Bastilla is the Moroccan name for a traditional chicken filo pastry pie.
Bastilla is undoubtedly one of the ultimate manifestations of beauty, refinement and delicacy of Moroccan cuisine. It is prepared for great dinners and wedding ceremonies. Usually, it is served after small plates of fresh salads and before the Tagine with meat.
Bastilla is made of fine layers of almost transparent pastry called “Warqa” but since the famous warqa is only available in Morocco, you can easily substitute it with filo pastry sheets. The pie is stuffed with chicken, eggs and almond layers.
Although I was very much aware of the many famous forms of Bastilla like the seafood Bastilla and even ground meat based Bastillas, I was very surprised to learn that the most traditional and probably the eldest style Bastilla was actually prepared with pigeons instead of chicken!
Today I will be sharing with you my aunties recipe that uses chicken but if you are like the Egyptians who love their cooked pigeons, you can easily replace the chicken with that if you wanted, bearing in mind you will need more than one
Here are some pictures I found online of different style pastillas:
Personally I'm not too keen on the traditional sweet style Bastilla ;( So many people ask me how can you be Moroccan and not like the sweet style one? I'm so sorry, I must be boring I guess. But if you happen to be like me and don't think you fancy adding the nut mix, you can do as I do and just leave that bit out, and when you glaze with egg yolk sprinkle some black seed or sesame seeds on top for garnish instead of the sugar and cinnamon.
I will be making mini versions on pure savory ones very soon and post them up for you along with a video method. But for now as this is the most famous and traditional, I figured it deserved to be posted up first ;)
Please let me know what you think insha Allah!
- Chicken Mix : -
- 1 large chicken (about 1.5 kg) - cut into small pieces
- 1 small bunch of chopped parsley -
- 1 small bunch of chopped fresh coriander -
- 2 large onions - washed and chopped very finely.
- 2 tsp ground ginger -
- 1 tsp cinnamon -
- ½ tsp black Pepper -
- ½ tsp crushed saffron - good quality one
- 1 tbsp butter or smin - (if desired)
- ¼ cup oil -
- 1 tsp salt - to taste
- 1/2 table spoon (big spoon) Granulated Sugar - (if desired, I don't use it)
- 6 eggs -
- Almond Nut Mix
- 250g blanched almonds - boiled, peeled and fried until golden brown
- ½ tbsp orange blossom water -
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon -
- 50g Granulated Sugar -
- Filo Pastry sheets (or Moroccan warqa sheets) - Get 2 packs just in case.
- icing sugar and cinnamon - for garnish (some people also use some fried whole almonds too)
- In a large pot, put the chopped onions in the oil and butter if your are using it and add the diced chicken, herbs & spices. Stir and cook for a few minutes.
- When it has steamed through and is well fried add some boiled water, just so it almost covers the chicken.
- When it is boiling cover the pot and lower the heat to a medium fire. Keep stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until chicken pieces are cooked and the meat separates easily from the bones. The water will slightly evaporate (you can save about 4 tablespoons of the chicken stock in a bowl and set aside for later.
- When the chicken pieces are cooked remove from the sauce and place on a plate to cool.
- Crack open the eggs in a mixing bowl and stir into the chicken sauce a couple at a time continuing to stir, scramble the eggs in the sauce over a low heat until done, then set aside when they have evaporated the juice.
- When the chicken has cooled down remove the meat from the bones and break up into small pieces.
- In a blender, mix the fried almonds with the cinnamon, sugar and orange blossom water and blend into a soft mixture of medium sized crumbs. (be careful not to blend too fine) Then set aside.
- Grease an oven proof round baking tray with butter. (anything similar to a pizza pan with sides)
- Place 1 sheet of Warqa or filo pastry on the bottom of the baking tray and brush well with some melted butter (butter side up) do this 5 times overlapping them and rotating in the form of flower petals, leaving the access pastry to rest over the edges of the dish ( basically half of each pastry sheet should be inside the plan and the other half resting over the edges of the pan to fold over the mixture after).
- When you have rotated the filo sheets around the pan you place 1 or 2 more sheets in the middle to seal the other layers together before adding the mix. Again brush with butter.
- Form the first layer by placing the egg mix all along the bottom of the pan using the back of a spoon to spread it perfectly around the edges and even it out accordingly.
- Arrange the chicken pieces along the top of the egg mix to form the second layer then lightly drizzle over it the little bit of chicken stock we saved from earlier.
- At this point you can add a new filo pastry sheet on top and brush with butter before spreading over the crushed almond mixture. Again use a spoon to see it goes generously around the edges & level out accordingly.
- Add another sheet of filo pastry on top of the nut mix and fold over the edges inwards, brush with butter. Then fold remaining overlapped layers that are over the edges inwards also to form a smooth circle shape.
- Arrange 2 or 3 new sheets of filo pastry on top to cover the overlapping and close firmly by tucking into the bottom.
- Once you have sealed your Bastilla, glaze it with an egg yolk.
- Bake in the middle level of a preheated oven for about 45 minutes on a medium heat (depending on your oven).
- Bastilla should be golden brown all over and crispy to the touch.
- When it has cooled down a bit, it is traditionally sprinkled with icing sugar over the top and decorated with cinnamon powder. But on this occasion we glazed with honey and sprinkled with broken almonds. Make sure to serve straight away ;)