The ‘Musaka’ is usually considered a Greek National dish and although this may be true, it doesn’t necessarily mean it originated from Greece nor does it mean that the Bulgarian Musaka is the same recipe.
The name Musaka’ apparently comes from an Arabic word meaning ‘that which is fed liquid’. It can be eaten cold or hot so its a great dish for having the next day!
The Turkish adopted the dish from the Arabs and the dish would have possibly included cacik ( a yogurt dip with cucumber)
When the Ottoman Empire conquered and ruled the Balkans for five hundred years it was only natural that the Eastern influences became part of Bulgarian cuisine too.
The Bulgarian Musaka is an oven dish consisting of ground meats from lamb, pork or veal plus a variety of vegetables
Musaka Recipe Variations
As you can imagine, there are as many variations of the Musaka recipe as there are probably days in every month.
It is generally accepted that the difference between the Greek and the Bulgarian dish is that Bulgarian Musaka recipe uses potatoes and the Greek Moussaka recipe uses Aubergines.
The spelling differences are intentional. ’The word is pronounced pretty much the same but I have used the Latin phonetic spelling of the word because the Bulgarian Cyrillic spelling is МУСАКА
The use of potatoes and the topping of Bulgarian Yogurt, flour and egg mix poured over the dish midway through cooking gives this dish its unique Bulgarian touch.
Chubritsa is a traditional Bulgarian seasoning with a distinctly unique flavor and harmonic aroma. It can be used on toasted breads, meats, cheeses, sandwiches, pizzas, soups, rice dishes, potatoes and more. Just sprinkle on your favorite food and enjoy!
Bulgarian Musaka Recipe
500g (1.1lb) minced pork meat. (or a 60/40 mixed pork & Beef) I prefer 100% pork for Musaka
1 kg (2.2lb) potatoes
2 medium Tomatoes(Tin tomatoes can be used, or leave out completely if you don’t like them)
3 Tablespoons of vegetable oil.
1 or 2 teaspoon of each but you can add more if you wish a stronger taste
Chubritsa ( Bulgarian Herb), or (Italian seasoning or any savoury mix you enjoy)
1 Large cup of Yogurt ( Bulgarian if you can get it if only for authenticity) Your usual plain yogurt will be OK.
2/3 Tablespoon all purpose flour
- Pour about 3 Tablespoons of oil into your pan and heat.
Add your chopped carrots and onions. Stir for several minutes.
Add chopped potatoes and tomatoes and a little salt to taste.
Stir and mix with other ingredients for several minutes.
Add your minced meatand your seasonings. Peel & chop potatoes into small cubes ( they will all cook evenly) place in a bowl of water to stop them going brown until ready to use.
- Peel and chop, carrot and onions
- Chop or grate tomatoes
Heat up your oven to 200 c (400F) Gas Mark 6
- When your meat is browned,exchange your ingredients from your frying pan or stew pot into your oven casserole dish and spread evenly.
- Add enough hot water hot until level with the ingredients. Not too much! We don’t want them swimming.
- Place in hot oven for about 25 minutes.
Place a lid on your pot and cook for about 10 minutes and occasionally stir. Ensure your meat is evenly distributed and browned.
3. Prepare the Yogurt Mix Topping
- Place 1 cup of yogurt into a mixing jug and add 2 eggs and mix well.
- Add 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour to the jug and mix well.
We are looking for medium to thick mixture. If you think it’s too runny, add a little more flour. Don’t worry too much over the thickness, it will still cook.
4. Adding the Yogurt Topping
- After the 25 minutes. Take your casserole from the oven. Most, if not all of your water should have evaporated.
- Pour on your yogurt mix all over the top of your dish, don’t worry if it is a little on the thin side and seeps down into the ingredients .
Turn up the oven a little more
Replace the musaka in the oven and cook until your yogurt mix topping has turned a lovely brown colour you like the look of. ( 25- 45 minutes)
Sometimes depending on your yogurt mixture, it may take longer to brown. If you are hungry it will still be ok to eat if it is still white.
Serve hot or cold, on its own with salad or Yogurt or whatever else takes your fancy and enjoy.