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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lamb and Aubergine Moussaka


During a night out with a family friend & her family, my husband suggested Continental Cuisine so we decided to have our dinner in Comics, a new Restaurant in South Kolkata, known for authentic Continental & Italian Cuisine.
My husband just returned from an official trip to Austria, said he had a couple of traditional dishes and that we should try Moussaka. We had Moussaka and Goulash with buttered Rice.

Returning home, decided to search the net on Moussaka and came to know that it is a traditional Eggplant (Aubergine) based dish in the Balkans and the Middle East, but most closely associated with Greece and Turkey.

The Greek version, which is the best-known outside the region, traditionally consists of layers of ground (minced) lamb or red meat, sliced eggplant and tomato, topped with white sauce and baked.
The Turkish Mousakka, unlike the Greek version, is not layered but is prepared with sautéed and fried eggplants, green peppers, tomatoes, onions and minced meat.

In the standard (3-layer) Greek Recipe: the bottom layer consists of eggplant slices sautéed in olive oil; the middle layer is ground lamb precooked with onion, garlic, chopped tomatoes, herbs (bay leaf, oregano, thyme and basil) and spices (cinnamon, allspice and black pepper) and the top layer is a cheese-flavored sauce.
The three layers are arranged on in a lightly greased oven proof dish and baked until the top layer turns golden brown. No further baking is required as the bottom two layers gets half cooked beforehand. Grated cheese or bread crumbs are often sprinkled on top.

Here’s the recipe for Lamb and Aubergine Moussaka:
Ingedrients
  • 2 (900 gms / 2 lb) aubergines (brinjals), medium sized, thinly sliced
  • 350 gms (12 oz) lean lamb (mutton), minced
  • 2 onions, skinned, finely chopped
  • 45 ml (3 tbsp) tomato puree
  • 225 gms (8 oz) tomatoes, sliced
  • 150 ml dry white / red wine
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) dried oregano
  • 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) dried basil
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) plain flour
  • ½ cup (75 gms / 3 oz) breadcrumbs
  • 25 gms (1 oz) cheddar cheese, grated
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) olive oil / white oil
  • salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)

Sauce:

  • 15 gms (1/2 oz) butter
  • 300 ml milk
  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) plain flour
  • 50 gms (2 oz) cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 egg yolk

Directions:

  1. Sprinkle the aubergines liberally with salt (to remove bitterness and absorb some of the natural liquids) and leave in a colander (strainer with holes) to drain for 30 mins.
  2. Rinse the aubergines, squeeze the excess water and pat dry.
  3. Heat oil in a frying pan and fry the aubergines until brown. Remove from fire, drain excess oil and set aside.
  4. Heat oil in a saucepan and saute the minced meat till light brown.
  5. Add the onion & tomato slices, tomato puree, herbs, flour, salt and pepper and mix well.
  6. Bring to boil, cover and simmer for 30 mins.

Sauce:

  1. Prepare the sauce by melting the butter in a pan by stirring continuously, add flour and cook in low flame for 1 min.
  2. Remove the pan from fire and slowly add milk with continuous stirring so that no lumps are formed.
  3. Return to the heat, bring to boil and continue cooking until the sauce thickens.
  4. Remove from the heat, stir in cheese and the egg yolk.

Baking:

  1. Lightly grease a shallow ovenproof dish and sprinkle a little bread crumb and make a layer of aubergines and minced lamb mixture.
  2. Put a layer of the sauce and repeat the process with another layer of aubergines and meat.
  3. Put the remaining sauce over the moussaka with bread crumbs and half of the grated cheese.
  4. Bake in the oven at 180 degree Centigrade (350 degree Fahrenheit) for 30 mins. Sprinkle remaining cheese and continue to bake for 15-20 more mins until golden brown.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little and serve with bread slices.

1 comments:

Tiyash Bandyopadhyay said...

Thanks for the recipe. Sounds great.

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