In today's entry, I would like to 'showcase' my latest baking project, which is, moussaka. Moussaka is a savory, casserole Greek dish. I found the recipe from from Min, bakingproject.com. You can find it here.
I reproduce the recipe here :
2 egg plants (the long type)
600 gm of potatoes
1 big onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
600 gm minced beef
400gm stewed tomato (in can) / fresh tomatoes
2 tablespoon of tomato puree
1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
Italian herbs (in bottle) /or mixture of thyme and marjoram (I don't have these, so I use black pepper only)
Sugar, salt, white pepper to taste
600 ml full cream milk
60 gm butter
50 gm all purpose flour
salt and pepper
150 gm cheese – mixture of cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan or just use the cheese blend for Pizza.
First prepare the eggplant and potatoes. Slice the eggplant to 1 cm thickness. Peel the potatoes and and sliced them too (scalloped). Fry both veggies in hot oil just till they are halfway done (you could also steam to reduce the oil content). Set aside.To make the beef layer, sautéed the onion and garlic for 2 minutes. Add the minced beef and fry till they are no more reddish in colour. Then add the stewed tomatoes with all the juices and tomato puree. Continue cooking till the beef is cooked. Add some water if the sauce is too thick. Lastly, add the oyster sauce, Italian herbs, sugar, salt and pepper. Try to balance the taste to ensure it is not too sour.
The next step is making the white sauce or roux. Heat the milk till it is warm (not boiling). Melt the butter and and add the flour gradually. Stir and let the flour cook for about 2 minutes. Then slowly add the milk. Keep stirring till you get a thick sauce, consistency similar to whipping cream. Season with salt and pepper.
To assemble the dish, first oil a casserole. Then pour a bit of the minced beef at the bottom. Followed by the potatoes and egg plant.. repeat the layers. Lastly, pour the white sauce on top, and sprinkle the cheese all over. Bake at 180C for about 45 minutes. You can increase the top temperature slightly to 200C for the last 10 minutes to ensure the cheese is all golden and nice.
Although it took quite a bit of preparation for this dish, I think it was worth my time and and effort because my family loved it! (Though I have to admit, the potatoes were quite hard. I need to improve it if I plan to bake it again next time :) )
So, here's the results:
View from top.
Another view of the moussaka.
I brought it to my MIL's on the usual weekly visit and glad that the dish was devoured!
Thanks Min for introducing the dish to me!