Stuffed, spiced courgettes

Stuffed, spiced courgettes

Reza’s Indian Spice

Stuffed vegetables are common in Indian cookery, but the raisins and toasted pine nuts here add a Mediterranean twist. Courgettes act as ‘stunt doubles’ for the more exotic and hard-to-find gourds we would stuff. I use cottage cheese here because it’s more easily available than paneer, but if you can find or make good paneer, use that instead.


Quantity Ingredient

For the courgettes

Quantity Ingredient
4 large courgettes
a little rapeseed or vegetable oil

For the filling

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons rapeseed or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon grated root ginger
2 green chillies, finely chopped
2 tablespoons raisins
2 tablespoons finely chopped coriander leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
200g cottage cheese
30-40g pine nuts, toasted

For the sauce

Quantity Ingredient
2 onions, roughly chopped
4 tablespoons rapeseed or vegetable oil
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
1 tablespoon grated root ginger
700g tomatoes, liquidised
3 tablespoons tomato puree, dissolved in 1 tbsp water
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon caster sugar


  1. Cut the courgettes in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon to form a deep hollow. Finely chop the scooped-out flesh and set aside.
  2. In a frying pan, heat the oil. Add the cumin and fennel seeds. Allow to pop and splutter, then add the shallot, garlic, ginger and chillies. Cook until the chopped shallot has softened and become translucent. Add the scooped-out courgette flesh and sauté until all the moisture has evaporated (about six to eight minutes). Remove from the heat and add the raisins. Allow the mixture to cool.
  3. Add the coriander, chives, cottage cheese and pine nuts. Stuff the courgettes. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  4. To make the sauce, blend the onions in a blender with 200ml of water to a smooth paste. Heat the oil in a wide, heavy-based pan over a medium-high heat until hot. Add the onion paste, garlic and ginger. Cook until it turns a light brown. (Do not worry if the onions absorb all the oil, just keep cooking until the mixture changes colour.) Add the tomatoes, tomato purée, chilli powder, ground cumin, ground fennel and turmeric and continue to cook for a few minutes. Add the sugar and adjust the seasoning with salt.
  5. Pour the mixture into a roasting tray. Place the stuffed courgettes on top and drizzle with oil. Cover with foil and bake in the hot oven for 35–40 minutes, until the courgettes are tender.
  6. Serve with yogurt seasoned with ground roasted cumin seeds.
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