Melt-In-Your-Mouth Moussaka

2 months ago



If you ask anyone to name a Greek dish, the iconic moussaka will surely be one of the most popular answers. This baked casserole is made of ground lamb stew and layers of thick slices of aubergine, all topped with a rich Parmesan béchamel sauce. But did you know that moussaka doesn’t have Greek origins?

It is believed that moussaka was invented after the Arabs brought eggplants to Greece. Although the exact origin of the dish isn’t certain, a 13th century Arabic cookbook titled A Baghdad Cookery has a recipe that’s similar to how moussaka is made. The ancient recipe, called maghmuma or muqatta’a, consists of layers of minced meat, onions, and eggplants topped with seasonings and ground spices.

Isn’t it also peculiar that this dish, with its Middle Eastern origins, is cooked with béchamel, a popular French sauce? This version of the moussaka only became widely known when Greek chef Nicholas Tselementes published his cookbook called Cooking and Patisserie Guide in 1920. Here, he applied French cooking techniques to Greek cuisine explaining the addition of the béchamel sauce to the already flavorful dish.

Moussaka is similar to Greek culture itself in that it has layers of European and Eastern influences. When combined, it becomes its own unique character and flair.

Words and Art Direction by Yllaine Sabenecio

Photographed by Krizia Cruz

Food Preparation by Nina Daza-Puyat

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