Friday, April 9, 2010

Light Zucchini Musakka (Kabak Musakka)

Though it is part of all the cuisines of the former Ottoman region, in the West, it is best-known in its Greek form. Arabic musakka is consumed as a salad made with aubergines and tomatoes. Greek style mousakka is more like a lasagna with the bechamel sauce on it. Turkish musakka, on the other hand, is not layered. Instead, it is prepared with sauteed aubergines/zucchini, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, and minced meat.

Following is a lighter version of Turkish Musakka, original recipe requires zucchini to be fried before incorporating with the sauce but I skipped frying process to make it lighter and healthier.

4 medium zucchini*
1/4 pound ground turkey (original recipe requires ground lamb/beef)
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 big onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic (optional)
1 (14.5 oz) can tomatoes - petite diced (or 3 tomatoes)
2 tbs tomato paste
Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley and/or dill

1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil.

2. Add the ground turkey and cook over moderate heat, stirring often, until brown.

3. Add onion (and optional garlic) and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 4 minutes.

4. Add the tomato paste and stir for 2 min, and and tomatoes cook for 3-4 min.

5. Add the zucchini and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until just tender, about 6 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

6. Transfer the zucchini to a bowl and let cool slightly. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve warm or at room temperature.

For vegetarian version:

1. Use 1/2 cup soya mince/TVP instead of ground meat, soak 1/2 cup of TVP with almost 1/2 cup of boiling hot water.

2.Stir in TVP after sauteing the onion and garlic.

3. Repeat the steps 4 and 5 and then add 1 cup of canned garbanzo beans cook for couple minutes. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with parsley and/or dill. (Vegetarian version is adapted from Almost Turkish Recipes.)

* If you have time you can soak the zucchini in a saltwater bath for 25 minutes, so it stays green and crisp even after it’s cooked.

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