This month the MENA Cooking Club‘s country was Egypt. Our lovely host was Amira from Arabian Mama who just so happens to be Egyptian so I knew we would get some great recipes. I went with the main dish option which was moussaka since it’s already a family favorite. Here in Saudi this dish is always made and usually served as a side sometimes with the meat and other times without. Actually a lot of Saudis make Egyptian dishes and they are pretty much as traditional here as they are in their own country.
Some people add Bechamel sauce on the top, but I opted not to, but I do like it. I was just tying to make this dish a lit bit healthier without the added sauce, baking instead of frying and olive oil in place of butter. I also prefer to use fresh tomatoes instead of the canned versions. I think a lot of cooking blogs these days are just filled with recipes that have tons of processed or canned foods and it’s really not healthy. It’s very rare that I buy anything canned and I love that the tomato paste here is not canned like back home. If you do use beef in place of lamb do not forget to drain the fat out of the meat after cooking it.
2 eggplants, cut in 1-inch slices (peel every other section)
1 pound ground lamb
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 white onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
5 tomatoes (2 diced and the remaining sliced)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Place eggplant slices on a baking sheet and brush olive oil all over the tops. Allow to cook for 10 minutes, then flip and cook other side for another 10 minutes.
2. In a saute pan on medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, onions, and garlic. Add lamb and cook until no longer pink. Dice two tomatoes and add into pan. Add tomato paste and 1/4 cup water, mix. Add coriander, salt and pepper to taste, then reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 350F. In a casserole pan, add a scoop of meat sauce making sure the bottom is covered. Add a layer of eggplants, tomatoes and then meat mixture. Continue layering until the top is covered with eggplants and tomato slices.
4. Cover top with foil and place into the oven for 15 minutes, uncover and bake for remaining 10 minutes. Serve!
Yields: 4-6 servings