“Every word in world languages has a Greek origin,” said the father of the main character of the film “My Great Greek Wedding” Costa Portocalos. I bet that about culinary dishes, he thought the same thing. And this is not surprising – because the first cookbook appeared thanks to the Greek Archestriatos already in 330 BC. But we will not look for Greek roots where they do not exist, but we turn to traditional dishes. By the way, Greeks prefer to eat their traditional dishes in the evening, when the whole family gathers at a big table. It is not very useful for digestion, but it stimulates communication.Among gastronomic variety there is a dish in Greece, which due to its taste qualities is known outside the country.
Ancient Greece has made a huge contribution to modern civilization. Words of Greek origin, Olympic games, traditions of classical theater and wise sayings of ancient philosophers Greece is present in modern life. However, the culinary associations of the homeland of the male sirtaki dance are less diverse. Most likely, on the move you will remember about the Greek salad (which is not surprising), feta cheese and olive oil. But today we will talk about the moussaka.
Traditional Greek mousaka is a kind of eggplant casserole – layers of eggplant alternate with layers of mutton and tomatoes, then poured in white sauce and baked. In Turkey, the moussaka is not laid out in layers, as in Greece. Instead, vegetables are stewed with chopped meat. In Bulgarian, Serbian and Moldovan mews can add potatoes, zucchini, cabbage and even rice.
Versions of the origin of the word “moussaka” are not much less than the options for preparing this dish. All converge in one thing – the Greek mousaka comes from the Arabic word. But the values are different.
Some argue that the word is translated as “juicy”, which is true of the moussaka – thanks to the ingredients and special techniques the dish turns out really juicy. According to another version, the Arabic word is translated as “chilled”, which is also justified, since you can eat moussaka both hot and cold.
In the Arabic cookbook of the 13th century, you can meet two interesting dishes – the first (maguma) is very similar to the moussaka by its composition, and the second (musakhan) reminds it of its name, but has nothing to do with the ingredients. Perhaps, it is because of these inconsistencies that the homeland of moussaka is Greece.
If you want to taste mushrooms, you will need eggplant. By the way, they were brought to the European Mediterranean by the same Arabs – they called them al-badhinjan. Prior to this, “blue” in the wild was peacefully growing in East India, and fifteen thousand years ago it was cultivated in China.
Mature clean eggplants must be cut along the length of the plate into the little finger. To eggplant is not bitter, some recommend the already sliced vegetables and salt for 15 minutes. Others argue that bitterness contains aubergine skin, so they are advised to get rid of it. You can do both. When eggplants will give juice, lightly squeeze, dry the plates, roll them in flour and fry on both sides in olive oil. You can remove excess fat by laying aubergines on paper napkins.
Meat of low-fat mutton, the Greek mistresses do not turn into soulless minced meat, but cut into small-small pieces. But we are not in Greece, so you can use a meat grinder or combine harvester.
In fried onion, add the crushed lamb and fry for about 10 minutes. Then add finely chopped garlic, salt and spices (cloves, coriander and nutmeg). Large ripe tomatoes must be freed from the skin (to do this, scald them with boiling water), finely chopped and added to the meat and vegetable mixture. Stew the mixture until the excess liquid has evaporated. Deep form (ideally ceramic), grease with olive oil and sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Now densely lay out half of the fried eggplant – they must go to each other so that there are no gaps. Above the eggplant can be sprinkled with grated slightly salty sheep cheese. Lay the meat and vegetable mixture on it and again the aubergine layer.
Depending on the portion and size of the form, more layers can be made, but the eggplant should be the final one. If you have a large amount of aubergines in the refrigerator, you can make an additional vegetable layer. To do this, cut the eggplants along into two parts, nib them with a fork, sprinkle with vegetable oil and put in the oven for 15 minutes. From the prepared eggplant spoon remove the pulp and mix with finely chopped onions, garlic and greens. Sprinkle the top of the eggplant with grated cheese.
Some culinary sources recommend that as a next step, pour the moussaka with Béchamel sauce. This thick creamy sauce comes from France, its creation is attributed to Louis de Béchamel. Therefore, before you send the moussaka to the oven, you can simply pour the beaten eggs with grated sheep cheese and, as a result, enjoy a fragrant ruddy crust. Greek cuisine is simple and uncomplicated, but if your soul yearns for delights, prepare a real sauce.
It is said that a certain Nicos Celementes, learning the cook’s art in France, began using Béchamel sauce when preparing a dish of eggplant. It is Béchamel that gives a special French charm to the Greek moussaka.
Preheat the butter in the saucepan, add flour to it and, without stopping stirring, cook on low heat for 5 minutes. Gradually pour in warm milk and, without stopping stirring, cook another 12 minutes. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg and hard cheese. Sauce spread over the entire surface of the moussaka and put in a preheated oven for 25-50 minutes. The cooking time depends on the number of layers and the volume of the mold.
1 tsp ground coriander
nutmeg on the tip of the knife
For Béchamel sauce you will need:
50 g of butter
50 g of flour
0.5 l of milk
0.5 cup grated hard cheese
Unfortunately, in the institutions of Novosibirsk the Greek theme is not particularly popular. In restaurants with Mediterranean cuisine, the moussaka was not found. She was not even in the Calypso restaurant, which still specializes in Greek cuisine. Therefore, ruddy crust and tender stuffing will have to be achieved independently. Bon Appetit!