Moussaka | My Take On This Traditional Dish

With an abundance of beautiful aubergines together with new potatoes in my veggie box I was inspired to make moussaka. I have no idea how traditional this recipe is, but it was super tasty. The best part was that I made enough for Dave and I to enjoy the meal twice.

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I am the most conscientious packer. Everything has its place and I seldom vary from that. It just makes life easier and travelling bliss. A few weeks before I flew up to Johannesburg for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary I put my tutti frutti bracelet into my hand luggage. I don’t usually travel with it, but my mom had asked to wear this beautiful bracelet. She gave it to me on my wedding day and it has a lot of sentimental value. My Gran gave it to my Mom on her wedding day. And when I matriculated a stone was taken off to make a ring for me. Once I put the box in my case I completely forgot about it. Seeing this was a special occasion, I decided to wear my rings on the evening of the party.

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My jewellery case was popped into my hand luggage and I did not give it a second thought. When I boarded there was no space in the overhead locker for my case and it was taken off the plane. It was only once it was in the hold I realised my jewellery was still in it. This goes against all advice and I spent the flight time close to tears. I could not worry about what I have no control over but my stupid mistake was my responsibility. In an airport renown for pilfering and theft, would my precious cargo still be in its place on the other side? How could I have been so stupid? Luckily for me, everything was where it was meant to be and my mom looked stunning on the evening with the bracelet on her arm.

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This is my take on the tradional Levantine dish
Recipe Category: Meat
All Rights Reserved: an original recipe from Lavender and Lime


for the layers

  • 500 mls lamb stock
  • 5 new potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 aubergine, thinly sliced

for the mince

  • 15 mls olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely diced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 500 g lamb mince
  • 1 quill cinnamon
  • 1 whole star anise

for the béchamel sauce

  • 60 g butter
  • 60 g flour
  • 300 mls milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 whole cloves

for the moussaka

  • 25 g hard cheese, grated


for the layers

  • Place the stock into a sauce pan and add the potatoes
  • Bring to a simmer over a medium temperature and cook the potatoes until al dente
  • Strain, reserving the stock and set the potatoes aside
  • Season and grill the aubergine until just cooked
  • Set aside to cool

for the mince

  • Place the oil into a large frying pan over a medium temperature
  • Heat and then add the onion, seasoning generously
  • Sauté until soft before adding the garlic and cooking for 1 minute
  • Add the mince and brown in batches, seasoning as you add more meat
  • Pour the remaining stock into the pan and add the cinnamon and star anise
  • Reduce the temperature and leave the stock to simmer until it has evaporated *
  • Remove from the heat and set aside to cool

for the béchamel sauce

  • Place the butter into a sauce pan and melt over a medium temperature
  • Add the flour and stir and then cook for 1 minute
  • Stir in the milk and add the bay leaf and cloves
  • Leave to cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent lumps from forming
  • Remove from the heat, remove the bay leaf and cloves and set aside

for the moussaka

  • Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius
  • Layer half of the mince into an ovenproof dish
  • Then add the potatoes and season to taste
  • Add the rest of the mince and top with the aubergines
  • Season and pour the béchamel sauce over the top
  • Sprinkle the cheese on top and then place into the oven for 30 minutes to cook
  • Turn the grill on and leave the cheese to melt under the grill for 5 minutes
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes before serving


* about 90 minutes
Inspiration published on Lavender and Lime May

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18 thoughts on “Moussaka | My Take On This Traditional Dish

  1. Tandy, I love moussaka and have had several different versions, so who’s to say what is traditional. Your version looks very tasty and has all the elements that make a moussaka for me.
    I flew through Joburg on more than one occasion where my luggage arrived to my destination with less in it that when I left. So, I know that fear you must of had.

  2. Tandy, I have never tried my hand at moussaka, but it’s time. Any recipe that incorporate new potatoes in fine by me! And the bay leaf. I love those in recipes. So glad you didn’t loose your bracelet! But you are too hard on yourself, we all makes those types of mistakes!

  3. I’ve never lost luggage, or had it arrive after I did. I guess I’m very lucky. Moussaka is fabulous, and it looks like you’ve got the important parts – the white sauce, meat, and cheesiness!

  4. I need to touch wood when I say this – I have never lost luggage, however I am known to ‘over-pack’…. my last trip to Europe was a case in point. I could barley lift my bag which my best friend and travelling knick named Behemoth. In my defence, I was travelling for 9 weeks. Love the look of your moussaka!

I would ♥ to hear from you (comments will be visible when I reply)

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