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 in the middle layer, topped with a lush layer of béchamel sauce and myzithra or graviera cheese on top, 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 potatoes is placed in a baking tin, then a layer of eggplants and a layer of zucchini (if added).
Then the meat sauce, which is made with either ground pork or veal or a mixture of both, is added in the middle.
On top another layer of potatoes, zucchini and eggplants is added 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, which is usually ground pork and the spices used in it (salt, pepper and cinnamon) and of course the local Cypriot cheese which is added in the bechamel and on top which is either dried anari (myzithra) or halloumi.
A quite rich dish but so delicious!!
This and many more recipes are included in my cookbook Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste as well as in Volume 1 of my e-cookbook, sold on all Amazon stores.
Moussakas, is the most famous Greek dish which is layered with sautéed slices of potatoes and eggplants (in some places they also add zucchini), with the meat sauce in the middle layer and topped with béchamel sauce and myzithra or graviera cheese.
- 1 kilo tsakonikes (Japanese type or other) eggplants, partly peeled and cut into thin slices (other types of eggplants can also be used)
- 1 kilo potatoes, cut into thin slices
- 500 grams small zucchini, cut into thin slices
- ½ cup olive oil for frying
- Ground cinnamon to sprinkle on top
For the meat sauce:
- 500 grams ground veal
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- Freshly grated black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- 1 cup concentrated tomato juice
- ½ cup water
- 1 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 1.5 litre milk
- 80 grams olive oil
- 80 grams all-purpose flour
- 5 eggs
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup grated graviera cheese
Prepare the meat sauce:
- Heat the olive oil in a pot and sauté the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and mix for a few seconds.
- Add the ground meat and sauté for a few minutes. While mixing, add salt, pepper, cinnamon, allspice, tomato juice and water and cook over moderate heat for about 15 minutes or until the sauce reduces. Remove from the heat and discard bay leaf. Mix in parsley and set aside.
- When the béchamel sauce is ready, you can optionally mix in two tablespoons of the béchamel sauce.
Fry the vegetables:
- Meantime, wash the vegetables and dry them.
- Peel the potatoes and cut them into ½ cm thick slices.
- Heat the olive in a non-stick frying pan and fry the potatoes on both sides, in batches.
- While frying them, cut the zucchini a little bit thinner without peeling them.
- Eggplants must be cut just before frying as they oxidize.
- Remove them on kitchen paper. Continue with the zucchini and fry them on both sides.
- There will be some leftover olive oil so remove it in a metallic bowl and leave just about 1 tbsp olive oil in the frying pan.
- Sauté the eggplants on one side, brush them on top with a little bit more olive oil and sauté them on the other side as well. Continue with the remaining eggplants adding a tablespoon olive oil each time and brushing them before turning them over.
Prepare the Béchamel sauce:
- Heat the milk and set aside.
- Beat the eggs with a fork until combined and set aside.
- In a saucepan heat the olive oil and add the flour and mix thoroughly to make the roux*. Add salt and nutmeg.
- Withdraw the pot from the heat and add the warm milk, stirring constantly.
- Gradually add the beaten eggs, a little at a time slowly, but stirring constantly until it is absorbed.
- Put the pot back on the heat and continue mixing until the sauce thickens.
- Remove from the heat and mix in the grated cheese, reserving some to sprinkle on top.
Assembling the dish:
- Place a layer of half of the vegetables, first the potatoes, then the eggplants and then the zucchini, in a 32 x 23 x 6 cm (12.5 x 9 x 2.5 inches), baking tin and season each layer with salt.
- Mix in a couple of tablespoons béchamel in the meat sauce.
- Add the meat sauce on top of the vegetables, and then layer the remaining vegetables, which again season with salt.
- Add the béchamel sauce on top and spread it to cover the vegetables.
- Sprinkle some of the grated cheese and sprinkle some cinnamon on top.
- Bake in a preheated oven to 180o C /350o F (160οC / 320oF for a convection oven) for about 45 - 50 minutes or until golden on top.
- Set aside for at least half an hour to cool before serving.
- *Roux (pr. Rou) is the method of cooking any kind of fat with flour and
is the base of making sauces and gravies, or thickening soups and stews. The mixture is stirred in the hot oil until the flour is incorporated, and then cooked until the flour starts toasting (changing colour to a darker shade).
- Moussakas is best to let cool before cutting into portions, firstly to allow
it to absorb the juices from the vegetables and secondly for the cream to set.
Nutrition InformationYield 9 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 571Total Fat 36gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 26gCholesterol 114mgSodium 1144mgCarbohydrates 40gFiber 4gSugar 4gProtein 25g
"These values are automatically calculated and offered for guidance only. Their accuracy is not guaranteed."
Traditional Greek Recipes
Do you like Greek food? Discover some more of the traditional Greek food.
Mpiftekia (Greek Beef burgers)
Mpiftekia, pronounced beef-TE-kya, which are Greek homemade burgers, can be shaped round, oblong or even wrapped around a skewer and grilled.
Pastitsio (Greek Pasta Casserole)
Pastitsio is a Greek baked pasta dish with meat sauce between two layers of tubular pasta and topped with bechamel sauce.
Kotopoulo Kokkinisto (Stewed Chicken)
Kotopoulo Kokkinisto is a Greek stewed chicken dish which is cooked in a delicious tomato sauce with all the Greek flavours.
Every Greek family has a Kotopoulo Lemonato recipe. Kotopoulo means chicken and lemonato, which means lemony, is the method the dish is cooked with lemon and usually with oregano.
Kotopoulo me Hilopites (Chicken with Pasta)
Kotopoulo me hilopites means chicken baked with a traditional Greek egg pasta which can be found in long form, similar to tagliatelle or these are cut into little square pieces, like the ones I have used.
Kotopoulo Psito sto fourno (Chicken Roast)
Kotopoulo Psito sto Fourno is Greek roasted chicken cooked with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano and lemon juice.
These Chicken Souvlakia are so tender and juicy due to the marinade which features the fresh-tasting combination of lemon juice, garlic, and olive oil combined with Greek yoghurt that are so prevalent in Greek cuisine.
Moschari Lemonato (Lemony Veal)
Moschari Lemonata (pr. moss-HAH-ree Lae-moh-NAH-toh), is a traditional Greek Veal recipe with lemon juice, which is a perfect Sunday meal.
Moschari Kokkinisto is a Greek stewed recipe with veal. We don't prefer beef in Greece so most of the Greek dishes are made with veal.
Moschari Noua (Pot Roast Veal or Beef)
Moschari Noua takes its name from the Greek word "Moschari", which is veal and "Noix de Veau" which is the top rump, also known as silverside in many other countries.
Noua as we call it in short, is a pot roast beef or veal using the above cut. It can be cooked in a pressure cooker, in a pot or Dutch oven.
Kouneli Stiffado (Rabbit stew) or Moschari Stiffado (Veal or Beef)
Kouneli or Moschari Stiffado (also written stifado), is a Greek stew which is usually made with hare but domestic rabbits are just as good for this dish.
Arni or Katsiki Psito (Roasted Goat or lamb) - Greek recipe
Psito pronounciation "psee-TOH" is roasted meat cooked in the oven. It could be made with lamb or goat and it is the perfect Sunday meal.
Lamb Kleftiko (Ofton)
Lamb kleftiko is a rustic, traditional Greek recipe made with slow cooked lamb, first marinated in garlic, olive oil and lemon juice.
Bogana (Greek Roasted Leg of Lamb with Tomatoes)
Bogana is a traditional holiday dish from Argolida, with Leg of Lamb, roasted with whole baby potatoes and tomatoes. What makes it different and more delicious from other roasted lamb is the addition of ewe's and goat milk butter which gives its wonderful taste.
Htapodi (Octopus) with Makaronaki Kofto
Htapodi (octopus) is one of the most delicious Greek seafood dishes. This dish is cooked in a tomato sauce and then in the sauce we cook the pasta.
Galopoula Gemisti (Cypriot Stuffed Turkey)
Galopoula Gemisti (pr. Ghah-loh-POU-lah Gheh-mee-STEE), is the stuffed turkey we used to make in Cyprus.
Chirino Fricassee (Pork in Avgolemono Sauce)
Greek fricassee refers to a method of cooking meat or vegetables in avgolemono sauce, (which means egg and lemon sauce). Here, pork is cooked with lots of lettuce and aromatic herbs .
Arnaki (Lamb) Fricassee with Artichokes
Arnaki (Lamb) Fricassee is a Greek dish with white sauce made with eggs and lemon juice, called Avgolemono. It can be made with either lamb or goat and the addition of various vegetables varies, depending on the season.
Moschari Kokkinisto me kritharaki (Veal with orzo)
Moschari Kokkinisto me Kritharaki is a Greek dish made with stewed veal and orzo pasta is cooked in the sauce. Although this dish is usually cooked with veal, it can also be made with beef of buffalo meat, lamb, pork, rabbit or chicken.
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Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,
27 Best Ground Veal Recipes - All Nutritious
Friday 24th of February 2023
[…] 9. Moussakas […]
Sunday 31st of August 2008
Hi thanks for visiting and I have added you in my blogroll as well.
Sunday 31st of August 2008
I am putting you on my blogroll. Thanks again.
Sunday 31st of August 2008
Ivy thanks a million for these authentic Greek recipe links you gave me. Will have to come by soon again. Oh! and greetings from Trinidad and Tobago :^)
Tuesday 22nd of January 2008
Courgettes are optional and I think you will love it once you've tried it as all the tourists who come to Greece are crazy about this dish.