Thursday, February 17, 2011

Zucchini & Chickpeas Moussaka

Moussaka is a casserole dish which is associated to Mediterraenean cuisine and is common to few Middle eastern and European countries. The word moussaka comes from Arabic 'Musaqqa' meaning 'chilled',but other names also exist and it is perceived as a layered dish.Generally it is a baked dish containing eggplants,ground lamb,tomatoes etc. But there are several versions and can be made with other vegetables,cheese,lentils etc.We can generalize the fundamental ingredients as: a vegetable,sauce and a meat mix. I found a simple stovetop zucchini mousakka made with chickpeas and ground Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) or soy granules from AlmostTurkish and have adapted it here.

Zucchini: 1 big
Chicpeas: 1/2 cup presoaked and cooked

Garlic: 2-3 cloves crushed
Onion: 1 medium size chopped finely
TVP /Soy granules/ ground soy chunks: 1/4 cup

Red Pepper Paste/Chili sauce: 2+ tsp as per taste
Tomato Paste: 1-2 tbsp

Tomato:1-2 diced /tomato puree
Fresh/ Frozen Parsley: finely chopped
Fresh mint: or dried mint flakes

Salt & Pepper: as per taste

Presoak and cook chickpeas and keep aside.You can also use canned beans. Cut zucchini lengthwise and slice into 1/4' slices.Soak it in salted water for atleast half an hour. (I am not sure why this step is needed,but I did soak the slices). Prepare the soy chunks/granules as indicated in the package and keep aside. If using soy chunks grind in your mixer to get granules. I used soy chunks and went for coarse grind.As a result mine doesn't look thick as in the original recipe.Chop onions finely and crush garlic.

Heat olive oil in a deep pan. Add in crushed garlic and then onion and saute till transparent.Add in the soy granules and little water and continue cooking for 3-5 minutes.Add in the chile sauce/red pepper paste and the tomato paste.Cook another 2-3 minutes.Add in diced tomato/tomato puree and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add in zucchini slices and mix well. Continue cooking till it starts getting tender.Stir in chickpeas,parsley and little mint. I also added the water in which the chicpeas is cooked.Cook till the required thickness is obtained seasoning with salt and pepper.

Garnish with more mint/parsley.Serve with rice/enjoy as a soup. I went for mint garnish only as I used frozen parsley.I served it with rice.

 You can also grind little chickpeas to get more thickness for the gravy.You can use minced roasted eggplant instead of tvp if you do not have any or do not like the combo.This is not the traditional mousakka with layers or baking or even ground meat,but it is very hearty gravy with the refreshing herbs and comforting chicpeas and crunchy zucchini and its a keeper recipe thanks to AlmostTurkish.


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