Zuccini Ovenbake – Kousa bil béchamel

Zuccini Ovenbake – Kousa bil béchamel
January 23, 2013 Dyna Eldaief

Zuccini Ovenbake – Kousa bil béchamel

New Year, New Start.  I hope you have had a good start to 2013.  This year I hope to have a wonderful year.  That being said I do have my first cooking classes running over 6 weeks beginning in February and as well as that I hope to release a series of ebooks on Egyptian cooking.  The first of these is due to be uploaded soon so keep tuning in for updates.  You can subscribe to the Egyptian Cooking Channel on YouTube (which also features videos of the kids cooking together in the fun and messy way that only they can) as well as becoming a follower of this blog by scrolling down and clicking on the “Join this site” button under Followers.  You can also enter your email address to receive notification of the latest blog entries.  As always please feel free to leave comments or suggestions.

 As for the rest, we have been getting ourselves back into a routine at home after spending time away visiting extended family.  It has been a wonderful time for our oldest child who went camping and swimming and spent time playing and getting to know his cousins.  We have been home with holidays over and my dad called me to say he was coming to visit along with my siblings and their families.  I had a busy morning getting ready, cleaning, shopping and finding time for the gym too. 

When they arrived they brought with them gifts for my birthday which is this month (near enough is good enough) and my dad and step-mum came with two trays of food baked in the morning and still hot.  I got the impression this was not just a drop in visit but more like a surprise birthday party.  Still more food came and so did a birthday cake made by my sister who decorated it with stars and had my favourite colour purple all over it. 

We sat and talked for a while before getting lunch for the kids and then following that the adults got to sit and enjoy lunch in peace.  My step mother had made 2 of my favourite dishes,  Macaroni oven bake  مكرونة فى الفرن   Macarona fil forn and Zuccini Ovenbake كوسة بالباشاميل Kousa bil béchamel.  I was quite pleased when my step mother said she had made the Kousa with home grown zucchini and using my recipe.  It seems that she would make this normally by partially cooking the zucchini first but after seeing that I slice the zucchini and layer it in the tray raw so that it cooks in the oven she thought to give it a try.  She was impressed that it worked just as well without needing the zucchini to be cooked first and said we could still learn from each other. 

I love the food my step mother makes (I am still enjoying memories of Christmas lunch which was just wonderful) and I know the rest of the family does too, if the fights between hubby and the boys over who gets to eat the last of the مكرونة فى الفرن   Macarona fil forn was any indication .  It did mean there were no fights over the zucchini  كوسة بالباشاميل Kousa bil béchamel which perhaps is no surprise with kids but little did they know that it was there in the bowl with the مكرونة فى الفرن   Macarona fil forn hiding underneath.  

Zuccini Ovenbake كوسة بالباشاميل Kousa bil béchamel

Zuccini Ovenbake كوسة بالباشاميل Kousa bil béchame

While I consider her to be the expert in all things related to Egyptian cooking I do appreciate being able to add to her body of knowledge.  I have since enjoyed having the leftovers for dinner and I was sure to let her know that it was a great birthday gift to have meals ready and since there was so much food I had a couple of nights free from cooking dinner.

Serves 6


1 kg zucchini cut into 1cm thick slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1kg minced or ground beef
2 x 140g tub tomato paste
690ml tomato passata + 500ml water
Salt, pepper and   mixed spice to taste
¼ cup breadcrumbs
Béchamel (White sauce)
100g butter
100g/ ½ cup plain flour
2 ½ cups / 625ml full cream milk,
1 teaspoon mace or mixed spice
1 ½ teaspoon allspice
Salt/pepper to taste
½ cup grated parmesan cheese, optional




To make the meat sauce

Heat oil in a large pan then add onion and garlic and fry over medium heat until translucent.  Add mince and cook over high heat for 15 minutes breaking up any lumps until it is browned and almost all the liquid has evaporated.

Add tomato paste, mace and season with salt and pepper.  Cook for 2 minutes before adding 2 cups or 500ml water.  Bring it to the boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered until meat is cooked and the liquid has reduced, and almost completely evaporated.


To make the béchamel sauce

In a heavy based saucepan melt the butter over medium heat and add the flour.  Cook for 2 minutes, add the spices and cook for a further minute, stirring continuously.  Add the milk a little at first and stir to a smooth paste before adding more. Continue to add milk and stir to remove any lumps.  Bring to the boil, reduce heat and cook until the sauce has thickened.  Remove from heat.


Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas mark 4).  


Zuccini Ovenbake كوسة بالباشاميل Kousa bil béchamel
Zuccini Ovenbake كوسة بالباشاميل Kousa bil béchamel
Zuccini Ovenbake كوسة بالباشاميل Kousa bil béchamel
Zuccini Ovenbake كوسة بالباشاميل Kousa bil béchamel
Zuccini Ovenbake كوسة بالباشاميل Kousa bil béchamel
Zuccini Ovenbake كوسة بالباشاميل Kousa bil béchamel

Grease a 20 x 15 cm tray with butter or oil and sprinkle the breadcrumbs over.   Tap the tray to spread the crumbs in a thin layer and remove any excess.  Layer half the zucchini over the base then cover with half the cooked mince.  Repeat with another layer of zucchini and the remainder of the meat.  Spread the béchamel sauce evenly over the top and bake, uncovered, for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown on top and zucchini is cooked. Serve with rice and a salad.