Even though I have always mentioned that my kids are picky, I am grateful for the men that I have in my life. Whether it’s HD or B, they love to eat experimented dishes. I don’t need to worry about them not eating if I am upto making something different. I know many women don’t have that liberty. If the man of the house won’t eat, naturally you won’t be inclined to make dishes as such. Whether it’s the Baked Rice Casserole or the Fish Pie, which don’t even have any remote Indian tastes, it was accepted wholeheartedly and finished in my house, Alhamdulillah. But yes, the girls crimp their foreheads and eat a little – they love naadan food, but I really don’t care. They need to get used to have a maverick ummi who likes to experiment at times. 😀
Moussakka was something that I had been wanting to try since long. I am not a fan of eggplant, but I was sure that it would be an amazing combination with mince. The origin of Moussakka is a debate. It’s considered to be a Greek food, but Arab countries have it too with little variations here and there. Mine is a mishmash recipe, taken from all over and combining all the good elements as possible. 😀 It’s a very rich dish, so be ready to feel sleepy once you have a plate of it. 😉
The making of this dish is slightly complicated, and involving a lot of elements. But once you cook all of them side by side, and push them off to bake, you will get really impatient for it to come out of the oven! I guarantee you will forget all the work that you had put into it to make it. It is that delicious! If you are in for a weekend treat or just want some rich food, then do try this dish at least once! You will fall flat… Off to the recipe…
- 1 large aubergine
- 1 large potato
- ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese
- FOR MEAT LAYER:
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 onion, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, pounded
- 350 gm minced beef
- ½ tsp cinnamon powder
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp paprika powder
- 2 large tomatoes, minced
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- ½ tsp dried parsley
- FOR BECHAMEL SAUCE:
- 2 tbsp butter
- 3 heaped tbsp flour
- 1½ cup milk
- 1 egg, whisked
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Slice up the aubergine into thin roundrels. Keep them in a colander, sprinkle salt over it and leave it undisturbed for 15 minutes. This will help the aubergine ooze out excess liquid. Wash and pat dry.
- Slice up the potatoes and cook in boiling salted water for around 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
- In a saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add in the aubergines and fry both sides for a couple of minutes. Drain and set aside.
- In the same oil, add the bay leaf, onion, garlic and meat and start breaking it down. Cook for around five minutes.
- Add in the powders and give a good mix.
- Now add the tomato and tomato paste along with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally till the tomatoes are mashed up and the meat is all cooked. Ensure that the mixture is dry (refer notes). Switch off and set aside.
- In another saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour and fry for a couple of minutes.
- Add in the milk and whisk till smooth. Cook till the sauce turns thick.
- Add salt and pepper as required and switch off. Whisk in the egg.
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
- Oil a deep tray. Layer the bottom with the fried aubergines and then top with the boiled potatoes.
- Spread the meat mixture on top of this. Finally top with the bechamel sauce. Level the top and sprinkle the parmesan cheese all over.
- Bake for 25 minutest ill the top looks done.
- Serve hot with a side of salad and soup of choice.
The potatoes are optional. You may see that some recipes use cabbage. You could try layering with sauteed cabbage too.
You can use meat of your choice for the meat layer.