Libyan Stuffed Onions (Basal Mashshi)

Libyan Entree

(Basal Mahshi)


5 large onions
1 garlic clove
2 Roma tomatoes
1 pound ground lamb, beef, or combination
3 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon mint
¼ teaspoon oregano
¼ teaspoon fenugreek powder
½ teaspoon parsley (1 teaspoon more later)
½ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon ghee or olive oil (½ tablespoon more later)
½ tablespoon ghee or olive oil
½ cup water
1 teaspoon parsley


potato peeler
pot just large enough for 5 large onions to just fit snugly inside

Serves 5. Takes 2 hours.


Peel onions. Cut off the root and enough of the bottom of an onion so that it can stand upright. Remove the top ½” from the top of the onion. Save the onion top. Use knife to cut onion on one side through to the center of the onion from the top to the bottom. Use potato peeler, or small spoon to remove the inner layers of the onion until about ⅓” or 2-to-3 layers of outer layers remain. Repeat for each onion. Save half of the hollowed-out onion bits. Discard the rest.

Mince garlic and hollowed-out onion bits. Dice tomatoes. Add garlic, onion bits, tomato, lamb, flour, mint, oregano, fenugreek, ½ teaspoon parsley, pepper, salt, and turmeric to large mixing bowl. Mix with hands until well blended. Fill the hollowed-out center of onions with mixture from bowl. Grease bottom of pot with 1 tablespoon ghee. Pack onions into pot. Place the onions’ tops on onions. Add ½ tablespoon ghee and water to small mixing bowl. Mix together with whisk. Baste onions with ghee/water. Cover. Simmer at low heat for 1 hour. Remove and discard onion tops. Garnish each onion with 1 teaspoon parsley.


1) Many people like to get the animals they shoot stuffed by a taxidermists. Indeed, stuffing large animals shot while on safari are considered to be a trophies. Who wants a trophy?

2) I do! I do!

3) But Paul, could you shoot a magnificent beast of the Veldt?

4) Mumbles, “No.”

5) Do you even think you could bring down a charging Bengal tiger?

6) Mumbles, “No, I might just wing it.”

7) So, you’d just enrage the tiger, wouldn’t you?”

8) “Yeah, I guess so.”

9) Can you outrun a Bengal tiger?


11) Mightn’t you miss and bring down one of your fellow safari hunters?”

12) “Yeah, I suppose so.”

13) You’re aware that murder is wrong?”

14) Hangs head down. “Yeah.”

15) And that you’d probably go to jail for life, if not worse. Do you want that?”

16) “It’s not fair. It was an accident.”

17) Still . . .

18) “Could I have a do over?”

19) No! There are no do overs in shooting people.

20) “What if I said I was sorry?”

21) No!

22) “What if I stuffed onions and served them to guests as Libyan Basal Mahshi?”

23) That’ll do, Paul. That’ll do.


– Paul De Lancey, The Comic Chef, Ph.D.

My cookbook, Following Good Food Around the World, with its 180 wonderful recipes, my newest novel, Do Lutheran Hunks Eat Mushrooms, a hilarious apocalyptic thriller, and all my other books, are available on

Categories: cuisine, international, observations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Post navigation

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: