Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Moussakka

 
Eggplants are cheap and easily available in Maldives. There are thin and  slender ones, small ones , round ones, large ones. 

Moussakka is a dish served in countries  in medditeranean region and according to wikipedia in parts of mediteranean , middle east and greece.
 I love making this dish as its a great way to use eggplants rather than the usual way of making curry. You can use either beef, lamb or mutton mince. Use large fat eggplants or round ones.

Moussakka : Recipe adapted from Favourite Everyday Dinners by periplus mini cookbooks

For 3 servings :
400g minced meat ( beef/ lamb or mutton)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic ( finely choppped)
1/2 tsp mixed dried herbs
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinamon
1 can of  peeled tomatoes ( crushed)
1 tsp of tomato paste
salt and pepper
Finely chopped parsley ( optional)
olive oil
2  medium sized fat eggplants or 4 round ones
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp plain flour
11/2 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
handful grated parmesan cheese

1. Slice the eggplants into slices , about 1 cm.  Brush with olive oil and pop in a moderately hot oven for  5- 10 minutes till nicely golden or you can grill them. Set a side.

2. Prepare meat sauce, heat oil in a deep frying pan or large saucepan , about 2 tbsps, fry onions till soft, then add the meat and break them up while stir frying.

3. Once the meat starts to brown, stir in garlic and spices and dried herbs. Add the can of tomato and tomato paste. Pour some water into the can of tomatoes till its half the can and swirl the contents into the pan. Bring to the boil, then simmer, covered till the sauce reduces to a very thick sauce  and meat is cooked through. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Stir in finely chopped parsley if using.

4. While the meat sauce is cooking , prepare your white sauce: Melt butter in a small saucepan, switch off heat once te butter melts,add flour and whisk to mix well. Place it back on a low heat and whisk in milk.  Let the sauce thicken, dont let it get too thick though, then stir in parmesan cheese. Taste add salt if necessary, and a little pinch of pepper. Take off heat, whisk in the beaten egg.

5. To assemble the moussakka,  lightly oil a  square or small oven dish, arrange a single layer of eggplants at the bottom, make sure you cover the whole surface.

6. Pour a few ladles of meat sauce. Then another layer of eggplants and a second layer of meat sauce. Final layer of eggplants and then pour the white sauce on top. Sprinkle some more parmessan cheese if you have any left.

7. Bake in a preheated, moderate oven about Gas 5, I think thats about 200 degree celcius  for about 35- 45 minutes till the top is golden . Serve with a nice green salad.

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