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Recipe by Walter Trupp

Perhaps the best known of Moroccan dishes, this has at least six different variations in its spelling alone!

  • 300 gms chicken legs, deboned
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1½ teaspoons turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon saffron
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1½ tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • Chilli flakes/harissa (optional)
  • Salt
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 750 mls chicken stock
  • 4 egg whites
  • ¼ cup chopped spring onions
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped almonds
  • ⅓ cup demerara sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • Melted butter
  • 1 bag frozen filo pastry, defrosted
  1. Bastilla: Combine spices in a saucepan with the stock. Add the chicken meat, bring to a simmering point and slowly poach chicken for about 15 minutes.  Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Remove chicken and shred.  Place chicken in a bowl, pour stock/spice mixture over, cover and chill.  Bring to room temperature, warm slightly and strain off stock. Remove cinnamon sticks from chicken mixture.
  3. Whisk 100 mls stock with 4 egg whites and softly scramble in a non-stick pan. (Reserve remaining stock for sauce.)   Fold eggs into chicken mixture and season to taste with salt. Stir in ¼ cup chopped spring onions.  The mixture should not be very wet. (approximately 750 ml at this point).
  4. Combine almonds, powdered sugar and cinnamon in small bowl.
  5. Take 3 – 4 sheets filo pastry and quickly brush between sheets with melted butter.
  6. With 4 layered buttered sheets divide stack into quarters or sixths depending on the dimension of sheets to make 4 individual pies. Place a large ice cream scoop of the chicken mixture in the middle of the quartered sheet; shape with hands. Sprinkle nut mixture on top and quickly bring corners over on top, flip over and place seam side down on a non-stick baking sheet. You should be able to adjust shape if necessary to make them uniform or sometimes I bring the 4 corners straight up, together and twist, like a pouch.  You can refrigerate ahead at this point. (It is important for chicken mixture not to be too wet or it will soak through the pastry).
  7. Brush with melted butter. Bake at 180 degrees for 12 – 15 minutes or until golden. Dust with powdered sugar.
  8. Sauce: Heat 1 cup of remaining stock/spice mix and bring to the boil. Place 1 teaspoon of cornflour in a small bowl, dissolve in 2 tablespoons cold water and stir into boiling stock, whisking constantly. Season with salt to taste.
  9. You can add ½ teaspoon harissa if a spicier sauce is desired for your Bastilla.

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