Basic Libyan Mahshi
(stuffing) for vegetables (Peppers, Courgettes / Zucchini, Vine leaves, Spinach, Cabbage, Aubergines,etc.)
1 medium onion - chopped
2-3 green onions - chopped
1-2 bunches fresh Parsley - chopped
1 bunch fresh Coriander leaves - chopped (Coriander is typically used in the eastern side of Libya, while Dill (shibit) is more preferable in the western parts of Libya)
1 tomato - chopped
1 hot green pepper (optional) N.B. remove seeds and finely chop
1 cup Egyptian rice (round grain)
Lamb’s meat cut into small pieces (approx size ½ inch x ¾ inch) 1-2 handfuls
Tomato paste – 2 tablespoons approx
2-3 tablespoons Olive Oil / Vegetable Oil OR 1 tablespoon Ghee (clarified butter)
1 teaspoon Salt
1 – 2 teaspoons baharaat/ hararaat/ Garam Masala
1 teaspoon Red Chilli powder
1 teaspoon Turmeric
1 teaspoon Dried Mint
In a large bowl combine all the above ingredients gently.
This is a basic stuffing used to stuff all manner of vegetables e.g. Peppers, Courgettes / Zucchini, Vine leaves, Spinach, Silig, Cabbage, Aubergines, etc. Stuffed Peppers and Courgettes : Tips. Peppers and Courgettes may be cooked together. *Instead of slicing the tops off the peppers just cut around the stem and pull out the seeds gently without splitting the pepper. This holds the stuffing in and makes the peppers much easier to handle and more attractive.
*Small slices of potato may be used to ‘plug’ the pepper after stuffing.
*If you have used lamb which you have cut off the bone the bones may be placed in the pan to add more flavour to the Mahshi.
*If stuffing courgettes don’t throw away the cores as this can be used to line the pan before putting in the stuffed vegetables to help protect the vegetables from burning.
Place Peppers and/or Courgettes in a saucepan or baking tin upside-down ensuring quite a snug fit to prevent the vegetables falling over and losing their stuffing during cooking.
Add enough water to boil (3-4 cups approx.), cover with a lid or foil and boil at a moderately high heat for 15minutes approx. topping up water if required to prevent burning.
A little tomato puree and some of the spices may be added to the water for more flavour.
Then turn them right side up ,add a little more water if required and cover.
Continue boiling for another 5-10 minutes until rice is tender.
Finish by baking in a hot oven for a few minutes to brown (not absolutely necessary).
Stuffed Vine Leaves - Libyan ‘Brak’
If using Spinach or Sillig (Chard - similar to Spinach but larger and courser) or Cabbage, the leaves need to be softened a little (in the case of Spinach a few seconds only) in boiling water to make them supple for wrapping around the mahshi.
To Cook:- Any bones from the meat and stalks from the leaves may be used to line the pan. Arrange the stuffed leaves snugly around the pan. Add water to almost cover and boil until the rice is tender. Can also be transferred to a baking dish to ‘dry’ slightly in the oven after boiling.