UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
Egyptian (and other) moussaka
There are endless variation of moussaka: Egyptian, Greek, Turkish, Cypriot and Yougoslavian ( I prefer the last one). There are also variations according to vegetables used, with or without meat. The common principle is layers of vegetables ( aubergines, corrugates, potatoes) alternating with layers of minced meat + tomato sauce + onions, toped with Bechamel sauce and baked in a oven. Grated parmesan or suchlike cheese can also be sprinkled on top. It is generally served hot, but can also be eaten cold. From your description and from what I remember eating in Egypt, you probably had a meat-less moussaka. I do not have a recipe for a meat-less one, but you can leave the meat out.
Here is a detailed recipe from "A Book of Middle Eastern Food" by Claudia Roden, Penguin, 1978. ISBN 0 14 046.159 0
3 aubergines Salt Oil 1-2 onions, finely sliced or chopped 1 1/2 lb. lamb or beef, minced Black pepper 1/2 t. ground allspice or 1 t. ground cinnamon (optional) 1 tomato, skinned and chopped 2-3 T. tomato concentrate 2-3 T. chopped parsley 2 T. butter 2 T. flour 1/2 pint hot milk Pinch of grated nutmeg 1 egg yolk
Peel and slice the aubergines thinly, sprinkle with salt and allow their bitter juices to drain in a colander for at least 1/2 hour. Squeeze, wash in cold water and pat dry. Fry lightly in oil. Remove and drain on absorbent paper.
Fry the onions in 2 T. of oil until pale golden. Add the minced meet and fry until browned. Season with salt and pepper and flawor with allspice or cinnamon (if you like it). Add the chopped tomato, tomato concentrate and parsley. Stir, moisten with a few T of water and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the meat is well cooked and the water absorbed.
Put alternate layers of aubergine slices and meat and onion mixture in a deep backing dish, starting and ending with a layer of aubergines.
Prepare the Bechamel sauce: Melt butter in a saucepan, add flour and stir over low heat for a few minutes until well blended. Add the hot milk gradually, stiring until it boils, taking care not to allow lumps to form. season with salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg. Simmer until the sauce thickens. Beat the egg yolk. Stir in a little of sauce and beat well. Pour back into the pan slowly, stirring constantly. Do not allow the sauce to boil again. Pour the sauce over the minced meet and aubergines and bake in a preheated moderate oven (375 F, Mark 4) for about 45 minutes. Serve hot, straight from the dish.
This from the book.
I myself make it low-fat. I use minced turkey, oil instead of butter and I do not fry the aubergines or courgettes. It is less tasty, but much healthier. If you use water instead of milk it is also kosher.
Vera Rohrlich (CVRVRAA@TECHNION.TECHNION.AC.IL)
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