Moussaka, is a traditional Greek dish made by layering eggplants with a minced meat sauce and then covered with white sauce and baked. This is a vegetarian version of the popular dish, where I have used soya granules(my favorite substitute for minced meat), brinjals and potatoes for the different layers.The result is a very satisfying dish, rich in flavor and packed with nutrients. Though time-consuming, you will find the effort is worthwhile.
Before you start making the dish, get all your ingredients together. Moussaka basically consists of three layers which need prior preparation - fried brinjals, meat sauce and white sauce. The ingredients might seem endless to you, but if you have the prep done in advance (you can even do it a day ahead), assembling the dish goes really quickly.
Also I like to bake or grill the eggplants instead of frying them which helps to cut down on the fat content.
Go ahead and give it a try, I am sure you would love it !!
3 round, big sized eggplants, cut into 1/4 inch slices
3 medium sized potatoes, cut into round slices
For the tomato sauce :
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups soya granules
2 large onions, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup tomato puree
2 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp dried Thyme
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1 tsp mustard sauce
salt and pepper to taste
(For a healthier version, replace the butter with olive oil and the plain flour with whole wheat flour)
100 gms mozzarella cheese, grated
Place the eggplant slices in a colander and salt them liberally.Place the colander in the sink so that excess moisture can be drawn out. They will need to sit for at least 15-20 minutes. The salt also helps to remove some of the bitterness of the eggplant.
Rinse the eggplant slices and dry with paper towels.
Brush the eggplant slices with some oil.
Take a non-stick frying pan and cook the eggplant slices till evenly browned on both the side.
Do the same with the potatoes.
To make the tomato sauce:
Soak granules in warm water for 10 minutes.Squeeze out the water and keep aside.
Fry the onions in the oil until they soften and begin to brown
Add the garlic, sugar, tomato sauce and tomato puree. Allow to simmer for about 7 -8 minutes. Add the thyme, salt and pepper.
Now add the soya granules.
Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes until the sauce thickens.
To make the white sauce:
Melt the butter in the pot.
Add in the flour and cook for a minute till it browns slightly. .
Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly.
Allow to come to the boil and thicken.
Add the mustard,salt and pepper and cook for another minute. Keep aside.
To assemble the dish
Lightly grease a large deep baking dish.
Spoon generously the tomato sauce mixture on top of eggplant layer.
Sprinkle with 1/4 of the grated cheese.
Repeat all the layers again.
Pour the white sauce over the eggplants and be sure to allow sauce to fill the sides and corners of the pan. Smoothen the white sauce on top with a spatula and sprinkle with the grated cheese.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180 C for 45 minutes or until it is nicely browned on top.
Let it stand for 15 - 20 minutes before serving.