Welcome to my kitchen, where I’ll be sharing with you a recipe that has been passed down in my family for generations – the Egyptian Moussaka. This savory and hearty dish is a staple in Egyptian cuisine and it’s no surprise why – it’s simply delicious!
Made with layers of fried eggplants and seasoned ground beef, smothered in a rich tomato sauce, this dish is sure to satisfy your craving for comfort food. What makes this dish unique is the béchamel sauce layer on top, giving it an extra creamy, cheesy flavor that just melts in your mouth.
As an Israeli chef, I’ve had the pleasure of incorporating some of the flavors from both Middle Eastern cultures into my cooking. And let me tell you, this Egyptian moussaka recipe is one of my all-time favorites.
So whether you’re a meat lover or a vegan, this recipe can easily be adapted. Trust me, once you try this moussaka traditionally made, it’ll become a regular at your dinner table.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
If you’re a fan of hearty, flavorful dishes, then you’re going to love this Egyptian Moussaka recipe. The rich combination of stewed eggplant and ground meat, all baked together with béchamel sauce, makes this dish a truly irresistible addition to any dinner table.
One of the best things about this recipe is its versatility. It can be made with beef or substituted with your favorite ground meat. For a vegan-friendly option, swap the meat for chickpeas or lentils. And if you’re looking to switch things up, try incorporating bell pepper or sultanas for an extra burst of sweet and savory flavors.
The layers of eggplant and tomato sauce in this dish are sure to satisfy even the most discerning foodie. There’s just something so satisfying about the tender texture of eggplants contrasting with zesty tomato sauce.Each bite is packed full of bold and complex flavors that will leave you craving another plate.
This recipe is perfect for feeding a crowd or meal prepping for easy weeknight dinners. Pair it with a simple salad and some crusty bread for a complete meal that will please even the pickiest eaters at your dinner table.
Trust me when I say that once you’ve made Moussaka the Egyptian way, you’ll never want to go back! So gather up your ingredients and get ready to impress your family and friends with this mouth-watering dish that’s sure to become a new family favorite.
Before preparing Egyptian Moussaka, make sure to get all the fresh ingredients from the store. Here are the items you will need to make this classic dish:
- 2 large Eggplants (about 1 lb)
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 large bell pepper, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 large (14 oz) can chopped tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 lb ground beef (or vegan substitute)
- 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 4 cups milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Vegetable oil (for frying)
- Sultanas (optional)
- Pine nuts (optional)
Make sure to have all these ingredients on hand before proceeding to prepare the dish.
The Recipe How-To
Now that we have all our ingredients ready let’s get started with making the Egyptian Moussaka. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to make this delicious dish.
Step 1: Preheat the oven
Preheat your oven to 180°C.
Step 2: Prepare the eggplants
Start by slicing two medium eggplants into rounds. Spread them out on a paper towel-lined sheet and sprinkle them with salt. Allow “sweating” for 30 minutes, then gently pat dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture.
Step 3: Fry the eggplant
Heat up some olive oil in a pan and fry the eggplant rounds until they’re golden brown. Set them aside on some paper towels to absorb any excess oil.
Step 4: Cook the meat
In a separate pan, cook 1 pound of ground beef or minced meat until it’s fully cooked through. Once done, add chopped onion, bell pepper and continue cooking for another five minutes or until soft.
Step 5: Add tomato paste and sauce
When onions are soft, reduce the heat and add 1 tsp of tomato paste along with one large can of chopped tomatoes to your cooked meat mixture. Add water if necessary and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
Step 6: Make sauce
In another pan, melt butter or margarine and whisk in flour. Gradually add two cups of milk, whisking continuously until thickened. Season with salt and pepper.
Step 7: Assemble moussaka
Grease an oven safe dish lightly with olive oil. Start by layering fried eggplants on the bottom then spread some of the cooked meat mixture over them. Layer more eggplants over the meat then spread more cooked meat mixture over it. Repeat until there is no more meat left then top it off with one last layer of fried eggplants.
Step 8: Add béchamel sauce
Pour your béchamel sauce generously over the top layer of fried eggplants and spread it around using a spatula.
Step 9: Bake
Put your dish in preheated oven uncovered and bake for about half an hour or until golden brown.
That’s it! With these simple steps, you can easily create a delicious Egyptian Moussaka that will wow family and friends alike!
Substitutions and Variations
“Variety is the spice of life,” and that couldn’t be truer when it comes to cooking. Luckily, there are many ways you can switch up this Egyptian Moussaka recipe to suit your tastes and preferences.
For a vegan version of this dish, skip the ground meat and béchamel sauce, and layer the eggplants with sliced bell peppers and tomato sauce for a lighter, healthier option. You can also sprinkle some nutritional yeast on top for extra flavor.
If you prefer a sweeter dish, consider adding some sliced Sultana raisins on top of each layer of eggplant or incorporating a tablespoon of sugar to the tomato sauce or béchamel sauce.
For a spicier Moussaka, add one chopped jalapeño pepper or chili pepper to the tomato sauce. Another variation includes topping each layer with shredded mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese or Parmesan cheese.
If you’re looking to cut back on calories or want to try something different with the recipe, consider baking or grilling the eggplant slices instead of frying them. Also, feel free to use extra-virgin olive oil instead of butter or margarine.
By experimenting with different ingredients and techniques, you can make this delicious Egyptian Moussaka recipe work for you and your family. Try out different combinations until you find your perfect match!
Serving and Pairing
Once your Egyptian Moussaka is ready, you can serve it hot and sizzling as a main dish for dinner. This savory dish is a perfect comfort food that can warm your heart and soul with its rich and hearty flavors.
When it comes to pairing, you can serve the Egyptian Moussaka with a variety of side dishes that complement its flavors perfectly. You can serve it with a crisp salad made with fresh vegetables, cheese, or sultanas to add some sweetness to the meal. Alternatively, you can also serve it with basmati rice or roasted potatoes for a more filling serving that complete the meal.
For drinks pairing, you can serve this simple yet delicious and satisfying recipe with a good red wine. A glass of Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot will complement its bold flavors perfectly. If you’re in for some non-alcoholic options, you can go for lemonade or iced tea as they also go well with this family recipe.
Whether you’re hosting a small get-together or just enjoying a cozy night at home, this Egyptian Moussaka recipe is sure to impress your guests and make your taste buds sing.
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
Once you’ve prepared your delicious Egyptian Moussaka, you may be wondering how to store it for later enjoyment. One of the great things about this recipe is that it can easily be made ahead of time and stored for convenience.
To store your Moussaka, allow it to cool to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days, or in the freezer for up to three months.
When reheating, there are a few ways this can be done depending on personal preference. For oven reheating, preheat your oven to 350°F and place the Moussaka in a baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes until heated through. If you prefer microwave reheating, transfer a portion of Moussaka to a microwave-safe dish and heat on medium heat in 1-minute intervals until heated through.
It’s important to note that some adjustments may need to be made depending on any substitutions or variations made in the recipe. However, overall the make-ahead, storing and reheating process is quick and easy, allowing you to enjoy this flavorful dish at any time with ease!
Tips for Perfect Results
When making an Egyptian Moussaka, the little things can make a big difference in the end result. Here are some tips to ensure that you’ll achieve perfection with each and every bite:
Firstly, it’s important to note that eggplants can be quite bitter, so I like to salt them for half an hour before cooking to remove any unpleasant taste. After they have been salted, make sure to rinse them thoroughly and pat dry with a paper towel.
Secondly, when you’re frying the eggplant slices, ensure that they are golden brown on both sides before removing them from the pan. This will not only add a nice texture and color to the dish but also minimize any sogginess.
For this recipe, tomatoes play a crucial role in adding depth of flavor. Instead of using plain canned tomatoes, try using canned chopped tomatoes or whole peeled tomatoes for a fresher taste.
In addition, make your own tomato sauce by adding tomato paste and a little bit of water. This will give your moussaka that extra boost of sweetness without being too overpowering.
To elevate the flavor of your meat sauce, soak some sultanas in warm water for ten minutes before adding them into the mixture. The sweetness of the sultanas goes well with the savory flavors of ground beef and onions.
Lastly, do not be afraid to season liberally. Adding spices like cinnamon and cumin will further enhance the depth of flavors in your moussaka.
By following these tips and tricks, you can make sure all components come together seamlessly forming an excellent moussalaka which is traditionally made and enjoyed by an Egyptian family recipe.
Now that you’ve learned how to prepare a delicious Egyptian moussaka, you might have some questions on your mind. These frequently asked questions aim to address some of the common inquiries on this dish that you might need clarification on. Let’s dive into these FAQs and get you started in making your Egyptian moussaka recipe.
Is moussaka Greek or Egyptian?
Moussaka is a classic dish that is popular in various countries such as Greece, Egypt, Turkey, and the Levant and Balkans, which features eggplant as its star ingredient along with meat and occasionally béchamel sauce.
What is moussaka traditionally made from?
Moussaka is a dish popular in various parts of the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine that features one of its primary components as eggplant. Depending on the variation, other elements like roasted potatoes, ground meat, tomatoes, and spices can be added to the recipe. The classic version comprises layers of potatoes, eggplant, and ground meat.
What meat is moussaka made from?
Moussaka, a popular Greek dish, is a delectable casserole made with eggplants and potatoes that are either baked or pan fried. This dish boasts a flavor-packed sauce made with beef or lamb mince and tomatoes, all topped with a velvety, creamy bechamel sauce. It’s a prime example of a perfect comfort food that’s sure to satisfy any cravings.
What is Mesakaa?
One dish that packs a powerful flavor punch is the Egyptian Mesaka’a. This savory meal consists of fried eggplant slices, seasoned with mild and spicy peppers, and topped with a luscious garlic-tomato sauce, all brought together with a hint of cumin. The combination of sweet, acidic, and spicy flavors is sure to excite your taste buds.
In conclusion, this Egyptian Moussaka recipe is a delicious and wholesome meal that will take your taste buds on a journey to the Mediterranean. Whether you are a meat lover or a vegan, there is a variation of this dish that will suit your preferences. With its rich mix of spices and vegetables, it is the perfect dish for a family gathering or a romantic dinner for two.
So, next time you are in the mood for something different, try this Egyptian Moussaka recipe. It is easy to make and will provide you with hours of culinary enjoyment. From the extra virgin olive oil to the sultanas and eggplants, every ingredient has been carefully chosen to bring out the best flavors in this dish.
With its traditional flavors and modern twists, this recipe has stood the test of time and remains one of my family’s favorites. So go ahead, give it a try! I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I hope it inspires you to create your own version of this amazing dish. Happy cooking!
Egyptian Moussaka Recipe
- 1 kg eggplant, peeled and cut into rings
- 250 g minced meat
- 1 tablespoon butter or 1 tablespoon margarine
- 1 large chopped onion
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- salt and pepper
- oil (for frying)
- sultana (optional)
- Fry the eggplant rings till it has a reddish brown color.
- Strain it very well by a strainer or by putting the fried eggplants on kitchen handkerchiefs.
- In a sauce pan put butter or margarine till it melts, add onions and stir till it has a reddish color then add meat.
- Stir from time to time till meat is cooked.
- Add tomato paste, sugar, salt and pepper, few sultanas and water.
- Boil for 2 minutes till it is a thick sauce.
- In a tin pan put 1 layer of eggplant and a small layer of sauce, then another layer of eggplant and put all the remaining sauce on top and then straighten the surface (eggplants should be only 2 layers).
- Put it in oven at 180 degrees for 15 minutes.
- Serve it with white rice or bread.