Sunday 18 August 2013

What is a pastilla?

Essaouira is perhaps better known for its military architecture
While Essaouira in Morocco might be more famed for its dramatic coastline and 18th-Century fortifications, I took the opportunity to savour another world heritage - a pastilla. You can get them all throughout the North African country, so visiting Essaouira isn't essential to sample one - but it's good if like to eat your dinner while feeling protected from military invasion.

What is a pastilla? It's a classic Moroccan dish - essentially a sweet and savoury pie. Traditionally the pie is made of fledgling pigeons - but these days pigeons are apparently hard to get hold of (they've clearly never visited Trafalgar Square), so the Moroccans tend to use shredded chicken instead. The meat is all wrapped in thin and cripsy werqa dough and topped with cinnamon and almonds.

I ordered a pastilla from a restaurant in Essaouira which I have unfortunately forgotten the name of. The pastilla was delivered to me proudly by the chef - and what a masterpiece it was! This is certainly one of the more ornate presentations of a pie that I've seen. There is a real infusion of sweet and savoury here - and the oranges make this quite the show-stopper. Inside is shredded chicken that has been slow cooked in spices.

morocco pastilla
A pastilla

I won't be reviewing the pastilla, because it's not really a pie. However, I will say it was very tasty and I highly recommend you try one if you visit Morocco.


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