Chop up the pulp and place in a bowl. Add chopped scallions, parsley, and mint. Proportions are determined, of course, by the amount of pulp with which you started. Trust yourself to know when it looks right. Beat a couple of eggs and add some ground pepper. Then sift a couple of tablespoons flour into eggs and whisk in. Combine the egg mixture with the herbed pulp. Heat some oil in a large skillet and drop the batter by spoonful into hot oil. It should spread by itself, or you can gently flatten with your spoon. Flip when cooked on the first side, and finish cooking. Place on paper towels or brown paper to absorb any excess oil. This is delicious hot or even at room temperature, and absolutely the best with a slice of native summer tomato in Syrian bread! One of favorites for lunch in summer. Enjoy!

    • Maureen Abood says:

      Your variation of ejjy sounds absolutely delicious, Merry, thank you! I can’t wait to try it.

      • Merry in Massachusetts says:

        Let me know how it comes out. I am the only one in my generation who makes Syrian/Lebanese food, so it’s nice to be able to share recipes with someone.

        • Barbara Abisalih says:

          Can some one tell me how to freeze the cored Koosa. I remember my mother freezing some when I was young.. But don’t know if she partially cooked the unstuffed Koosa or just dried them and froze them as they were.

  8. Vicky Nasser says:

    Hi, I love to make these for my family. But, I just grew a whole bunch and can’t use it all right away. Can I freeze the koosa after I core it out?

  9. Norma Corey-Lambert says:

    Hi Maureen,
    Your site excited me! I am ½ Lebanese and ½ Italian. My Sito taught my Mom (Italian) to cook all kinds of dishes. (My Mom was open to all nationality cooking and her and Sito taught me a lot).
    This a.m. my daughter-in-law and I cored koosa and froze it for the winter. I have frozen it blanched and un-blanched. I did some research on line and it recommended blanching. Boiling water 2 mins. followed by a cold bath, drain, bag and freeze.

    I also make an omelets with the insides. Also, if there is leftover stuffing from the coosa, I mix it with the leftover insides and make kind of a stew. I don’t know what it is called, but we love it.

    Love to hear from other “Lebanese Cousins.”

 

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