Jhammel Moussaka

This article can also be found in
Aetherflow – Spring 2019

A Near Eastern casserole made from a spiced jhammel and eggplant mincemeat topped with creamy mashed popotoes.

Okay, technically, the Jhammel moussaka is not a real moussaka, but more of a shepherd’s pie. Instead of layering eggplants and potatoes with meat and artery-clogging Béchamel sauce, the potatoes are mashed and used as a protective blanket while the meat simmers over roasted eggplants. Sounds mouthwatering anyway, right?

  • 1 hour and 40 minutes (Including baking time)
  • 5 servings

You will need

400 grams of minced meat, preferably lamb (approx. 14 oz.)

1.5 kilograms of starchy potatoes, e.g. Idaho Russet (approx. 3.4 lb.)

2 eggplants

1 large onion

2 garlic cloves

130 milliliters of milk (approx. ½ cup)

60 grams of grated cheese, whatever you like (approx. ½ cup)

40 grams of butter ( approx. 3 Tbs.)

1 can of tomato puree

1 egg

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp nutmeg powder

½ tsp paprika powder, ground black pepper, ground cayenne pepper, ground cumin and ground coriander

Chili, to taste

Dash of red wine (Optional)

Flour, for dusting

Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 220°C (430 °F).Wash and slice the eggplants into slices. Dust them with a little bit of flour and spread them on a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over it and put them in the oven.

Forget about them for a while (aka bake for at least 15 minutes, until they are properly roasted and your house smells like fresh babaganoush). Take them out before they are charred and let them cool down a bit. Reduce the heat of the oven to 180° C (360°F).

Meanwhile, chop the onion and garlic into tiny pieces using your friend’s samurai sword (don’t let them know!). Make sure to watch a heartwrenching movie during this process to mask the true reason why you’re crying waterfalls.

Heat some olive oil in a deep frying pan and sauté the onion and garlic over medium heat until they become fragrant, just like you will. Your snowflake colleagues are going to love you tomorrow. Anyway, toss in the minced meat and fry until the meat is cooked through. Add the spices sans nutmeg, or just like me, go through your spice rack and add anything vaguely connected to Mediterranean cuisine.

Add a generous dash of red wine, if you have it, and take a deep sip. Add a little more. Drink the rest and watch the wine magically reduce in your frying pan. Add the tomatoes and chili, stir, and reduce the heat to medium low. Cover and let it simmer for a bit.

Time for mashed lala-, I mean potatoes! Wash the potatoes. Peel them, if you want – I prefer not to since I’m lazy. Put them in a large pot with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water boils, reduce the heat to medium and cook the potatoes until they are soft. Remove from heat and discard any water that is left. Mash them and slowly add both milk and butter. Throw in the nutmeg and salt. Add more milk if the consistency is not spreadable enough.

To finish the mashed potatoes, stir in the grated cheese and egg. Set aside and grease a deep dish or casserole. Layer the roasted eggplants on the bottom. Spread the meat evenly over the eggplants. Cover the top with the mashed potatoes, sealing in the meat and eggplant. Put the casserole in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the top of the potatoes turns golden brown. Take out and enjoy!

Mint Lassi

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