Moussaka at a Taverna

This site would not be a true guide to Greek food if there wasn't a recipe for Moussaka! This traditional dish has become an ambassador for Greek food all over the world and is found served in numerous types of food outlets. The downside of this is that the Mousaka recipe that many people have tasted, probably without even having visited Greece is far from the authentic Moussaka that is served in Greek homes. Even in Greece, it has become the standard fare of any taverna in an area with tourists and this has also weakened the quality of this dish.

However, if Moussaka is what leads you to Greek cuisine and from there to discover the delights of the flavours of the meals of Greece then it has served a purpose.

As I have said, there is so much more to Greek food than Moussaka, yet I tip my hat off to the meal that has raised global awareness of Greek cuisine.

This is an authentic recipe for Moussaka, one which my husband used to have as a child. I have used a basic method here and then included at the bottom of this recipe a few variations. My husband grew up having potato and eggplant in his moussaka and absolutely loves this recipe. Experiment and enjoy.

Plate of Moussaka


1280g potatoes
640g minced meat - lamb, beef or a mixture of both
3 tablespoons butter
480g tinned tomatoes or 1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup grated cheese - cheddar, parmesan or kefalotiri
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
oil for frying
salt, pepper
approx 8 tablespoons ground french toast (friganies), or dried breadcrumbs

Bechamel Sauce
125g butter
4 heaped tablespoons plain flour
1 litre milk, (warmed, but not boiling)
2 egg yolks
salt, pepper
1/2 cup grated cheese, cheddar, parmesan or kefalotiri


Peel the potatoes, wash well and slice into 1/4 inch round slices.
Fry the potatoes both sides.
Remove from pan and place on absorbent paper to soak up any excess oil.
Melt the butter in a saucepan and saute the chopped onion, fry the ground meat (lamb or beef) until browned.
Add the finely chopped tomatoes (or paste), salt, pepper and parsley.
Cover and simmer until most of the juices are dried up.

Remove from the heat and add 1/3 of the cheese and 3-4 tablespoons of the french toast or breadcrumbs.

In a greased baking tray, sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of the french toast on the bottom of the tray.
Place half the potatoes in a layer on the bottom of the baking tray.
Sprinkle 1/3 of the grated cheese over the potatoes.
Pour all the mince meat sauce over the potatoes and spread evenly.
Finish with the rest of the potatoes in a layer over the meat sauce.

To make the bechamel sauce
Melt the butter in a saucepan.
Stir in the flour and mix over a gentle heat until it turns slightly yellow and starts to bubble.
Remove from the heat and slowly add a little milk and mix in well.
Gradually add the rest of the milk, stir over a gentle heat until the sauce boils and thickens.
(You may need a hand whisk to use whilst the sauce is slowly thickening, to prevent the sauce going lumpy.)
If you get lots of lumps in the sauce, don't worry. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Use an electric mixer to beat the sauce for a couple of minutes and you will get rid of all the lumps. Season with salt and pepper.
Stir in the cheese.
Leave it to cool for a few minutes, then stir the egg yolks through the sauce until completely mixed in.

Pour the bechamel sauce evenly over the potatoes.
Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the sauce and then about 2 tablespoons of the ground french toast or breadcrumbs on top.

Bake in a medium oven (180C) for approximately 30-40 minutes, or until it reaches a nice golden colour.
Remove from the oven and leave it to stand for 5-10 minutes to set before cutting into portions.

Serve with fresh crusty bread and a crisp green salad.

Moussaka and Wine Meal at Taverna

Variations to Moussaka

You can replace the potatoes with eggplant (aubergine). Use the same method as for the potatoes.

You can replace the potatoes with zucchini (courgette). After slicing the zucchini, sprinkle salt and pepper over them, dip them in flour, shake off any excess flour and then fry both sides until golden brown. Continue with the rest of the recipe as above.

One favourite alternative is to do the bottom layer with potatoes and the top layer with eggplant or zucchini for variety. Use approximately 640g of potatoes and 640g of either eggplants or zucchini.

Kali Orexi - Bon Appetit


Greek Waiter

Return from Moussaka for more Meat Recipes

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