Dinner or Dessert? Chowing Down on Pastilla in Morocco!
Welcome back to Morocco! We hope you brought your appetite — we’re about to introduce a tasty Moroccan dish that’s perfect for sweet tooths and meat lovers.
Imagine tasting a savory chicken pie, still warm from the oven. It’s crispy, flaky, and (believe it or not) topped with lots of cinnamon and lots of sugar.
If this flavor combination doesn’t sound particularly appetizing, you’re in for a surprise. We promise that it actually is, and if you don’t believe us, just ask the thousands of Moroccans who eat it every day.
What we’re describing is a dish called pastilla, and it is famous in Fez, one of the most beautiful cities in northern Morocco. (Think markets, mosques, tanneries, and so much more!)
Pastilla came about many years ago, and while its origins are not exactly clear, we do know that it was traditionally made with pigeon and that it incorporated culinary elements from Andalusia (southern Spain).
So, how is it made today? First comes the meat (usually chicken purchased directly from the butcher). The chicken is cooked until it’s tender, and it’s mixed with other ingredients too — such as parsley, onion, and almonds — to create a delicious stuffing for the pie.
Then the dough is made from scratch: flour, oil, water, and salt mixed are together, kneaded, and cooked over a hot metal surface. (The pastilla chefs use lots of oil to make the pastry just right!) The dough is then rolled out until it’s extremely thin.
The thin layers of dough are piled together, stuffed, and folded to create the beautiful pie. Before being baked, the pastilla is topped with lots of cinnamon and lots of sugar.
There are plenty of people in Morocco whose full-time job is to make pastilla — it’s that good, mainly because it’s the perfect mix of savory and sweet!
So, if you’re tired of eating tagine, couscous, and mint tea, then you might want to try some pastilla instead. After all, who wouldn’t you like it? It’s like skipping dinner and going straight to dessert!
Eager to learn more about Morocco? Check out our blog post on 10 things to know before visiting this country! And if you’d like to cook your very own pastilla, you’ll want to click here for one of our favorite recipes.