The modern recipe of moussaka was first published in a cookbook by a Constantinople-born and France-educated Greek chef named Nikolaos Tselementes during the 1920s. Under Ottoman occupation, Tselementes decided to ‘cleanse’ moussaka from any Turkish influence where he added French béchamel sauce in an attempt to ‘Europeanise’ it.
Variations: The Bulgarian version of moussaka uses potatoes instead of eggplants and ground pork in place of lamb or beef. The Turkish version contains minced meat, onions, tomatoes, green peppers and eggplant which are sautéed. The ingredients here are not layered and traditionally served with pilaf (rice cooked in seasoned broth). The Arabic version of moussaka, on the other hand, is eaten cold.