Despite most peoples’ familiarity with the Greek version of moussaka, the origin of the dish is Arab and the word “musaqa’a” is Arabic. My family-in-law pronounces it “‘msa’a” and the Palestinian version, doesn’t usually have bechamel. However, I learned this “easy bechamel sauce” from my Saudi friend and it gives a very good flavor to the dish. In the picture, the tomatoes are on top but actually they should be above the meat layer. Serve this dish with pita bread and a simple salad.
- 4 baking potatoes, thinly sliced
- 2 large eggplants, 1/2 inch thick slices, rounds or length-wise
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 pound ground lamb or ground beef
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 tomatoes, sliced
- 1 can Nestle Table Cream
- 3 Tablespoons cream cheese
- 2 cups whole milk
- Fry the potato and eggplant slices in batches and drain on paper towels.
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-heat and saute the shopped onion until soft, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the ground beef and brown, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Drain excess oil from the ground beef and add the tomato paste and spices. Add 1/4-1/2 cup water.
- Layer half the potato slices in a 13×9 baking dish and sprinkle with salt. Layer half the eggplant on top of the potato slices and sprinkle with salt.
- Spread the meat mixtures over the eggplant. Place the tomato slices over the meat mixture.
- Place the second layer of eggplant over the tomatoes, sprinkle with salt.
- Add the final layer of potatoes and sprinkle with salt.
- Combine the “bechamel” ingredients in a blender and pour into the baking dish.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.