Today I have for you the ultimate comfort food, a savoury Moroccan chicken pie, Basteeya (Pastilla). It is a mixture of chicken, almonds, sugar and eggs and will leave the entire family wanting more!
How many times have you watched the movie Casablanca? I must admit that I’ve never been able to finish it. I don’t know why. Perhaps I’m not cultured enough for this love story. Even Humphrey Bogart’s charisma could not convince me to sit through it. I’ve made several attempts, but I always find a cause for distraction.
But I’ve always been fascinated by Morocco’s culture, history and her food. From the conquest of Spain to the oldest existing university established by a woman, to the tagines and the markets at Marrakesh. I met Moroccans in Saudi Arabia whose Arabic I could not understand and some of whom only spoke in French. The allure of Maroc remains mesmerising and I hope that I can visit one day soon!
I had tried some tagines while in Saudi Arabia, but my exposure to Moroccan food was limited to tagines and some sweets. There is a popular Moroccan restaurant here in Sydney, but it’s highly disappointing and overpriced. I came across the recipe for Basteeya (Pastilla) on YouTube channel – Cooking with Alia. Alia makes delicious and easy to follow recipes and I love trying out her Moroccan dishes. I attempted her Basteeya over Ramadan last year and it was a huge hit with my friends!
So I made my own version of this remarkable Chicken pie to share with you. Moroccan food is a combination of savoury with sweet tones. You’ll find apricots, prunes or raisins regularly featuring Moroccan recipes. While this chicken pie does not have any of these, it does have confectioner’s (icing) sugar! Not only that, the chicken is mixed with almonds as well as scrambled eggs cooked in the chicken stock. Who else would come up with such an intricate pie but the Moroccans!
Winter is fast approaching in Sydney, and it’s the perfect time to make this indulgent phyllo encrusted pie that will make you want to book your ticket to Casablanca ASAP.
Leave a comment below to let us know how you like it! Enjoy!
Basteeya (Bastila/Pastilla/) is an iconic Moroccan pie with moreish flavours that you will absolutely fall in love with. An eclectic mix of chicken, almonds, sugar and eggs in a crispy phyllo crust, it is the perfect comfort food.
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
- 2 garlic cloves chopped
- 1 medium onion diced
- 500-600 grams chicken thigh fillets bone in or boneless
- 2 tbsp parsley
- 2 tbsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- pinch of saffron
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 8 phyllo sheets
- 1 cup almonds sliced
- 1/2 cup confectioner's (icing) sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 4 eggs
Preheat oven to 180c (350F)
Add oil and butter, sauté the garlic and onions till transluscent.
Add chicken thighs and lightly brown the meat.
Add parsley, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, saffron and salt. Stir well. Add water.
Cover and simmer on low heat for 1 1/2 hours until meat easily pulls apart.
Remove chicken pieces, pull apart and leave aside.
Add lemon juice and eggs to the stock and stir continuously (will look like thick scrambled eggs). Stir until all of the liquid is absorbed, 4-5 minutes. Set aside.
Toast the almonds for 2 minutes until golden and slightly toasted.
Combine almonds, confectionery sugar and cinnamon in a bowl
Place two sheets of phyllo pastry and butter well. Place 2 more sheets, butter one sheet and not the final one.
Place the chicken filling, followed by half the almond filling, then the egg filling, followed by the remaining almond filling.
Place 4 sheets of phyllo, buttering each sheet. Fold over sheets, encasing the pie and buttering the top.
Bake for 20-25 mins at 180c.
Garnish with almonds and sifted confectioner's sugar. Enjoy!
Watch how to make Basteeya (Pastilla)