A Taste of Morocco: How to Make Chicken Pastilla

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Moroccan cuisine is a delightful fusion of flavors, colors, and aromas, and one of its most iconic dishes is the Chicken Pastilla. This savory-sweet pie, also known as bastilla or b’stilla, traditionally features layers of succulent spiced chicken, almonds, and eggs wrapped in crisp phyllo dough, and dusted with powdered sugar and cinnamon. It’s a dish that encapsulates the rich culinary heritage of Morocco. Here’s how you can bring this exquisite dish to your table.


For the filling:

  • 2 pounds chicken thighs or a whole chicken, cut into pieces
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup blanched almonds
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange blossom water (optional)

For the pastry:

  • 1 package phyllo dough, thawed
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • Powdered sugar and ground cinnamon for garnish


  1. Prepare the Chicken Filling
    1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and garlic, cooking until softened and fragrant.
    2. Add the chicken pieces to the pot, followed by the saffron, ground ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, black pepper, and salt. Stir well to coat the chicken with the spices.
    3. Add the chopped cilantro and parsley, then pour in the water. Bring the mixture to a simmer, cover the pot, and cook for about 30-40 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked and tender.
    4. Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the pot and let it cool slightly. Shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces, discarding the bones and skin.
  2. Prepare the Egg Mixture
    1. In the same pot with the remaining sauce, crack the eggs and whisk them into the sauce over low heat. Continue to stir until the eggs are cooked and the mixture has thickened. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Prepare the Almond Mixture
    1. In a skillet, toast the blanched almonds over medium heat until golden brown. Allow them to cool, then chop them finely or pulse them in a food processor.
    2. In a bowl, combine the chopped almonds with granulated sugar, ground cinnamon, and a splash of orange blossom water (if using).
  4. Assemble the Pastilla
    1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
    2. Lightly grease a round pie dish or a springform pan with melted butter.
    3. Layer 8-10 sheets of phyllo dough in the dish, brushing each sheet with melted butter before adding the next. Ensure that the sheets hang over the edges of the dish.
    4. Spread half of the shredded chicken evenly over the phyllo dough.
    5. Add the egg mixture on top of the chicken layer.
    6. Sprinkle the almond mixture over the eggs.
    7. Top with the remaining chicken.
    8. Fold the overhanging phyllo dough over the filling, brushing each layer with melted butter. Add a few more sheets of phyllo dough on top, tucking the edges into the sides of the dish and brushing each layer with butter.
  5. Bake the Pastilla
    1. Place the assembled pastilla in the preheated oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and crisp.
    2. Remove from the oven and let it cool slightly.
  6. Garnish and Serve
    1. Dust the top of the pastilla with powdered sugar and ground cinnamon before serving.
    2. Slice and serve warm, enjoying the harmonious blend of sweet and savory flavors.


Moroccan Chicken Pastilla is a feast for the senses, combining tender chicken, aromatic spices, and the crunch of almonds, all encased in a flaky pastry shell. This dish, with its rich history and complex flavors, is perfect for special occasions or when you want to impress your guests with a taste of Morocco. Enjoy making and savoring this exquisite culinary masterpiece!

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