Moussaka is an eggplant- (aubergine) or potato-based dish, often including ground meat, in the Levant, Middle East, and Balkans, with many local and regional variations. The most famous version of the dish today appeared in the 1920s with the publishing of Nikolaos Tselementes' culinary book in Greece. Many versions have a top layer made of milk-based sauce thickened with egg (custard) or flour (béchamel sauce). In Greece, the dish is layered and typically served hot. In Turkey, thinly sliced eggplant is fried and served in a tomato-based meat sauce. Turkish moussaka may be consumed warm or at room temperature. In the Arab countries, it is often eaten cold but is also served hot in some regions. SHOW MORE
The most famous version of the dish today appeared in the 1920s with the publishing of Nikolaos Tselementes' culinary book in Greece. Many versions have a top layer made of milk-based sauce thickened with egg (custard) or flour (béchamel sauce). In Greece, the dish is layered and typically served hot.
Most versions are based primarily on sautéed eggplant and tomato, usually with minced meat, mostly lamb. However, the Greek version includes layers of meat and eggplant topped with a Béchamel ("white") sauce and baked.
The modern Greek version was created by the French-trained Greek chef Nikolaos Tselementes in the 1920s. A classic recipe has three layers that are separately cooked before being combined for the final baking: a bottom layer of sliced eggplant sautéed in olive oil; a middle layer of ground lamb lightly cooked with chopped or puréed tomatoes, onion, garlic, and spices (cinnamon, allspice and black pepper); and a top layer of Béchamel sauce or savory custard. The composed dish is then layered into a pan and baked until the top layer is browned. Moussaka is usually served warm, not piping hot; if cut hot out of the oven, moussaka squares tend to slide apart, and consequently, the dish needs some resting time to firm up before serving. Reheating, however, does not present the same problem.
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