Written by Sissy Nika

The moussaka characterizes our cuisine and has its own history that is lost in the depths of the ages. The origin of the moussaka is not historically established, but many claim it derives from Persia and specifically from the food maguuma, which is made from eggplants, meat and cream cheese.

The first written Greek moussaka recipe was found at the beginning of the 20th century or the end of the 19th century. The moussaka became widely known and loved much because of  the recipe of Nicholas Tselemendes, who published his book with recipes in 1910.

In this recipe, we see the addition of bechamel, a French influence and moderation in the use of spices. Eggplants are cut into thin slices and fried lightly in olive oil or they are baked to make the recipe lighter. Minced beef or mixed with pork, and bechamel are sprinkled with cheese and crumbs. In Macedonia they usually like to put fried round potatoes on the pan. During the Lent, they replace minced meat with squid or octopus. Also the minced meat can be replaced with soybean during the fasting period, just like bechamel.

In Turkey, the moussaka is made from eggplants, onions, peppers, tomato slices and lamb and is served with rice. In Egypt, it is made with layers of eggplant, green pepper, tomato sauce and lamb and veal. In Lebanon,the mousaka is a dish of eggplants, chick peas and potatoes with spices usually garlic, cumin, red pepper and is served next to warm couscous.

Katerina’s recipe is from her Athenian aunt, who had the book of Tselementes, kept as a Bible … from 1910.

From Katerina Ksirou, the cook

Category: Traditional Greek kitchen


2kg flask eggplant
1kg minced beef meat
1 tomato juice
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 dry onion
Sea salt
Freshly grated peppers
a pinch nutmeg
a pinch allspice
1 Cinnamon stick
half glass white wine

4 cups milk
3 tbsp flour for all uses
3 tbsp corn flour
2 tbsp semolina
4 tbsp butter
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
a pinch nutmeg
a pinch black pepper

500gr gruyere
a pinch crumbs
1 egg


Cut the eggplants into thin slices, brush with olive oil and bake them on the grill until they are softened, turning them on both sides.

Prepare the minced meat.

In a deep frying pan, put half a cup of olive oil and cook the onion while stirring it.

Add the minced meat, cook it and stir it with a wooden spoon until it gets a golden color.

We deglaze with wine and once the alcohol is evaporated, add the tomato juice, the tomato paste, the spices and let it boil until its liquids are absorbed.

Prepare the bechamel

In a saucepan, add the butter and let it melt. Then add the flour, corn flour, semolina and whisk it quickly with the wire, while pouring the milk into it.

Add the salt, sugar and once the cream has thickened, remove it from the heat.

Finally put half a cup of grated cheese and one egg yolk beaten and sprinkle it with nutmeg and peppers.

In an oiled pan, put some crumbs, place a set of eggplants and sprinkle with cheese.

We repeat the same step for 2 more sets of eggplants.

We add a cup of cheese into the minced meat, the rest of the crumbs and a beaten egg yolk.

We spread it all over on the eggplants.

Over the minced meat we put a few more eggplants and we spread the bechamel on it.

We smooth out the béchamel and sprinkle with cheese and crumbs.

30-45 ‘
Bake in a well preheated oven on the resistors for 30-45 minutes at 200 °C.

20 ‘
Remove from the oven and let it cool for 20 minutes before cutting into pieces.

We serve our moussaka next to a nice green salad.