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What is the origin of Moroccan Pastilla and how do we prepare and make it ?

                 Due to the reconquest of Granada, the Spaniards were driven out of their country, all this during the period of the fall of Andalusia in 1492. Their country of refuge was Morocco. So, they arrived in large numbers, bringing with them their expertise and their culinary skills as well as a multitude of recipes, including pastilla. But it is not only the Moors, the Pastilla is also originated and known by the Spanish Jews.

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                “Pastilla” is derived from the term pastel, which means or tartlet or leaf. It can be sweet as well as salty and among its key ingredients, there is pigeon or chicken or seafood, almonds and cinnamon, sometimes.

Pastilla is found in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, and although the name is united, the ingredients vary from country to country or even more, from city to another.

In Algeria, depending on the city, the ingredients and techniques vary, we find Pastilla with almonds and boiled eggs. In Tlemcen, in the town of Annaba, it is cooked using nuts and has the name of Razima . It’s another story in Constantine, where it is prepared with pistachios and pigeons. When it comes to the capital, the main ingredients are spinach and minced meat, and for the Oran’s people, it’s fish and seafood and it’s considered as a local specialty.

In Morocco, the classic recipe, originally from Fez, based on pigeon and almond, is often served in wedding parties and other occasions. There are other recipes such as Pastilla with fish (that tastes the same as the one prepared in Oran), chicken, lamb, and lemon pastela, without almonds or sugar and are particularly present in Tetouan.  In Tunisia, Pastilla is under the name of tajine malsouka.

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Now let’s move on to the preparation of this dish.

Chicken Pastilla :

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium chicken (1.5 kg)
  • 200 g of butter
  • 1 pack of parsley
  • 4 onions, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger powder
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup of oil
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon powder
  • 1 teaspoon of glazed sugar
  • salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of icing sugar for garnish

For the filling:

  • 250 g peeled almonds
  • 2 teaspoons of powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of orange blossom water

Preparation steps:

1- Cut the chicken into small pieces and then, put it in a saucepan with a little bit of butter, chopped onions, chopped parsley, saffron, cinnamon, salt, pepper, sugar, a cup of water and cook it for 20 minutes.

2- Once cooked, separate the chicken from the sauce then remove its bone.

3- Put the sauce back on the fire and stir it constantly until the water evaporates completely.  Add the eggs one by one, stirring vigorously after each egg until you got a thick, creamy texture.

4- In a food processor, place the two roasted almonds in the oven with cinnamon, powdered sugar and orange blossom water.

5- Pre – heat the oven to 180/190°C.

6- In a round oven dish, place three or four leaves of Pastilla with melted butter.  The surface that contains butter should always face the top, and do not forget to let some of the leaves spill over onto the outer surface of the dish.

7- After cooking the sauce and the chicken, let them cool.

8- After that, put a layer of chicken in crumbs on the leaves and spread them over to cover the entire surface.

9- Then lay out the almonds that you have already prepared.

10-Bend the over – flowing part of the leaves inside and press gently until they stick to the almond layer.

11 Then cover it all with melted buttered pastilla leaves to close it meticulously.

12- Pour the rest of the melted butter on the surface of the pastilla and after that, place it in the pre heated oven and cook it for a period of 30 minutes. And finally it’s ready to be served (it’s better to serve it while it’s still hot)

Bonne appétit!

Seafood Pastilla:

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Ingredients:

  • 250 grams of Pastilla leaves
  • 300 g of peeled shrimp
  • 300 g of squid
  • 300 g of white fish, cut into large pieces
  • 100 g of rice noodles
  • 80 g of green olives, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 lemon, cut into pieces
  • 150 g of mushrooms, sliced
  • 100 g of melted butter
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 5 cl of olive oil
  • 1 clove of chopped garlic
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of harissa
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley and coriander
  • 1 egg

Preparation:

1- Put the pan on a low heat and add three tablespoons of butter, squid and SHRIMP, and let them cook for 3 minutes, then set them aside in a bowl.

2- Do the same for chopped white fish.

3- In a pan and over medium heat, heat olive oil, red onions, garlic, mushrooms, mash, olives and spices for 5 minutes. At the end of cooking, add lemon, parsley and coriander.

4- Soak the noodles in hot water for 5 minutes, then drain them and cut them.

5- In a large bowl, carefully mix the fishes, seafood, and the mixture of mushrooms and onions. Adjust the seasoning then add lemon juice .

6- Separate the stuffing into four portions.

7- Grease a small round mold, in which you lay bastila’s leaves, and cover it with a second sheet so that it holds well. Put a little topping on the pastilla sheet, then fold the edges, and hatch them with butter and scrambled eggs so that they’ll close well.

8- Decorate your pastilla with a small amount of stuffing or cheese.

9- Bake in the oven preheated to 180 °C.

10- Remove from the oven as soon as it becomes golden.

Then Voilà ! You made a Pastilla .

              Pastilla is very rich in flavors, delicious and easy to prepare.

Do you also want to have a taste of Moroccan cuisine?

Your answer might be yes, that’s why we provided you with the recipe and made sure to adapt it to every range of cooking lovers . All you must do now is enjoying it!

              Do not hesitate to share with us your awesome Pastillas. We look forward to reading you and meet at the comment section 😉