Moussakas (pr. mouh-sah-KHAS), is a casserole of layered sautéed slices of potatoes and eggplants (in some places they also add zucchini and tomatoes), with the meat sauce (either pork or veal) in the middle layer and topped with a lush layer of béchamel sauce and myzithra or graviera cheese, baked in the oven.
The vegetables are fried in extra virgin olive oil and left in a colander or on kitchen paper to drain any excess oil. A layer of vegetables is placed in a baking tin, then the meat sauce, with either ground pork or veal, is added in the middle, then another layer of potatoes, zucchini and eggplants and finally it is topped with the bechamel sauce. It is then baked in the oven until golden.
This is the traditional way of making moussakas but if you want a lighter version of moussakas instead of frying the potatoes and eggplants you can brush them with olive oil and bake them in the oven or cook them on a non stick sauteing pan by just slightly brushing them with olive oil.
There is no Greek family which does not make Moussakas on special occasions but it is also the most popular dish among the tourists.
The Cypriot version of moussakas lies in the meat sauce and the spices used in it and of course local Cypriot cheese is used in the bechamel which would be either anari or halloumi. Apart from adding halloumi, I always sprinkle some cinnamon on top. Nothing beats that!! Believe me it not only smells amazing but that touch of cinnamon makes it heavenly.
A quite rich dish but so delicious!!
For the meat sauce:
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Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,