It is widely believed that the Arabs introduced moussaka to the world when they introduced the eggplant. Greek moussaka Arab origins may be related to the Levantine musakhkhan. It seems even the word moussaka probably derived from this Arab word. One food historian claims a 13th-century Arabic cookbook known as the Baghdad Cookery Book details a recipe which could very well be the ancestor of moussaka. Today, moussaka is a common dish in Lebanon and the Arab world, a version that consists of eggplants, olive oil, garlic, onions and tomatoes.
Today there so many variations of the Moussaka dish, but they always contain the key ingredients eggplants and mince
Here is one of my favorite moussaka recipes with a FoodiewhippedSA twist:
- 1 large zucchini;
- 1 large red onion chopped;
- 1 medium aubergine sliced;
- 1 large potato sliced;
- 250 g of soya mince (normal mince can be used);
- 3 large tomatoes pureed;
- 1½ tsp garam masala;
- 1½ tsp ground coriander;
- 2 tsp red chili powder;
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- Knob of ginger crushed;
- 1 tsp turmeric powder;
- 1 stick cinnamon;
- 2 cardamom pods;
- 2 cloves;
- Salt and pepper to taste;
- 2 tsp chickpea flour; and
- Soak the soya mince for 15 min (if using the dry one);
- Heat oil in a pot, add the cinnamon stick, clove and cardamom pods, allow the spices to come to a boil;
- Add the onion and brown; once brown add the soya mince, add 1 teaspoon of the ground coriander, garam masala and chili powder (we masala can be used), ginger and garlic. Add half teaspoon of turmeric powder, salt pepper to taste. Add tomatoes and allow to cook for 20 min or until done.
- Mix chickpea flour with remaining turmeric, garam masala and ground coriander, add some salt and pepper to taste, you can also add a dash of chili powder. Mix with some warm water until it forms a paste;
- Add your sliced aubergines to the mix and coat each slice;
- Lightly oil a griddle pan and place the aubergine slices and cook both sides until the char line appear; and
- Drain on a paper towel.
- Add the sliced potatoes to the to the griddle pan and cook till the char lines appear, add salt and pepper to taste.
- Cut the marrows into fairly thick slices and scoop out the seeds from the middle;
- Pre- boil the marrows for about 10 min or until slightly soft; and
- Drain and then drizzle some oil and char grill the marrows.
- Once done place in an oven proof dish;
- Start by layering with potatoes then aubergine and then top with the soya mince;
- Place in an oven at 180°C for about 20 min;
- Just before the moussaka is done, remove from oven and place some cheese on the top; and
- Place back in the oven and allow cheese to melt.
Serve piping hot with a side salad and a crisp glass of white wine
Based in Johannesburg, Brian Derenberger is a Senior Editor at Healthy Organic Lifestyle.