Since I’ve been on this bender of cooking at home instead of eating out, I decided to (Pinterest) research on how to make Mousaka. Honestly, it’s much easier than I thought it was. Think of Mousaka as your average Beef Lasagne. The only difference is you’re substituting lasagne sheets for eggplants. And instead of multiple layers a lasagne has, you have a top and bottom layer of eggplants. I also noticed that the roux for Mousaka uses an egg that my Beef Lasagne recipe doesn’t call for.
There are 3 main parts to this Mousaka recipe — tomato sauce, eggplants, and roux/cheese sauce. The tomato sauce or Marinara sauce might be the most challenging part. Although I made mine from scratch, you could use a jar of Marinara sauce. However, I would recommend tweaking it with the spices listed below. The sauce for Mousaka is different from your regular Italian marinara.
Ingredients (serves 6)
- 1 large Onion
- 3 cloves Garlic
- 500g Minced Beef
- 3-4 Eggplants
- 4 Tomatoes
- 3 tbsp Tomato Paste
- 1 Egg
- 1 tsp Dried Oregano
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- ½ tsp Allspice
- Olive Oil
Make your own tomato meat sauce
- Boil your tomatoes with skins on till its soft. The skin of the tomatoes could easily be peeled off after it’s boiled.
- Drain the water of the tomatoes. Peel off the skin of the tomatoes and dice the tomatoes into small cubes. You could skip this step if you’re using canned tomatoes. Alternatively, you could use canned marinara sauce instead of using tomatoes and tomato paste.
- In a pot, drizzle in olive oil and saute the onion until it’s translucent before adding the garlic and then, the minced beef.
- Add the diced tomatoes and tomato paste into the pot. You can add in some water if you’re sauce is too thick.
- Stir in the oregano, cinnamon, and allspice.
- Add in salt and pepper to taste and allow your sauce to simmer.
Prepare your eggplants
- Slice the eggplants 1cm thick.
- Sprinkle salt on the eggplants and allow it to sit for 30 minutes. This will reduce the bitterness of the eggplants.
- After 30 minutes, you’ll see some juices at the bottom of the bowl. Drain your eggplants and use a paper towel to tap the eggplants dry.
- Oil your pan and grill your eggplants on each side till it turns a light brown. Set them aside when you’re done.
Time to make the bechamel sauce
- Preheat your oven to 200°C before making your bechamel sauce.
- Melt your butter completely and then add the flour.
- Stir milk into the pot till the flour-butter mixture dissolves.
- Mix in the cheese and stir thoroughly.
- In a bowl, crack your egg and add in a tablespoon of your sauce. Stir till combine and add this mixture back into the pot.
- Mix your bechamel sauce thoroughly and add in a dash of salt and pepper.
Assemble your moussaka
- Now, you’re ready to assemble your moussaka!
- Spread a thin layer of your tomato meat sauce at the base of your baking dish.
- Next, lay down a layer of eggplants to cover the base. ( I used slightly thicker pieces as the base.)
- Pour the rest of your tomato meat sauce.
- Use the rest of your eggplants to form the next layer of your moussaka.
- Top it off with the bechamel sauce.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 175°C.
- Cover the top with aluminum foil and pop your moussaka into the oven.
- After 20 minutes, take the aluminum foil off and allow it to bake till the top turns a crisp brown.