Chicken bistilla

Chicken bistilla

A Month in Marrakesh
David Loftus


Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
garlic, finely sliced
1 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
1 teaspoon see method for ingredients
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
400ml chicken stock, warmed
2 eggs, beaten
800g cooked chicken, shredded
50g sultanas, soaked in warm water
80g almonds, chopped
1 orange, juiced
50g butter, melted for brushing, (plus extra 150g if using filo pastry)
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
8 sheets warkha pastry
or 12 sheets filo pastry
150g butter, melted, (if using filo pastry)
icing sugar, for dusting

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
green salad


  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, then add the onion and garlic and sauté until softened. Add the saffron threads, quatre épices, ginger, coriander, cinnamon and nutmeg and cook, stirring continuously, for 2–3 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the liquid has reduced by half.
  2. Remove from the heat, then add the eggs, shredded chicken, sultanas, almonds, orange juice and stir well. Allow to cool, then season with salt and pepper.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C and lightly grease a 22cm pie dish. If using filo pastry, brush the pastry sheets with the melted butter and stack them on top of each other.
  4. Place four sheets of overlapping warkha pastry, or six sheets of filo pastry, on the bottom of the prepared pie dish. Spoon in the chicken mixture, then top with the remaining warkha or filo pastry sheets. Pull the edges of the pastry away from rim of pie dish, so that they crimp up a little during baking. Brush the top of the bistilla with melted butter. Bake in the oven for 20–30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden.
  5. Remove from the oven and cool for 3 minutes before transferring to a serving plate. Dust with icing sugar and serve sliced with a simple fresh green salad.
North African
A Month in Marrakesh
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