A cozy comforting dish with layers of tender, spicy meat, soft grilled eggplant melding together with a bechamel sauce.
Author: Natasha Minocha
1Onions diced finely
500gmsTomato sauce I used my homemade sauce
2TbspOlive oil plus extra for grilling
Salt to taste
75gmsCheeseI used Feta cheese
Salt to taste
Sprinkle 1 tsp of salt over the eggplant slices and let drain in a colander for 30 minutes. Rinse, squeeze out extra water and pat dry.
Brush the eggplant slices with a little olive oil and grill them. Keep aside.
Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large pan. Add the onion. Stir in the oregano, chilli flakes, basil and the cinnamon stick. Saute for about 5 minutes, until soft. Add the mince meat, stirring it and breaking it up with a spoon until browned. Mix in the tomato puree, tomato sauce and season with salt. Cover and cook the meat sauce on low heat for about 30 minutes or until all the water has evaporated and you have thick sauce. Taste and adjust for salt.
Heat 3 Tbsp of olive oil in a heavy bottom pan ( I use my kadai ) over medium heat. Add flour and the seasonings. Cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes or until bubbling. Lower the heat and slowly add the milk, whisking constantly till the sauce comes to a boil and thickens. Mix in the cheese.
Pre heat oven to 180 C.
Lightly grease a baking dish. Cover the base of the dish with the grilled eggplant slices, overlapping them slightly. Spread a third of the meat sauce on top. Cover this with a thin layer of the white sauce. Repeat these layers, then cover with a layer of eggplant slices. Pour the remaining white sauce on top and bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes until the top is golden brown and bubbling. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.