Pastilla is a traditional Moroccan dish in the form of a sweet, savory meat pie or spicy seafood pie with “werqa”, leaves of dough similar to Phyllo. It is said to be of Andalusi origin and is historically documented to be consumed in Morocco, and more recently introduced to Algeria, and Tunisia. It has more recently been spread by Moroccan emigrants to France, Israel, and North America.
Pastilla is said to be “uniquely Moroccan, intricate and grand, fabulously rich and fantastical”
How to cook the most popular dish in Morocco: Chicken Pastilla, an amazing kind of pie with layers of egg mixture, chicken, and almonds. It’s a must for every special occasion. Simply heavenly.
Moroccan Chicken Bastilla
4 to 6 persons
1 whole chicken of approximately 2 pounds
2 large onions finely chopped
1 cup of finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons of cooking oil
1 teaspoon of ginger powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder
A large pinch of saffron
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of pepper
2 cups of water
Eggs Filling: 6 eggs
10 oz of blanched almonds
4 oz of powdered sugar
2 tablespoons of orange blossom water
1/4 of a teaspoon of cinnamon powder
Oil for frying
Phyllo dough (In Morocco, we use a dough called “Warka”)
1 stick of butter (melted)
1 egg yolk
Steps to Make the Chicken Filling:
1 – On high heat, drizzle the oil in your pan. Add the onions, parsley, and spices. Mix well.
2 – Add the whole chicken. Cover your pan and let the chicken cook for 10 minutes.
3 – Add some water to the chicken, just enough for the chicken to cook, our target is a thick sauce. Cover your pan and let the chicken cook for 30 minutes.
4 – When the chicken is cooked, remove it from the sauce, let it cool down then separate the meat from the bone. Shred the meat into small pieces.
Steps to Make the Eggs Filling:
1- Add the 6 eggs to the sauce where the chicken was cooked.
2- Lower the heat, and stir the eggs into the sauce.
3- Do not cover your pan and let the sauce evaporate. The egg mixture should become dry after 10-15 minutes. Keep stirring from time to time.
Steps to Make the Almonds Filling:
1- Fry the almonds in the oil until they become golden brown.
2- Remove excess oil from the almonds.
3- Process the almonds with the powdered sugar, cinnamon, and orange blossom water in a food processor until the almonds are crushed.
Steps to Fold the Bastilla:
1- Brush your baking pan with melted butter.
2- Fold the phyllo pastry into 2 and put 3 layers in the middle of the baking pan. Place folded phyllo pastry sheets around the baking pan where 1/3 of their length is overhanging the edge of the pan. Brush the phyllo pastry with melted butter.
3- Spread the egg mixture in the middle of the pan. Cover it with 2 layers of phyllo pastry. Brush the phyllo pastry with melted butter.
4- Spread the chicken pieces. Cover them with 2 layers of phyllo pastry. Brush the phyllo pastry with melted butter.
5- Spread the almond mixture. Cover it with 2 layers of phyllo pastry. Brush the phyllo pastry with melted butter. Carefully fold over the phyllo dough on all sides and brush the top of the pastry with melted butter and egg yolk.
6- add 3-4 layers of phyllo dough pastry on top and tuck them in the bottom of the pie. Brush the surface with melted butter and egg yolk.
1- Preheat the oven at 350 degrees and bake the bastilla for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.
2- Decorate the bastilla with powdered sugar and cinnamon powder before serving.