bastilla A popular Moroccan recipe. It is made of filo pastry, filled with chicken and almonds cooked in an aromatic syrup. The contract of salty and sweet taste gives this dish its distinctive flavour.450g filo pastry1 chicken (1 kg)

½ – ¾ cup butter

350g chopped onions, about 2 cups

¾ teaspoon finely chopped garlic

water to cook the chicken (about 2 cups)

1/3 cup chopped parsley

3 cups chopped coriander

1/3 teaspoon ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon saffron powder

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/3 teaspoon ground dried ginger

¾ cup sugar

1/3 cup orange blossom water

¾ teaspoon salt

175g blanched, skinned almonds (about 1 1/3 cup)

5-4 eggs, slightly beaten

1. In a medium pot, heat 3 tablespoons butter. Stir in the onion and garlic until soft. Stir in parsley, coriander and spices.

2. Add the chicken whole or cut into four pieces to reduce cooking time. Cover and cook the chicken for few min. Cover with water. Cover and cook on low heat until it is ready. Season to taste and cook for few more min.

3. Remove the chicken, remove the skin and de-bone, then flake by hand.

4. Return the chicken to the pot. Add sugar and orange blossom. Occasionally stir over heat until the liquid is absorbed.

5. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in the almonds until just golden. Remove from the butter. Pound or grind in a food processor.

6. Heat 2 tablespoons butter. Stir in the eggs. Remove as soon as they are cooked.

7. Generously butter a round oven dish or tray. Line with half of the lightly buttered filo layers.

8. Spread the cooked chicken mixture on top of the filo. Cover with the remaining buttered filo layers. Generously butter the top layer and fold the upper layer under the bottom layer to seal the pastry. Press and arrange the pastry all along the edge.

9. Bake in a pre-heated hot oven 200º C – 400º F for 20 – 30 min. or until cooked and golden.

10. Remove from heat, sprinkle with icing sugar, ground almonds and ground cinnamon. Serve warm or at room temperature…