Moussaka is a dish made from eggplant or potato (depending on the country) and is a part of Ottoman Empire cuisines. There are many variations of the dish but Turkey and Greece have made it particularly popular. The Turkish variation makes Moussaka a casserole style dish with the eggplant getting sautéed. It is consumed at room temperature or slightly warm (not hot). The Arabic version of Moussaka is eaten cold while the Balkans version involves a layered dish this is served hot. Moussaka comes from the Greek ‘mousakás’, Arabic ‘musaqqa’ah’ or the Turkish ‘musakka’, all of which mean ‘chilled’.
• Why Do People Like Moussaka? – Moussaka is to Turkey and Greece what Spaghetti and meatballs is to Americans. It is a quintessential dish that every person from these parts has tried. The dish has a crunchy top but the sauce is the thing that brings out all the flavors. People like Moussaka because it tastes like an exotic version of lasagna (without the pasta). Also, it is extremely healthy because it has all the green vegetables. It takes around 2 to 3 hours to cook and, depending on the size of the pot or casserole, it can easily serve 6 people. Thus, it makes for a perfect family meal.
• What Are The Origins of Moussaka? – The origins of the dish are unknown. While Turkey and Greece have made Moussaka globally famous, they are the not the nations who introduced this dish. According to the Greeks, this dish was introduced by the Arabs when they brought the aubergine. However, Arabs and people from Lebanon believe Moussaka to be a Greek dish. Despite the confusion regarding its origin, there is an Arabic cookbook from the 13th century called ‘The Baghdad Cookery Book’ and this book includes a dish that could be the ancestor of Moussaka. The dish is called ‘Muqatta’a’ or ‘Maghmuma’ eggplant, onions, meat and seasoning. It also includes saffron and is a layered dish. This recipe was proposed by a food historian.