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Miguel de Cervantes

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Entries in eggplant (2)

Thursday
May052011

Middle Eastern mezze no.6: Baba ganoush

 

Back to the Middle East for a few days and then onto new things. The boyfriend will breathe a sigh of relief (a rather garlicky one); he does love a bit of mezze, but everyone has their limits.

Next on the list is baba ganoush, which I have just discovered means "My father is spoiled like a child by my mother". And I thought the Turkish version was a mouthful! I have also always called it a dip, but according to Mark Hix, in Turkey it is considered a salad,

You might think this is a dip, but I'm insisting it's a salad because that's what my local Turkish restaurant calls it. Their aubergine salat is more roughly chopped. My smoother version is one of my favourite mezze dishes, and forms part of a salady selection to start a meal with.

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Saturday
Dec182010

Moussaka; an unexpected history

 

MOUSSAKA        A dish common to Turkey, Greece and the Balkans, made with slices of aubergine (eggplant) arranged in layers, alternating with minced (ground) mutton or lamb, onions, and sometimes tomatoes, often with the addition of a thick béchamel sauce. In some recipes, courgettes (zucchini), potatoes or spinach are used instead of aubergine. The dish is baked in the oven.

This definition from Larousse Gastronomique pretty much sums up my recipe for moussaka. If I were sensible, I would accept it as gospel and be done with it. It would certainly save me a lot of typing and you a lot of reading. But sensible I am not and having looked further into the history and origins of the dish I feel the need to share.

The definition refers to Turkey and the Balkans, but in fact the description which follows depicts the Greek preparation. According to Wikipedia, Turkish musakka is not layered, “Instead, it is prepared with sautéed aubergines, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, and minced meat” and eaten with cacik and pilaf. The Bulgarian and Macedonian versions are layered like the Greek, but contain pork and beef rather than lamb and potatoes rather than aubergine. Like most of the recipes in the rest of the Balkan states, they are topped with a savoury custard.

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