My parents had called my husband and me over for dinner the other day. My uncle was visiting and all talk about playing poker during Diwali had gotten us super excited. We decided to get together the following day and play. Mum and I had decided that we would divide the dinner menu between us. I insisted that we must do something different and a Continental cuisine it was. I was to make a bake and pasta.
I have a few standard recipes that I make quite often. This time I wanted to make something different and I had to make something vegetarian since my parents are vegetarians. After a lot of trying to find something exciting to make online, I remembered that my sister in law was coming too. I had promised her that when she visited, I would make eggplants as she and I, both, are very fond of eggplant, but my husband is not. That’s why I don’t get the vegetable at home. It really doesn’t make really make much economical sense to get a huge eggplant for one person :P. Then very quickly I came across the recipe for a vegetarian Moussaka. I had so loved Moussaka when I went to Athens and I was convinced that this was what I would make.
The bake that I made was inspired by the Moussaka, but it really isn’t one in its true respect. That’s the reason I have titled this post as the Eggplant bake and not a Moussaka. The bake was a smashing hit! I really cannot wait to make it again. (I’m salivating right now just thinking about it :))
What you will need
– 2 Large Eggplants
– 4 Carrots, chopped finely
– 1 Packet Mushrooms, chopped finely
– 1 Onion, chopped finely
– 4 Large Tomatoes
– 4-5 Garlic Cloves
– Salt, Pepper and Seasoning (Oregano and Chili ) to taste
– All Purpose Flour, 2 tbsp
– 3 Egg yolks
– Cheese ( Mozzarella and any other type that you like)
– Butter, 4 btsp
– Olive oil
– Whole Milk, 1-2 cups
How You Make It
– Cut the eggplants in about quarter inch round slices. Try to keep the sizes constant. Sprinkle some salt, pepper and a little bit of olive oil on the slices and let it stand for about half an hour.
– Line the slices on a baking tray and bake for about 15-20 minutes. Keep checking on the vegetable and rotating it till it is properly cooked on both sides. Once cooked, keep aside.
– At the same time, take a pan and melt 2 tbsp of butter. Add the finely chopped onions, garlic and carrots and cook. Once the onions are golden brown and the carrots almost cooked, add the mushrooms. Add the salt, pepper and other seasoning, and allow to cook. Try to keep the mixture as dry as possible ie. let the juices evaporate as much as possible. As the mushrooms are getting cooked, puree the tomatoes with a little bit more of garlic and a pinch of salt. Add the puree to the mixture and let it cook. Keep checking on the seasoning and adjust it according to your taste. Once the tomato is cooked, turn the heat off.
– In a glass baking dish, arrange half of the eggplant rounds in a single layer. Spoon in half of the tomato – vegetable mixture evenly over the eggplant. Sprinkle some cheese over this and repeat the layering process with the remaining eggplant and mixture. Add some more cheese.
– In another pan, melt the remaining butter over medium heat. Add the flour and stir for two minutes and then stir in the milk. Keep whisking until the mixture thickens. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in half a cup of cheese and let it melt. Whisk the yolks in a separate bowl and add to the mixture slowly while whisking constantly. Once blended, pour the sauce over the vegetables in the dish. Sprinkle some cheese over the sauce.
– Cover and chill until ready to serve.
You can make this dish a day in advance. When you want to serve it, bake the dish for about 30-45 minutes in the oven until the cheese on top melts and the sauce becomes golden brown.
Yes, this is not a dish you should be making if you’re trying to eat healthy. To make this dish with meat, you can add some mince meat to the vegetable mixture. I plan to make this soon. Will keep you updated!