Posted by: DancingQueen | December 14, 2009

Moroccan Bastilla (B’Stella, Bastiyya, Pastilla, etc)

Moroccan Style Food: The Bastilla, B'stella, Pastilla, etc!

The Finished Bastilla

Pronounced “Bsteeya” or “Bas-tee-yah” this moroccan appetizer has been a family favorite for years!  The bastilla is a confused dish…is it an appetizer? a main course? a dessert?  Layer upon layer of super thin pastry are folded around layers of seasoned egg, shredded chicken, and sweet toasted almonds.  Cinnamon and powdered sugar crown the top and it is often served with a slice of citrus (orange) and some fresh greens (parsley or cilantro, mirroring what makes the inside a minty hue).  There is no delicate way to eat a bastilla – I have tried fork and knife, wrapped in a napkin, and sliced into wedges like a pizza – all have resulted in a small cloud of cinnamon-y sugar and cracking phyllo dough that is reminiscent of Godzilla making wreckage of Toyko. I first had the chicken version (bastilla is traditionally made with squab aka young pigeon) at Restaurant Marrakesh in Epcot’s

Moroccan pavilion in Orlando, FL. Walt Disney World is most definitely the happiest place on Earth and this dish quickly sky-rocketed to one of my TOP 5.  Restaurant Marrakesh also offers a seafood version of the bastilla with the layers of crispy pastry surrounding shrimp, grouper, mushrooms, egg, vermicelli, and onions.  Also, they may use the traditional Moroccan warqa (also spelled oarka) that is round in shape – I noticed a bit of difference in my flaky pastry as opposed to the delicious snack I enjoy in Orlando.  The bastilla appetizers at Restaurant Marrakesh are approximately $7-8 and 5-6″ in diameter.

The following recipe yields two 8-10″ bastillas for a total cost of approximately $20:


1 package Phyllo Dough (or warqa)1
0.5 stick / 4TBS Unsalted Butter2
3 pounds Chicken (skinless, quartered, bone-in)3
1 cup Yellow Onion (finely diced, approx 2 small)
5 sprigs Cilantro (discard stem, chop the rest)
10 sprigs Parsley (flat-leaf, discard stem, chop)
1/2 tsp Cinnamon (ground)
1/2 tsp Ginger (ground)
1/2 tsp Black Pepper (ground)
1/4 tsp Turmeric (ground)
1/4 tsp Nutmeg (ground)
pinch Salt (ground)
pinch Cloves (ground)
pinch Saffron (a few strands is fine)
1 cup Water
6 Eggs (large)
1.5 cups / 6 oz. Almonds (slivered)
0.25 / 2 TBS Unsalted Butter
1.25 sticks / 10 TBS Unsalted Butter
At Least 1 cup Confectioner’s Powdered Sugar4
At Least 1/2 ounce Cinnamon (ground)5
1 warqa can be found in specialty stores, frozen pastry aisle
2  two sticks of butter total will be used
3 or 2 cornish hens or 3 squabs or 6 quails, I used 3 large bone-in chicken breasts
4 preferablly in a salt shaker or other jar with lit with holes
5 I ran out of cinnamon by the end of this recipe, I started with about 1/2 ounce
Bastilla: Browning the ChickenBastilla: Browning the Chicken

1. Thaw the Phyllo dough in the fridge overnight

2. Melt 1/2 stick of butter in deep skillet or pot (note, this item should have a lid) – add the chicken, bones down and heat on medium until brown (5 min)

Bastilla: Browned Chicken

Bastilla: Browned Chicken

3. Flip and brown tops (7 min) check for sticking

4. Finely dice the onion(s) and sauté until soft (2 min)

Bastilla: Diced Onions

Bastilla: Diced Onions

5. Wash and dry the cilantro and parsley and cut away stems

6. measure all the spices and add them to the pot with the herbs and the water

7. Add chicken back in, breasts down, and set to rolling boil

8. Once boil is achieved, lower temperature to a simmer and cover – cook for 45 min

Bastilla: Pulled Spiced Chicken

Bastilla: Pulled Spiced Chicken

9. Remove chicken and let cool until you can pull the meat from the bones and cut up into pieces – I re-added the meat for another few minutes to get each piece coated with spice

Bastilla: The Spiced Egg Mixture (Drained)

Bastilla: The Spiced Egg Mixture (Drained)

10. Crack eggs into container and beat, pour into steaming liquid, stirring constantly, until eggs are set (approx 8-10 min — Note: This was very very weird and liquid-y)

Bastilla: The Eggs

Bastilla: The Eggs

11. Pour egg mixture into a colander over a bowl and push with spatula, let drain

12. Melt 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) of butter in a large non-stick skillet and add almonds, sauté until light golden brown and quickly spread out on a plate with a paper towel to cool.  I did not use all the almonds (maybe a handful leftover for snacking or for over ice cream)

13. Lightly butter two shallow rimmed pans and melt the remaining butter in a bowl

Bastilla: Layering Phyllo, Cinnamon, Sugar, and Butter

Bastilla: Layering Phyllo, Cinnamon, Sugar, and Butter

14. Moving very quickly and keeping the phyllo covered with a towel between lifting sheets: Add two sheets to each pan, making sure to butter between the overlap (find your pastry brush or in a pinch use fingers or spatula) and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar and more butter before adding another layer of phyllo

15. Place half of a sheet of phyllo in the middle of the pan and c+s+b before adding the other half of the sheet, this will slightly reinforce the bottom

16. Layer half the mixtures into each pan: egg, chicken, almonds and sprinkle with c+s (I see no reason why you couldn’t mix it all together and add at once over layering)

17. Layer two more sheets of phyllo, reinforce with a folded sheet, remembering to c+s+b inbetween each layer

18. Fold edges over and butter the top

19. Bake at 350ºF for approximately 20 minutes on the middle shelf (please check for golden brown)

20. Flip, folded edge side down, this will likely call for two spatulas and ninja skills, bake 4 more minutes

Moroccan Style Food: The Bastilla, B'stella, Pastilla, etc!

The Finished Bastilla

21. Golden Brown has been achieved, remove from oven let cool, fend off family members, and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and a tic-tac-toe of cinnamon (use a side-to-side motion as opposed to pouring or tapping for a line of spice).

Pete Has A Slightly Different Method
iFood TV Bastilla making video


  1. […] a skillet on medium, add almond slivers, sauté until golden brown (as in step 12 of the previous bastilla recipe), remove from heat, let almonds rest on a paper towel over a plate and blot away excess […]

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