We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Pastilla?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
DelightedCooking is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At DelightedCooking, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Pastilla, which may be alternately called Bastilla, Bstilla, or Bsteeya, is an interesting North African dish, particularly favored in Moroccan cuisine, that combines the flavors and textures of savory meat, crunchy pastry and sweet spices. Though the traditional dish in Morocco or other parts of Northern Africa may be made with squab or pigeon meat, in the US, you’re likely to see chicken substituted instead. The chicken is cooked and shredded and may be combined with toasted and ground almonds.

The thing that makes pastilla unusual, is that the meat and other ingredients are then formed into a pastry made with filo dough. In Moroccan restaurants, pastilla is typically one of the offerings, and when the restaurants serve in the traditional manner, where hands instead of silverware are used, a large pastilla is served to the guests, who then break off pieces with their hands. Pastilla is usually topped with cinnamon and powdered sugar, creating an unusual but delicious taste, and making it quite different from European meat pies and pasties.

A word to the wise if you do happen to be dining in a traditional Moroccan or North African restaurant: Be careful when grabbing bits of pastilla after it is first served. The interior can be extremely hot. It’s quite easy to burn the tongue or the fingers if you take too big a portion at first. Also use only the right hand for tearing off pieces of this dish or for any other food served. The left hand is used for toilet purposes in Morocco, and it is considered highly rude to use your left hand to grab food. These traditions are relaxed outside of the Arabic world, but should be closely attended to if you happen to be in Morocco.

There are a number of variants to pastilla. You’ll find many different national cuisines have adopted its use for sweet desserts. Tarts with pears and honey in filo dough may be called pastillas, though they tend toward the sweet only and not the savory. Such pastillas are found often in French cooking, and of course, French cooking not only influenced Moroccan cuisine but has also been influence by it.

You’ll also find numerous online recipes if you wish to try to make one of these pastries. With easy to purchase filo dough on hand, it’s actually not difficult to create one. The main difficulty for some is that many recipes call for the chicken and spices to be cooked the day prior, and then chilled overnight. Some recipes also recommend beating eggs into the chicken prior to enveloping the chilled meat in pastry dough. This creates a more custardlike interior, but some recipes find this step unnecessary. You will have a drier pastilla if you omit the eggs.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.