Moussaka is a classic Mediterranean dish popular in many countries, including Greece, Turkey and Egypt. The exact origins of Moussaka are uncertain, but it is believed to have been influenced by Arabic cuisine and introduced to Greece during the Ottoman Empire. Today, there are many variations of Moussaka, each with a unique flavour and ingredients.
In Greece, the traditional version of Moussaka is made with layers of sliced eggplant, minced lamb or beef, and a béchamel sauce made from flour, butter, and milk. In Turkey and Egypt, it is typically made with ground beef or lamb, eggplant, tomato, and peppers.
My version of Moussaka is a classic Greek recipe made with eggplant, ground beef, and a creamy béchamel sauce. I roast the eggplant slices in the oven with olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper to bring out their natural sweetness and flavour. For the meat sauce, I use a combination of onions, garlic, and ground beef, seasoned with oregano and tomato paste for a rich and savoury flavour. The béchamel sauce is made from scratch, using flour, butter, and milk, and is seasoned with salt, white pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg for a velvety smooth finish.
To assemble the Moussaka, I layer the eggplant slices, meat sauce, and béchamel sauce in a baking dish and sprinkle panko breadcrumbs on top for a crunchy texture. I then bake the dish in the oven until golden brown and serve it warm with a side salad or some crusty bread.
Overall, Moussaka is a delicious and comforting dish perfect for any occasion. Whether you prefer the traditional Greek version or like experimenting with different ingredients and flavours, there’s a Moussaka recipe for everyone to enjoy.
Basic Ingredients for Moussaka
Eggplant: Eggplant is a key ingredient in Moussaka and adds a delicious, meaty texture.
Olive Oil: Olive oil is used to roast eggplant and is a staple ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine.
Ground Beef: Ground beef is used in the meat sauce and provides a rich and savoury flavour.
Celery and Carrots: These vegetables are used in the meat sauce and add a sweet and earthy flavour.
Onion and Garlic: Onion and garlic are used in the meat sauce and add a savoury and aromatic flavour.
Tomato Paste and Canned Tomatoes: Tomato paste and canned tomatoes are used in the meat sauce and provide a rich and tangy flavour.
Oregano: Oregano is used in the meat sauce and adds a fragrant and earthy flavour.
Sugar: A small amount of sugar is added to the meat sauce to balance the tomatoes’ acidity and add sweetness.
Butter: Butter in the béchamel sauce adds a rich and creamy flavour.
Flour: Flour is used to make the roux for the béchamel sauce and helps to thicken it.
Milk: Milk makes the béchamel sauce and provides a creamy and smooth texture.
Panko Breadcrumbs: Panko breadcrumbs are used to top the Moussaka and add a crunchy texture.
- 1 kg eggplant
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, finely chopped
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 500 g ground beef
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper powder
- 2 cans chopped tomato
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp sugar
- 3 cups water
- olive oil
- 1 piece red chilli (optional)
- 5 tbsp butter
- 5 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 5-6 cups of milk
- ¼ tsp white pepper powder
- a pinch of nutmeg
- 1 cup panko breadcrumb
- To prepare the eggplants: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Cut the eggplant ¼ inch thick lengthwise. Lay the eggplant on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 15- 20 minutes or until lightly browned and softened. Remove and set aside to cool slightly.
- For the meat sauce, in a medium-sized pot, sauté the celery, carrots, and onions with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil until translucent. Add the garlic and chilli and sauté until fragrant. Add the ground beef and season with salt and black pepper powder. Once the meat has browned, add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, sugar and water; mix and bring the mixture to a boil on high heat, then cover the pot and leave to simmer on low heat for about 30 to 40 minutes until the sauce thickens.
- To make the béchamel sauce, melt the butter in a separate pot on medium–low heat. Mix the flour with the melted butter to make the roux. Continue mixing the roux until it has turned slightly golden brown. It is essential to brown the roux to remove the floury flavour from yourbéchamel sauce. Add the milk and continue mixing to avoid clumps and anything from sticking to the base. If the sauce is too thick, add more milk—season with salt, white pepper powder and nutmeg. Remove from heat and keep aside.
- To assemble, Place half the eggplant in the bottom of a baking dish. Then top with all the meat filling. Top with remaining eggplant, then pour over the Béchamel Sauce and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
- Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.