Pastilla/Bastilla with Chicken and Almonds, La Maison Arabe

Pastilla also know as Bastilla is a traditional Moroccan dish which has its origins in Andalus.

This popular Moroccan dish is basically sweet and salty meat pie wrapped in a phyllo type dough called (warqa). It can be filled with chicken, pigeon, seafood or vegetables. It is really delicious – the combination of savory, sweet, soft and crisp works beautifully.

Pastilla is usually served as a starter.

In New York one can find Warqa at Tanjawi or Naseem Meat Market & Grocery 
in Astoria or Sahadis in Brooklyn.

You can use phyllo dough too but make sure you butter each layer or it will get too dry and crack.


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Pastilla/Bastilla with Chicken and Almonds

Serves 4Print This Recipe


Chicken Filling:

2 pieces of chicken (breast and leg)

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley

1 tbsp. finely chopped cilantro

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. black pepper

½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp ground turmeric

½ tsp ground ginger

½ tsp. white sugar

A pinch of saffron

½ tsp. ras el hanout

1 tsp. smen/ clarified butter/ ghee

2 tbsp. olive oil


Egg Filling:

2 large eggs

Almond Filling:

2.5 ounces/ 75 grams of blanched almonds

1 tbsp of white sugar

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. orange blossom water

1 tsp. smen/ clarified butter/ ghee


2 Warka sheets or phyllo dough sheets

Melted butter

1 Egg Yolk


Chicken Filling:

• One medium heat, drizzle some oil in a cooking pot or small tagine.

• Add the sliced onion, parsley, cilantro, clarified butter and all spices to the chicken filling.

• Mix well.

• Cover the pan for 10 minutes and let it cook.

• Add ½ cup water to the chicken, just enough for it to cook.

• The goal is to get a thick sauce so add water as necessary until the chicken is cooked.

• Cover the chicken and cook for upto about 20 minus on a medium/ slow heat.

• Keep checking to make sure the meat is not sticking to the pot.

• Add small amounts of water as needed.

• When the chicken is done, remove it from he pot and place it in a bowl to let it cool.

• Shred the chicken into small pieces and discard bones.

• Chop the chicken into almost a mince.

• Reserve the remaining sauce, as we will use it later in recipe.

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Egg Filling:

• Break 2 eggs in the pot in which the chicken was cooked.

• On low heat, stir the eggs into the chicken sauce.

• Do not cover the pot whilst cooking the eggs.

• Cook for a few minutes until the egg mixture becomes dry.

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Almond Filling:

• Deep fry the almonds in hot oil for five minutes until they are golden brown.

• Remove the almonds and pat them with a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.

• In a blender, pulse the almonds with the sugar, cinnamon, orange blossom water and clarified butter until the almonds are crushed into small chunks.

• The almond filling’s texture should not be completely smooth. IT should be grainy.

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Folding the Bastilla:

• Lay out 2 sheets of warqa one on top of the other and make sure they are basted with melted butter.

• Sprinkle the sheets with some cinnamon powder and sugar.

• Spread the chicken mixture evenly onto the pastry in the center of the baking pan.

• Spread the egg filing over the chicken mixture.

• Finally spread the almond filling over the chicken and egg.

• Carefully fold over the pastry on all sides and brush the top with egg yolk.

• Flip over the closed bastilla and then repeat the folding process with the next layer of pastry.

• Fold this layer in the same way and then tuck it under the bottom of the pie.

• Brush the surface with melted butter and egg yolk.

• Bake the bastilla at 350ºF/ 180ºC for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.

• Serve it hot, dusted with ground cinnamon and chopped almonds.

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4 thoughts on “Pastilla/Bastilla with Chicken and Almonds, La Maison Arabe

  1. Fascinating method and lovely pics! We’re very fond of Moroccan cooking too and have published books on it; it’s great to see others passionate about it too!
    Best wishes,
    Will, Serif

  2. Thank you for posting. I went to the class a few years ago & need a reminder from time to time of how to do each step. So worth it though as these are truly delicious.

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