I’ve been obsessed with Lebanese food since my first visit to Comptoir Libanais in London, when I first experienced their Fattet Moussaka and was left quite simply amazed. As a vegetarian often faced with not much choice or excitement in a restaurant, being blown away by my food is something of a rarity and since, I have tasked myself with recreating their Fattet Moussaka, which was hands down the best meal I’ve ever eaten in a restaurant.
Described on the menu as ‘aubergine moussaka with warm tahini yoghurt, garnished with crispy pitta and fried onions’, my first couple of attempts didn’t quite match up, but a few weeks down the line I managed to rustle something up that was almost as good, and frankly so tasty that I just had to share it.
As well as being entirely vegan-friendly if you stick to soya yoghurt, this recipe is also pretty clean and healthy, providing you don’t go overboard with the olive oil or pitta to garnish.
For the moussaka:
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 aubergine, chopped into 2cm cubes
1.5 red onions, finely chopped
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
One can of chickpeas, drained
1 tablespoon agave syrup (you can substitute this for honey or sugar)
6 vine tomatoes, quartered
Pinch of Himalayan pink salt (or regular salt will do)
Half a teaspoon of cinnamon
Half a teaspoon of allspice
Quarter of a teaspoon of black pepper
Half a cup of water
For the tahini yoghurt sauce:
1 cup of soya yoghurt (natural or Greek yoghurt will also work)
3 tablespoons of tahini
Half a garlic clove, finely chopped or grated
Juice of half a lemon
Himalayan pink salt and black pepper, to taste
In a large pan heat three tablespoons of olive oil over a medium heat, and sauté the aubergine until golden brown. Remove the aubergine pieces from the pan and set aside.
Add the remaining oil to the pan, along with the onion and garlic. Saute whilst stirring constantly for five minutes, until the onions turn soft and translucent.
Add the chickpeas and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add the agave syrup.
Return the aubergine to the pan along with the tomatoes. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper and spices and add the water. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Whilst the moussaka is simmering, pour the yoghurt into a bowl and add the tahini, garlic and lemon juice. Whisk together until smooth. Transfer to a small saucepan and heat gently, continuing to whisk the mixture. When the sauce is heated through, remove from the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve the moussaka in bowls, topped with the tahini yoghurt sauce. You could also add grilled strips of pitta for a scrumptious side.