In the weeks before Passover, Jewish families around the world perform their version of Spring cleaning: ridding their homes of any traces of crumbs. This may seem like a bizarre task, but it is important in celebrating the liberation of the Jews from 400 years of slavery in Egypt. The Jews left Egypt in such a hurry that they could not wait for their bread to rise. In order to commemorate freedom from slavery, Jews do not eat any food made of grain and water that has been allowed to ferment and rise (Chametz) during Passover.
My family takes these days as a challenge to explore what we can do in the kitchen within the constraints of Passover dietary requirements; nothing will get in the way of a good meal. Here is my recipe for aubergine moussaka, which adheres to the prohibitions of Passover. This recipe requires some time and patience, but never disappoints. You may be wondering why I have left out cheese. Jewish dietary rules prohibit the mixing of meat and dairy, so I kept it Kosher.
Substitute the beef with any meat substitute to make this dish vegetarian.
1kg (4 large) aubergines
Sunflower or olive oil
1/2kg minced beef (or Quorn mince)
2 chopped onions
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 peeled tomatoes
Salt and pepper
Peel and cut the aubergines in long slices.
Soak the slices in water and salt for half an hour to remove the aubergine’s bitter twang. Rinse and dry.
Grill the aubergines with a little oil on a grill pan or in the oven for 10 minutes, turning them over halfway.
For the filling, sauté the onions with some oil until golden brown then add the minced meat (or Quorn) and stir to cook.
Add the fresh and tinned tomatoes as well as salt and pepper and continue cooking for 15/20 minutes.
To assemble the Moussaka, use a 5cm deep tray and place a layer of aubergine slices, followed by filling and repeat until the final layer is of aubergine slices.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes and serve warm.
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