Here is the moussaka recipe as promised. I didn’t get a chance to send it out last night. Trace and I got involved in a Stargate:Universe marathon on our DVR. The show is ending (series finale tonight) just when it is finally getting good! Isn’t that always the case? So, yes, I got side tracked with preparing dinner and the show and everything else that goes on in a hectic household.
I can’t even tell you where my moussaka recipe comes from or where I even tried moussaka for the first time. I have been thinking on this and the only thing I can think of is, of all places, Gulf Air! We would often fly Gulf Air from London to Karachi and they had the BEST food. I loved Gulf Air. The flight was a very long flight and boring. You were surrounded by dozens of smelly strangers all with questionable hygiene practices. The only thing that made the trip bearable was the thought of seeing my nephews and the wonderful food Gulf Air provided. Thirty minutes after take off, they would start with a snack and then every couple of hours or so, they would come around with something! I loved it and it sure made the trip go by much faster!
I am quite sure, it is on one of these flights that I experienced my first moussaka! After trying this, I, of course, researched a recipe and had my mum make some. Since then though, I have tried various versions and the one I have been making for years now has just become my version. I can’t even remember what recipe I used originally, but I do know that it has changed over the years and this is my recipe now. It is a favourite of my eldest sister and I always make sure to make it when she visits and apparently, my brother Ali seems to enjoy it too since he has requested this recipe. Well, he’ll be eating this very one when he is here in a few weeks!
Traditionally, moussaka is made with lamb and usually does not have potatoes. I use minced beef in mine but you could use minced lamb, goat or even chicken. I had made one recipe that had a fried potato layer and I loved the combination of the meat, eggplant and potato with the creamy bechamel sauce. The addition of the potatoes also makes the dish more substantial and you only need a nice green salad as an accompaniment. I kept the potato layer but I didn’t care for the fried potatoes. They made the overall dish too greasy and I didn’t like the pool of oil left behind from fried potatoes and fried eggplant. I like to bake my potatoes or parboil them instead. It makes very little difference in the flavour of the dish but sure cuts down on the oily mess on the stove and your plate! I, also, don’t fry my eggplant. I will brush olive oil on the eggplant slices and broil them or throw them on the grill. I use a griddle at home and it’s easy, mess free and healthier than frying.
Though it might not be considered moussaka without the meat, you could probably make a vegetarian version by replacing the meat with chickpeas, beans or lentils (or even TVP-textured vegetable protein.) The dish can become gluten free if you make the white sauce with cornstarch.
I made my moussaka to freeze so we can enjoy it later. I freeze it unbaked and when you are ready to enjoy it, thaw the dish overnight in the fridge and then bake covered at 350 deg F/170 deg C for 45 minutes to an hour, remove the foil for the last 20 minutes. To brown the top, you can broil for a few minutes or raise the temperature for the last 15 minutes. Sometimes, the dish will release a lot of liquid, in that case, just raise the temp to 400 deg F and bake for another 15 minutes, till it’s hot and bubbly and golden brown on top. The batch I made yesterday makes a good 8-10 servings. Use a deep 9′ by 13″(23cm by 33cm) tin, a lasagne pan works great.
sliced and cooked.
I had a couple of sweet potatoes knocking around my pantry so I added them too.
You can even omit this step, but my family LOVES cheese.
(Note: since I didn’t bake my moussaka, the pictures don’t show a beautiful golden top.)