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Stuffed Zucchini in Tamarind Sauce

stuffed zucchinni

My paternal grandmother, who emigrated from Syria, brought this Stuffed Zucchini in Tamarind Sauce recipe with her. She used to make it for Jewish holidays, occasionally with ground meat. Since I became vegetarian, my mother made some changes – she removed the meat, added sunflower seeds (or pine nuts), and used brown rice rather than white. The tamarind concentrate adds a special sweat and sour flavor to this delicious dish. You can substitute the zucchini with grape leaves

See step by step instructions with photos here.

Editor's note: Make sure to soak the rice in boiling water an hour in advance.

  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 8Servings


  • 14 fresh zucchini, 4" long 1 carrot, sliced 1 cup pitted prunes 1 cup dried apricots

Rice Stuffing

  • 2 cups brown rice
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds or pine nuts
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Tamarind Sauce

  • 1 cup tamarind extract
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 4 cups water


1. Wash zucchini and slice off the stem end. Core zucchini with a long narrow apple or vegetable corer– leaving 1/4" walls: dig in gently, twist and pull out the pulp few times until you reach the required results. Set aside. You can use the pulp for soup.

2. Prepare the Rice Stuffing: Soak rice in boiling water for an hour. Heat the olive oil and fry the onion until golden. Strain the rice and add onion, sunflower seeds, salt, and pepper. Mix well.

3. Line a large pot with slices of carrots, dry apricot, and prunes. 

4. Stuff the zucchini with the rice mixture leaving about 2 cm of the end open – so the mixture has room to expand.

5. Arrange the zucchini over the fruit so that all are on their sides. If there is more than one layer of zucchini, add sliced carrots, dried apricot, and prunes between layers.

6. Prepare Tamarind Sauce: Combine tamarind extract, oil and water. Pour over the zucchini to cover. 

7. Bring to a boil and cook on low heat for an hour.

8. Preheat oven to 212°F. Cook the zucchini pot inside the oven 3-4 hours until they are soft. Serve hot.