Turkish Food – Turkish Musakka Recipe

A few weeks ago, we had an email from a reader telling us she had eaten many fabulous meals whilst staying in Turkey and she had particularly enjoyed the Turkish-style musakka – she wanted to know if we had a Turkish Musakka recipe so that she could make it herself at home.

We regularly order Turkish musakka from the steaming bain maries of lokantas so we’ve never thought of making it at home before. This request changed all that and thanks to this, we had a bash. It was a success and we now have a new tea/dinner for our table.

The advantage of attempting to make something you have enjoyed in the past is that you have an idea of what it should look and taste like. I skimmed the internet and scanned various musakka recipes from Turkey to get the general gist, added more of and deducted more of what we like and don’t like and then cooked it until it resembled what we have seen in the lokantas of Fethiye. After a bit of discussion, here’s what we came up with. It serves four people.

Turkish Musakka Recipe

Turkish Aubergines

Turkish aubergines are generally quite small and very firm

  • Wash and slice 4 medium-sized aubergines. Slice them lengthways into 1cm thick pieces and then cut them horizontally into three or four slices. (At this point, many people salt the aubergines to remove excess liquid. We’ve done this in the past but don’t bother anymore – especially with the firm, meaty Turkish aubergines – as we’ve never noticed too much difference in flavour or texture.)
  • Heat a glug of olive oil in a frying pan and fry the aubergine slices in batches until they have coloured on both sides. (Aubergines are oil magnets but as they start to cook, if you press them a little with your spatula, you might be able to get away without adding more oil.)
  • Remove them from the pan and leave them to cool on a paper towel so that excess oil will be absorbed by the towel.

    Turkish Musakka - Aubergines

    Fried Aubergines For Turkish Musakka

  • Finely chop one onion.
  • Slice 4 long, green peppers into thin rings. (If you don’t have these, one green capsicum pepper, finely chopped, will be okay.)
  • Add more olive oil to the pan if necessary and begin to sweat the onions and peppers. (We added a few chillies at this point but I don’t know if that’s traditional – it’s just necessary for us!)
  • Once the onions are beginning to soften a little, add 300g of minced meat. (We used lean minced meat to prevent even more ‘too much oil’ guilt.)
  • Add a clove of grated garlic, a sprinkling of salt, pinch of pepper and a little paprika.

    Making Turkish Musakka

    Turkish Musakka Mixture

  • Mix and stir together in the frying pan and cook for 10 minutes until the meat is cooked through.
  • Add a couple of chopped, medium-sized (Turkish) tomatoes (or 1 tin of chopped tomatoes), a couple of dessert spoonfuls of tomato puree (we used biber salçası but tomato puree is fine if you can’t get the pepper puree) and cook for another 10 minutes.
  • Now layer the aubergines in a large shallow pan and pour your meat mixture over the top, along with a mug of hot water. Cover and cook on a medium heat for about 20 minutes.
Turkish Musakka

Not quite ready yet – softer aubergines necessary

After this, we had a little taste test. We were looking for lokanta-style Turkish musakka – all the flavours infused and melt-in-the-mouth aubergines.

We stirred everything up and cooked it until we were happy with the aubergine texture.

Serve your Turkish musakka with a huge blob of natural süzme yoghurt on the side and a wedge of fresh bread. Turks enjoy pilav (rice) with their musakka, too.

I’m going to make Turkish musakka again when the weather gets a little colder and I might add a tiny pinch of cinnamon.

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  1. Yum! Musakka is one of my favorites! Thanks for the recipe! Can’t wait to try it at home!

  2. I love anything with eggplants and Aj loves anything with meat…so i guess we shoould try this at home =)

  3. Hi. Resting them in salty water and draining and squeezing them dry, helps the aubergines lose their bitterness. At least, that’s the belief…

  4. you can cook that for us when we come New Year xxx yummy

  5. Anna, think we’ll be cooking this a lot! 🙂
    Anonymous, we used to follow recipes religiously and did all the salting. Maybe it’s just an excuse for being a bit lazy in the kitchen but we tried without the salting and we really couldn’t tell the difference (but we do use a lot of spices in our cooking,)
    Connie and Cardamom Hills – easy to do and we weren’t disappointed with the result!

  6. Musakka was one of my favorite meals in turkey am going to prepare it for myself now thanks for the recipe

  7. Hope you like it, zablon. Afiyet olsun!

  8. Looks great! Made me hungry!!!1

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