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How to make Moroccan bastilla | Dine & Discover

Join us in a new video series as we learn about some of the region's famed dishes
Bastilla is traditionally served at weddings and other celebratory occasions (MEE)

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Hello. I'm Dina Macki. Welcome to the eighth episode of Dine & Discover.

In the coming weeks I'll be taking you through a series of recipes famed across the MENA region that you can easily recreate in your own homes. 

This week's recipe takes us to Morocco, a country known for its rich Amazigh culture, its ancient markets filled with spices and, of course, its unique cuisine. 

Variations of this dish are known in other North African countries. The Moroccan version we are spotlighting here is so filling it encompasses breakfast, lunch and dessert all wrapped into one. From scrambled eggs to shredded chicken and icing sugar, this dish will tantalise your tastebuds thanks to the delectable filling wrapped in the crunchiest pastry ever! 

If you are unfamiliar with warqa pastry, the word "warqa" means leaf, because of how thin the pastry is. However, it's also known as "brik" pastry, which is the traditional Amazigh name - although across Turkey, the Balkans and the Middle East you may find it referred to as "borek" - which is essentially thin pastry filled with anything savoury.

It can be quite daunting if you haven’t made it before, but give the pan a chance to adjust to the mixture being spread on it, remember to work quickly and use a good brush for painting the batter and you won’t go wrong.


Recipe

Serves: 4-6 people

Preparation and cooking time: Preparation: 1 hour 30 minutes. Cooking: 30 minutes

Bastilla

1. Ingredients: 

Warqa*

  • 250g plain flour
  • 3 tbsp fine semolina 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 400ml water 

*Alternitively you can substitute the warqa pastry for ready-made filo pastry, which can be purchased from Middle Eastern supermarkets 

Chicken filling

  • Olive oil
  • 6 large boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 100ml water
  • pinch of saffron
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

Egg filling

  • 4 large eggs
  • 100g flaked almonds
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • Juice of half an orange
  • Fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 30g melted butter

Garnish

  • 1 egg, beaten, to glaze
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar, to garnish

2. Method:

Warqa

1. In a bowl, add in your plain flour, fine semolina, salt, apple cider vinegar, olive oil and water. Whisk together until completely smooth; your batter needs to be very watery - similar to crepe batter. 

2. To make your warqa, you’ll need a small saucepan on a medium heat with boiling water and a crepe/pancake pan set on top. The boiling water will allow the pan to be heated evenly. 

3. Brush your pan with a small amount of olive oil. Take your brush, dip it into the warqa batter, and brush your pan until it’s evenly coated with a thin layer of batter. Allow to cook until you see the edges of the warqa coming away from the side of the pan. Gently peel off and place on a sheet of greaseproof paper.  

4. Continue this process until all your batter is finished, layering each warqa with greaseproof paper in between to prevent them from sticking. 

Warqa

Bastilla filling

1. Take your pre-washed boneless chicken thighs and add to your stockpot with your ground ginger, cinnamon, turmeric and a pinch of saffron. Add some water, but don’t completely cover the chicken. Allow to simmer on a medium heat for roughly 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through - don’t let your chicken dry out, you’ll need some of the stock water later. 

2. In a separate pan, caramelise your onions and garlic. 

3. Once your chicken is done, remove the chicken from the stock, shred it into fine pieces and add it to your caramelised onions. Mix well and leave aside for later. 

4. In a bowl, crack your eggs and whisk together with some chopped parsley. Add them to a pan with olive oil and add a small amount of your chicken stock water. Turn the heat on low and gently stir. Don’t allow the eggs to dry out too fast - add more stock water as you go. 

5. As your eggs begin to scramble slightly, add in your flaked almonds and icing sugar. At this stage you can add some orange blossom water if you wish, but I prefer using the juice of half an orange. Once your eggs are cooked, set aside for later. 
 

Assembling your bastilla

1. Preheat your oven to 200C/Gas mark 6/400F

2. Take an 8-10in loose-bottom baking tin, line the sides and bottom with your warqa, allowing them to hang over the edge. Begin filling the tin with a layer of chicken and egg, finishing with chicken. Close the overhanging warqa over the chicken and then top off with some more warqa, tucking them in at the edges. 

Filling Bastilla

3. Whisk one egg in a separate bowl and brush over the top of your assembled bastilla. 

4. Place in the oven for roughly 15 minutes until it’s golden brown. 

5. Once done, generously dust with icing sugar, sprinkles of ground cinnamon and flaked almonds. 

Cutting Bastilla

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