Saturday, November 21, 2009

Photo Essay - Moroccan B'stilla Recipe.

The View from Fez has had the pleasure in the last few weeks of hosting legendary young Australian chef Katerina Annels. While in Fez we sent her out on assignment to discover the traditional way to make b'stilla. This is one of the signature dishes of Morocco and as Katerina reports, it is relatively simple to make. Here is an excerpt of her report and her photographs. The full story can be seen on our View from Fez Photo Journal

While in Fez I have discovered waraka, a paper thin bread used for both savouries and sweets. Somewhat like filo ( if you use a few layers) - this stuff is fantastic! Experimenting with ways to use waraka (do i feel another article coming on?) I have decided that I like it better then filo, as it gives a beautiful crisp golden exterior when baked. Yum.

Imagine my delight when Thami, from Thami's restaurant, on learning of my quest to find alternative uses of waraka, offered to show me the process of making traditional B'stilla.

Waraka and almonds ready for b'stilla

I arrive early in the morning, Thami is out shopping, buying everthing fresh for that day. Hasania is in the kitchen preparing the vegetable dishes (before the meat arives). When Thami comes back from shopping I am greeted with a smile, a tour of the kitchen, a taste of everything that's going (cooked or not) and a big bag of spices, 'so I can cook good Moroccan food at home'. Next I am dragged down the street, sat down and given a bowl of heated preserved camel meat with eggs. Before I can take more than a bite (suprisingly edible) I am whisked back up the street again. All the niceties taken care of, we are ready to begin making the b'stilla.

A small handful of almonds is ground down to crumbs in an old brass mortar and pestle.

A handful of rice, and some pre-soaked raisins with turmeric and onions are added to the mix

...a dash of olive oil

Half an onion, finely chopped, a big pinch of cinamon, a tablespoon of icing-sugar

Some sauce from the vegetable tagine bubbling in the corner is added (water would do) and then an egg

Mixed together and fried on the flat grill. I guess that the chicken would be added here, for some reason, my limited language skills cannot discover, we are making one without chicken, or more traditionally, pigeon.

See the full recipe here on the View from Fez Photo Journal


Anonymous said...

The photos made the recipe look easy but have heard it takes time and talent to make those sheets of pastry. I've had b'stilla one time and was amazed at the lightness of it, reminded me of the first time I tasted couscous (had thought it would be heavy like rice) or fresh figs. Thanks for the photo-essay and instructions, would love to learn to make this dish one day.

Tim said...

Buying the pastry first is best... but you can use filo pastry although I don't think it is as good

Helen Ranger said...

Yes, you'd have to be really dedicated to actually make the pastry yourself. In the medina, you can get 10 sheets of waraka for Dh10, but filo would make a good substitute if you're not in Morocco.

Alsul - Alentejo said...

Would love to learn to make this dish one day.