What is Pastilla?

What is Pastilla? A sweet and savoury meat pie made with crisp filo pastry, a Pastilla is a traditional Moroccan dish, usually made with squab (young pigeon).

As squabs can sometimes be hard to come by there are several variations on the Pastilla theme, most commonly shredded chicken and, occasionally, fish or offal. The filling also contains onions, hard boiled eggs and almonds spiced with cinnamon.

Pastilla (pronounced ‘bastiyya’ or, in Berber, ‘bastela’), is generally served as an entrée at the beginning of a special meal. The filling is prepared a day ahead and is made by browning the meat pieces in oil.

The pieces are then transferred to a bowl with the remaining oil, onions, water, parsley, and various spices. This mixture is then thickened to form a custard-like sauce with beaten eggs and chilled overnight.

The Pastilla is then formed using layers of a type of filo pastry. The meat mixture is added to the centre of each sheet and formed into a sort of pasty; after cooking, the pastilla is sprinkled with icing sugar and, perhaps, more cinnamon and then served warm.

If you fancy having a go yourself you can find the recipe on our blog under ‘Simple Pastilla recipe – Traditional Moroccan Pastilla Made Easy’. Or, if you’re staying at BK, you can join one of our Marrakech cookery courses on site.

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