Secrets of cooking traditional musaka
If you are a real gourmet, then you definitely love to experiment in the kitchen and try dishes from different cuisines of the world. And in this case, you just love moussaka. Learn how to cook it to enjoy and surprise guests.
What is this dish?
What is moussaka? This is quite a mysterious dish, common in the Middle East and the Balkans. And its mysteriousness lies in the fact that, firstly, there are many variations, sometimes even quite drastically different.
Secondly, the history of the dish is not known to anyone, no one will say for sure how and when exactly it appeared. But its name can be literally translated from Arabic as “chilled,” although the recipe does not always suggest cooling, sometimes hot feed is welcome.
The Greek moussaka is considered to be the most common, and therefore many consider it to be their homeland. It is a kind of casserole of three layers.Lower - it's eggplant with butter, medium - meat (often lamb) with tomatoes, and the top - béchamel sauce.
In some Arab countries, moussaka is a cold salad made from eggplants and tomatoes, and this version resembles an Italian caponata. And in the Romanian, Bosnian and Serbian kitchens eggplants can not be used at all, they are often replaced by tomatoes.
In the Moldavian variant, moussaka is a meat dish with vegetables, the share of which is often half or even more. And the main feature is that the products are put in a container at the same time and are stewed together for about an hour, so the vegetables become very soft.
Mutton is commonly used as the main ingredient, but veal is also suitable. A mandatory vegetables are tomatoes, eggplants and onions, and they are sometimes supplemented with potatoes, mushrooms or cabbage. The composition certainly includes spices.
In Bulgaria, moussaka, in general, has a slightly different meaning and is a mixture of potatoes and minced meat, which are mixed with pouring and baked in the oven.
How to cook?
How to make moussaka? Below are a few recipes from different cuisines.
First of all, try cooking traditional mouzaka in Greek.
Ingredients that you will need:
- about 700-800 grams of eggplants;
- about 800 grams of meat (lamb, beef, or equal parts, such as veal and pork);
- three tomatoes;
- one onion;
- cooking oil for frying (preferably olive);
- pepper and salt to taste.
To make béchamel sauce:
- 800 ml of milk;
- 80 grams of flour;
- 80 grams of butter;
- one teaspoon of salt (no slide);
- pepper to taste.
- Eggplants need to be cut into rings or thin layers and fry in a pan, so that they become soft and acquire a golden crust.
- The meat should be either finely chopped with a special knife, or skipped through a meat grinder.
- Peel the onion, cut into half rings.
- Tomatoes lower for a minute in boiling water, make cross-shaped incisions and remove the skin.
- Heat oil in a pan, fry the onion first, then add the mince, then put the tomatoes.
- Now you can proceed to the preparation of the sauce. First, melt butter in a frying pan, add flour to it and heat it, stirring for about a minute.Now gently pour in about a half of the milk in a thin stream, constantly stirring the whole composition with a spatula or spoon. Stir the mixture until smooth, then add the remaining milk and then the sauce on a slow fire for five minutes, then add the pepper and salt and once again mix everything thoroughly.
- Now, in the baking mold (it is desirable to grease its bottom), first lay a layer of eggplants, then mince with tomatoes, and then pour over the sauce.
- Send the dish to the oven for about half an hour. A ruddy light crust should form on the surface.
This is a Balkan-style moussaki recipe with potatoes. Here is what is required for its preparation:
- three potatoes;
- about 400 grams of minced meat;
- three tomatoes;
- one onion;
- two large eggplants;
- three cloves of garlic;
- two bell peppers;
- 300 grams of Serbian cheese or feta cheese;
- 400 ml of yoghurt;
- one carrot;
- vegetable oil;
- Potatoes need to be peeled and boiled, but until half ready. Next, cut it into rings and put in the form, brushing the bottom with vegetable oil.
- Pound cheese with a fork and mix with chopped garlic (you can grind everything together in a blender). Now add yogurt to this mixture.
- Pour the third cheese yogurt sauce.
- Eggplants should be baked on parchment until ready. Put them on the potatoes.
- Next, lay a layer of stuffing, do not forget to salt it. Then put the crushed and pre-peeled onions on top.
- Now wash and rub the carrots, also put it in a baking sheet. Pour another third of the sauce on top.
- Peel the Bulgarian pepper and cut it into slices, brush with butter and bake in the oven (then the skin can be removed), put them in an even layer on the sauce.
- Cut the tomatoes into thin rings, place on the pepper and cover with the rest of the sauce.
- Bake the dish in an oven preheated to 180 degrees for about forty minutes.
If you do not really like the Greek moussaka with eggplants, then cook a more tender Bulgarian.
- 4 potatoes;
- 1 carrot;
- 1 onion;
- 500 grams of stuffing;
- 3 eggs;
- 400 ml of yoghurt;
- spices and salt to taste.
- Peel potatoes and cut into cubes.
- Peel the onion, cut into half rings. A carrot is better to rub.
- In a pan, fry the onions with carrots, add the mince, and five minutes later the potatoes. Fry everything for about 10 minutes, then add a little water and simmer for another ten minutes, at the end put seasonings and salt.
- Put the minced potatoes in a baking dish, lubricating its bottom with butter.
- Bake the pan in the oven for about 15 minutes.
- Mix yogurt with eggs and pour this mixture of moussaka, send to the oven for another five minutes.
How to serve?
Since the moussaka is both a side dish and a meat dish at the same time, it can be served as a full-fledged independent snack.
Some recommendations for experienced and novice hostesses:
- All vegetables should be high-quality and ripe, only then they will turn out juicy and soft.
- Use for cooking meat flesh. But it may well be quite fat, which will make the dish even more juicy and tender.
- Use your favorite spices to add a unique special flavor to the Musaka.
Bon appetit to you and all your household!
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