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Stuffed Courgettes Recipe – Kabak Dolması

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At the moment, there are loads of these almost spherical courgettes on Fethiye market and we absolutely love them. Kabak dolması – stuffed courgettes – is on the menu for this article.

The spherical courgettes are not overly common in these parts of Turkey and the last time we went to the market with our Turkish friend (who loves cooking and seems to know a lot about traditional Turkish cooking), she asked us what we would do with these.

Dolma Stuffed Courgette
Preparing our stuffed courgettes

Whether it’s a bell pepper, an aubergine, a mushroom – any vegetable that has room in it – the tradition in Turkish cuisine is to stuff it with a filling of some description to make a dish known as dolma (dolma means ‘stuffed’).

There’s a lot of room in our round courgettes so we decided to make stuffed courgettes – kabak dolması

A Seasonal Recipe for Kabak Dolması

This dish is for two people and you’re likely to get full but it doesn’t matter because you can do what we do and put the leftovers in the fridge for lunch the day after.

Kabak dolması is fabulous cold with natural süzme yoghurt.

The bulk of our filling is going to be made of fine bulgur wheat (köftelik bulgur), so we need to prepare this first.

  • Fill a coffee mug to the half-way point with the köftelik bulgur and pour into a bowl. Boil the kettle, add a teaspoon of tomato puree (salça) to the mug and when the kettle has boiled, add the water until the mug is three quarters full. Stir until the salça has melted and then pour into the bowl, covering the bulgur. Add more water if the bulgur isn’t covered. Set aside and cover with a clean tea towel or cloth.
Hollowed Out Courgette
Hollow out your courgette
  • Slice a small lid off 4 round courgettes and scoop the middles out with a spoon. Think Halloween pumpkins. (Speaking of which, why not try our Pumpkin Soup recipe too?) Nothing is wasted in our house so about half of the discarded courgette will become part of your stuffing. Put the rest in a bag in the fridge and you can make an omelette or risotto with it the day after.
  • Now, finely chop a red pepper, an onion and a few chillies (if you like spicy – of course we do!) and fry in a little olive oil. Add a pinch of salt, pepper, paprika and cumin and mix in. Fry on quite a high heat so that you get the singed edges to your peppers and onions. It all adds to flavour.
Bulgur Wheat Stuffed Courgette
Make your bulgur wheat filling for your stuffed courgette
  • Once fried, remove from the heat, fork through your bulgur and stir into the peppers and onions. Preheat your oven to 220 degrees.
  • Spoon the bulgur mixture into each of the courgettes until they’re full. You can cram it in if you want and if there’s any left at the end, you can save it for a salad the day after or do what we do and just eat it!
  • Place each stuffed courgette onto a baking tray and brush with a little olive oil before placing in the centre of the preheated oven.
Stuffed Courgette Recipes
Add oil, bake, eat

Bake courgettes in the oven for about 40 minutes, remove, and then you can eat them.

Turkish people love their natural yoghurt these courgettes are perfect served with a side dish of haydari (natural yoghurt with a bit of white cheese, mint and grated garlic mixed in to it) or cacık.

If you love to cook at home, check out our collection of Turkish recipes that we have built up over the years.

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Monday 23rd of December 2019

This is a very popular veg in South Africa. We know it as 'gem squash'. It can be boiled: - scoop out the seeds and mix in a teaspoon of butter and sugar (for a sweet tooth) or fill with savoury mince and rice or creamed sweetcorn (tinned variety) with grilled cheese on top.

Turkey's For Life

Sunday 12th of February 2012

@ Çağla: We always use köftelik bulgur wheat for stuffing vegetables with. We like the pilavlık bulgur as a side dish.

The round courgettes taste great. A bit more like a squash because they're larger. We only see them on the pazar sometimes so not many people grow them.

@ Banu: Thanks for the recipe suggestions. Will give it a try.


Saturday 11th of February 2012

Hi Julia!

Shame on me that I havent seen these courgettes before...!!! Is it a different type of zucchini!

Since I had some digestion problems with rice, I also tried bulgur for filling zucchini!

But I guess, köftelik bulgur is the best for it, I used pilavlık bulgur:)

next time I will try it with your receipe, and I really wonder how does this courgettes taste!!

It looks delicious!

Bon appetite!


Wednesday 21st of April 2010

This looks brilliant, I'm totally convinced! Also love the fact you did a step-by-step photo guide, so one can see how to do it. As for the name, I suppose you considered "Stuffed Courgette" :)) There must be a lovely Turkish name, though - like "The sultan smiled" or something similar!

Turkey's For Life

Wednesday 21st of April 2010

We just need a good name for it now though :)

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