A random post by Anna (Bougadakis) Sharp looked too good to just scroll past on my Instagram feed. I was intrigued.
Not only did her “Moussaka Balls” look amazing in the photo, but the mere concept of transforming one of my favorite casseroles into a snack-able ball that could be used for entertaining was reason enough to ask for the recipe.
This was Greek food innovation at its finest, I thought, so I reached out and asked for the recipe.
Anna was craving eggplants one day and wondered how they would cook up as “meatballs” minus the meat.
Many forms of meatless “keftedes” (meatballs in Greek) have emerged from the traditional fried, meatball including kolokithokeftedes (zucchini), domatokeftedes (tomato), revithokeftedes (chickpea) and so on… so why not moussakokeftedes?
Anna improvised with the ingredients she had and upon tasting the result, immediately thought of them as Moussaka Balls.
A Greek-Australian and passionate home cook, Anna constantly draws on her Greek heritage for cooking inspiration.
When I asked her if she’d be willing share her recipe with readers of The Pappas Post, her answer was classic.
“We Greeks believe that food is to be shared. Share away,” she wrote.
Her recipe for Moussaka Balls makes about 40 balls and all measurements are in metric. For our American reader/cooks, a simple conversion search in Google can get you the corresponding measurements.
- 1/2 kilo eggplant cut into small cubes 3–4cm
- 1 medium size brown potato, raw, peeled and grated coarsely
- ½ cup finely grated Graviera cheese
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 eggs, whisked
- 3 Tbsp finely chopped basil
- Extra virgin olive oil (buy your Greek extra virgin olive oil here)
- 3/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
- Plain flour
- tomato passata/salsa for dipping (see simple recipe below)
- Bring about 2 liters of water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the eggplant and boil for about 10 minutes, uncovered, until soft, pushing the cubes under the water repeatedly with a wooden spoon as they cook.
- Drain, cool and press with a spoon to remove any excess liquid.
- Add cooked eggplant to a mixing bowl with the potato, breadcrumbs, cheese, garlic, eggs and basil. Mix gently using a fork. Season. Roll the mixture into 3-4cm balls. If the mixture is too wet to roll easily, add more breadcrumbs.
- Coat lightly with plain flour.
- Pour oil into a wide frying pan, about 1cm and turn the heat to medium.
- When the oil is ready, in batches fry the balls until browned all over. About 3 mins on each side.
- Drain on paper towels. Cool for 10 minutes, then serve with tomato passata/salsa
Recipe for dipping sauce
- 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
- 1 tin of diced tomato (400grams)
- Olive oil for shallow cooking
- Shredded basil to add in sauce, and extra to decorate upon serving.
- Heat olive oil in small pan. Add garlic and cook until golden.
- Add can of diced tomatoes, season with salt and add basil. Stir until cooked through.
- Add extra Basil for decorative touch and serve. Sauce can be served hot or room temperature.
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