A delicious winter dish I have always enjoyed is the vegetarian version of this traditional Egyptian eggplant moussaka *, passed down from my grandmother to my mother and now shared with my own family. There are many variations about how to cook moussaka, but I love this simple and delicious method passed through the generations of my family. Enjoy!
* Eggplant is also known as aubergine in some countries.
- Chop off the stalk, then peel and slice the eggplants lengthways
- Heat olive oil in a saucepan, then fry the eggplant. Once cooked, remove from the heat and put aside
- Peel and chop the onion into small pieces. In a saucepan, sauté the onion in olive oil and a teaspoon of butter for added flavour.
- Once the onion is translucent, add chopped garlic.
- Add 500grams of minced meat. For a vegetarian version, you can replace the mince with sautéed onion, combined with finely chopped red capsicum/red pepper, carrot and mushrooms.
- Add the tin of chopped tomatoes to the saucepan and allow to simmer for 5–10 minutes until sauce thickens.
Tips from the author
For the béchamel sauce
In a saucepan combine ¼ cup olive oil with 1 teaspoon butter. Add 2 tablespoons of plain flour. Stir together until combined.
Slowly add warm milk and whisk together, stirring until the sauce becomes thicker,
Take off the heat and add ½ cup tasty cheese.
In a method similar to assembling lasagne, cover the base of a baking dish with the mince sauce (or the vegetarian equivalent mentioned above). Layer with slices of eggplant, followed by another layer of the minced sauce, then eggplant again.
Add béchamel sauce over the top.
Combine ¼ cup parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon paprika, and breadcrumbs then sprinkle over the top.
Cook in the oven at 180 degrees celcius for 20 minutes until the top slightly browns.
One cooked, grate fresh nutmeg over the top before allowing the dish to cool slightly.
Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with vegetables and/or a side salad.
Tips from the author:
When cooking the eggplant, if you prefer not to fry it, you can also grill it in the oven or in a sandwich press after spraying with oil.
When cooking the mince, some people like to add pine nuts and saltanas.
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