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Good to share: Flavorful vegetarian moussaka all types of eaters can enjoy

Good to share: Flavorful vegetarian moussaka all types of eaters can enjoy

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  • In true Greek fashion, this dish is best served as a treat to your guests

Moussaka is a Greek casserole made with eggplants and potatoes. Its current iteration was actually an updated one from the early 20th century. According to Greek food expert and author Aglaia Kremezi, the moussaka as we now know it is from what the Greeks now consider as the cooking bible, written by influential chef and cookbook author, Nicholas Tselementes.

Many also liken the Greek moussaka to the Italian lasagna, in that both have layers of tomato meat sauce and are baked, but the two are still quite distinct dishes. Kremezi writes for The Atlantic: “For today’s Greeks the real moussaka, deliciously flavored with ground lamb, is not an everyday dish. It is baked in urban homes as a treat for guests and family on special festive days. It has a lush topping of bechamel sauce or ‘cream,’ as it is often called.”

Still, countless variations continue to be made. Kremezi’s family’s version, she shares, also includes fried peppers and uses yogurt instead of milk for a more tangy bechamel.

This version of the moussaka, meanwhile, swaps minced meat for lentils and almond milk for regular milk for a more (lacto-ovo) vegetarian-friendly dish.

Lacto-ovo vegetarian moussaka

Ingredients

For the veggie layers:

2 to 3 pcs eggplant, rondelle cut

3 to 5 medium-sized potatoes, 1/2 thick rondelle cut

Salt

¼ cup vegetable oil

For the lentil tomato sauce:

1  ½ cup lentils, boiled for 30 mins

2 cups tomato sauce

1 whole garlic, sliced thinly 

3 tbsp diced red onions OR 1 pc diced white onion

2 tbsp fresh rosemary, stems removed and chopped OR 3 tbsp dried rosemary/Italian spice mix 

4 tbsp oil

5 tbsp cumin powder

Salt and pepper to taste 

For the bechamel sauce:

4 tbsp butter 

4 tbsp all-purpose flour

3 egg yolks

2 cups milk (almond milk for this recipe)

1 cup parmesan cheese, split to two

Procedure

1. Using a non-stick pan, add in 2 tbsp oil, shallow-fry eggplants, season with salt and pepper, then set aside on a wide plate lined with paper towels. Repeat the same process for the potatoes

2. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Using a sauce pot, add onions and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Then add cooked lentils, cumin, and dried/fresh herbs and cook for 3 minutes and add tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Gently simmer for about 7 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool

3. In a baking dish, start layering the potatoes at the bottom then add lentil tomato sauce. Add eggplant layer then spoon with tomato lentil sauce. Leave 1/3 of the baking dish for the bechamel sauce.

4. For the bechamel, using a cooking or sauce pot, melt butter then whisk in flour and cook for 1 minute. Slowly pour in the milk while whisking to remove lumps. Cook until smooth and thickened then mix in half cup of parmesan cheese and adjust fire to low heat. Continue to mix for a minute.

5. Place yolks in a separate bowl and lightly beat. Mix in 2 to 4 tbsp of bechamel and whisk to combine. Pour back mixture into the sauce pot with the rest of the bechamel sauce and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Let it simmer until thickened for about 3 to 5 minutes more

6. Spoon over bechamel sauce and add more parmesan cheese on top. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes. (You can underbake for 15 minutes if you are serving this dish the next day)

Nolisoli.ph © 2020. Hinge Inquirer Publications, Inc.

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