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moussaka

μουσακάς

One of the most famous dishes of Greece and available in most tavernas, although a very similar dish is also made throughout the Balkans and Middle East—the name arrived with the Ottoman Turks, who took it from the Arabic musaqqa‘a.

The Greek version, as codified by French-trained Greek chef Nikólaos Tselementés from Sifnos in the 1920s, features of beef mince (or lamb) with onions, tomatoes and cinnamon, layered with sliced sautéed or fried aubergines, and topped with béchamel and grated cheese, then baked. There are endless variations, vegetarian moussaka, or moussaka with slices of potatoes or courgettes.

Cheap tavernas tend to make a very thick layer of béchamel with very little meat and aubergines.

Baked dishes

Text © Dana Facaros

Image by Peter Häger, public domain art