Sweet Moroccan pastry filled with saffron-spiced minced pigeon dusted with cinnamon and sugar.
Just now while researching how it is made, I discovered that this delicious treat I had while in Tangier likely contained pigeon meat. Pastilla (pronounced ‘bastila’) is a traditional Andalusi Arab dish that is often served in Morocco as an appetizer during special meals. It is typically filled with ground pigeon meat, but sometimes chicken or offal (shudder). I honestly can’t a say for sure that the dish I had contained pigeon meat–at the time I assumed it was chicken, but it did have a slightly different texture (eek). Had I known it might have been filled with pigeon I’m not sure I would have tried it. I’m glad I did because whatever it was, it was incredibly delicious.
This parcel-sized pastilla was a surprising but delightful combination of sweet and savoury unlike anything else I’ve ever tried. The outside shell was made with layers of pastry dough (similar to phyllo) that had been stuffed with savoury minced meat delectably flavoured with saffron and other spices, and then dusted with cinnamon and a ton of powdered sugar. The result was a heady mixture of savoury meat pie interspersed with layers of cinnamony sweetness.
It was so good, I’ve been researching how to make it myself at home (using chicken). 😉
Restaurant Kasbah is a corner restaurant that serves amazing traditional moorish cuisine. It is located somewhere in the center of Tangier’s maze-like medina, but I couldn’t tell you how to find it!