This was love at first sight – and the principle cause I stored ordering from the native Lebanese. Levantine-style moussaka has little in frequent with the Greek model, however is simply as scrumptious. Discover ways to make this straightforward however luxurious appetizer dish at house!
Earlier than I moved to Istanbul, I lived a totally completely different life in London. Appropriate, pipes at work each morning and work late (truly the latter by no means adjustments).
Though I attempted to eat as a lot home made and pure meals as attainable, taking it out a number of occasions every week was inevitable. Particularly in my final 12 months, once I lived alone whereas my companion was in Istanbul to repair the home.
He was a Lebanese on the common listing. Clearly.
However whereas I used to be clearly enthusiastic about their hummus shawarma and stuffed vine leaves, there was just one dish i at all times ordered. Musakaat bell time. Lebanese moussaka.
What’s the distinction between several types of moussaka?
I had no concept why there was moussaka within the identify of the dish. As for me, it did not appear to be moussaka in any respect.
In fact, there was eggplant and definitely there was tomato sauce. However there the similarities ended.
After I arrived in Istanbul, it was one of many first dishes I wished to recreate and discover. It seems that the Greek selection is just not the one moussaka within the metropolis. Not even the unique!
Moussaka is a household of comparable dishes, in style within the Center East, the Japanese Mediterranean and the Balkans. Most variations are primarily based on eggplant, some on potatoes. Tomato sauce is usually included, in addition to meat (although not at all times).
The phrase moussaka itself comes from the Arabic musaqqa’a, which suggests a possible Levantine origin.
Within the birthplace of agriculture and plenty of culinary delights, moussaka is an appetizer dish of boiled eggplant, tomato sauce and sometimes chickpeas. It may be eaten heat, however extra typically loved at room temperature together with a number of different small dishes. It’s also recognized by varied names, resembling maghmour or mousaka batinjan.
Somewhat to the north, in neighboring Turkey, chickpeas are exchanged for lamb and a easy stew is made. That is considered one of my dishes for a straightforward however extremely scrumptious dinner in the course of the week. Within the Balkans, it is a comparable however baked dish, the place potatoes normally change eggplant, whereas meat is normally pork or beef.
And the Greek? That is essentially the most faraway from the unique moussaka of all of them. It was created within the Twenties by a Greek chef with French coaching and as such is a French-Greek fusion dish. Tasty tasty if I could add.
Nonetheless, the significance of tomato sauce means that the dish is not truly that previous elsewhere. Tomatoes had been launched to the Center East solely within the first half of the nineteenth century, by a British consul with a penchant for gardening.
Methods to make Lebanese moussaka
Again then, in some ways, Lebanese moussaka is a vegetarian eggplant stew. Nonetheless, this description is way from truthful.
Silky and wealthy eggplant, contemporary and scrumptious tomato sauce and a beautiful chew of chickpeas … when you begin it is onerous to cease!
In its authentic kind, eggplant (eggplant, if you’re American) can be fried in massive portions of scrumptious native olive oil. That is what makes aubergines so silky clean and wealthy and is a typical methodology in Center Japanese eggplant recipes. In case your olive oil is sweet, this aroma is tough to beat.
At this time, nevertheless, many select to roast eggplant as a substitute. It is simpler and fewer messy. For many who are conscious of energy (even good olives), it additionally offers you full management over how a lot oil the aubergines take in. I would not go as far as to say that they’re equally scrumptious, however they’re shut sufficient for me to normally take this route.
Nonetheless, this doesn’t imply that I’m scarce for olive oil! Whether or not you fry or bake, copious quantities of benign olive oil are essential to getting the wealthy taste and silky texture of this vegan Lebanese recipe. I exploit tender additional virgin olive oil from the Turkish area of Ayvalik.
What distinguishes Lebanese moussaka from such dishes as Turkish eggplant salad is using spices. Light however warming spices, typically related to the Center East.
I discover allspice and cinnamon to be one of the best mixture right here, though you possibly can select a Lebanese mix of seven spices if you happen to’re so inclined.
Within the West, tinned chickpeas are ubiquitous. Conventional cooks within the Center East is not going to attain them. Though some manufacturers are respectable, making your individual dried chickpeas is just not tough, and after doing it a number of occasions, you get precisely the feel you want for the dish readily available.
I want fairly tender and huge chickpeas for this. However I depart it to you, whether or not you cook dinner it your self or use cans or jars.
Methods to serve Lebanese moussaka
Whereas some name the dish an eggplant stew, it’s normally served as a part of an appetizer. That’s, as considered one of a number of small dishes resembling baba ganush, hummus and fatush.
On this case, serve it at room temperature with a beneficiant portion of crispy contemporary bread or tender bread.
Nonetheless, it additionally works nice the way in which you normally take pleasure in stew: It’s served heat, with rice and salad.
Lebanese moussaka is nice for shifting ahead. Retailer for a number of days within the fridge and will be served heat or at room temperature.
The recipe offers a big portion, sufficient for dinner as a important course for 4 or an appetizer for 8-12 individuals.
1 kg eggplant (eggplant)
130 ml olive oil (I exploit just a little additional virgin)
1 onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp floor oil
1 tsp floor cinnamon
800 g tomatoes, peeled and sliced (contemporary or canned)
2 tsp L. Sugar
1 Tsbp lemon juice
500 g cooked chickpeas (from 200 g dried chickpeas or 2×400 g molds)
finely chopped flat parsley leaves, for garnish
salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to a 230 C (445 F) fan. Cowl two baking sheets with baking parchment.
- Peel strips of eggplant pores and skin in order that it seems to be like a zebra, then minimize into cubes 1 ½ cm (½ in). Combine with 100 ml of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Switch to each baking sheets and bake till nearly fully (however not fully) tender, about Quarter-hour. I place the 2 baking sheets within the center and excessive within the oven. Comply with them and swap locations if one cooks sooner than the opposite (ovens are very completely different on this). Put aside.
- Warmth a thick-bottomed saucepan over medium / low warmth. Fry the onion within the remaining 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of olive oil till tender however not coloured, stirring recurrently. This normally takes 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic, allspice, cinnamon and a pinch of salt and pepper. Fry for 30 seconds, stirring continually, then add the tomatoes, sugar and 100 ml of water. Stir effectively, carry to a boil and simmer, lined, for 10-Quarter-hour to permit the flavors to settle.
- Add lemon juice, roasted eggplant and boiled chickpeas. Proceed to cook dinner, lined, till the eggplant is totally tender, one other 10-20 minutes. Style for spice, add extra salt, pepper, sugar or lemon juice to style.
- Serve heat or at room temperature, garnished with a beneficiant sprinkle of finely chopped parsley.
Supply : vidarbergum.com