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Recipe from “Cooking at the Kasbah” by Kitty Morse (w/ some personal notes adapted in parentheses). - Noura Skakri

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  • Filling -
  • 2T veg oil (I use olive)
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 C minced fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 2 T minced fresh cilantro (I use a bit more)
  • 1/4 t ground turmeric
  • 8 threads saffron, crushed
  • 1 C water
  • 1 t ground ginger
  • 1 1/4 t ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 2/3 C powdered sugar
  • Almond mixture -
  • 1/2 C whole blanched almonds (I used split almonds)
  • 1/2 C powdered sugar
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 12 sheets phyllo dough, thawed
  • 1 C (2 sticks) butter, melted (I completely skip this and used spray butter stuff)
  • ground cinnamon & powdered sugar for garnish
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  • 1

    Filling: In a large saucepan over med heat, heat the oil. Saute’ onion until golden (6-8 min). Add chicken, parsley, cilantro, turmeric, saffron, water, ginger, & cinnamon. Cover & cook until the chicken is tender (20-25 min). Transfer chicken to a bowl or plate and set aside to cool. Let the sauce continue to simmer in the pan and add the beaten eggs, salt, pepper, & sugar. Stir constantly until the eggs are scrambled. Shred the chicken & add it to the egg mixture. Set aside.

  • 2

    Almond mixture: In a blender or food processor, coarsely grind the almonds and mix w/ sugar & cinnamon. Set aside.

  • 3

    Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Remove 12 sheets of phyllo from the pkg and re wrap the remaining phyllo in its original wrap. Refrigerate for future use.

  • 4

    Stack the 12 sheets on a work surface and cover w/ a damp towel. Spray a little butter on a pizza pan or baking sheet. Layer 3 sheets of phyllo, lightly spraying each layer w/ butter. Sprinkle the 3rd sheet evenly w/ 1/2 of the almond mixture. Layer & butter 3 more sheets. Spread the chicken mixture evenly over the top, leaving a 1 1/2" border of phyllo. Fold over the edges to partially cover the chicken mixture. Layer & butter 3 more sheets over the chicken, sprinkling the remaining almond mixture evenly over the top. Layer & butter the last 3 sheets of phyllo over the almond mixture. Tuck the edges of the last 6 sheets under the b’stilla as you would a bed sheet (@ this point, I take another baking sheet and place it on top, then flip it over & seal the last 6 sheets of phyllo from bottom to top) - does that make sense?

  • 5

    Bake the b’stilla until golden brown (20-25 min). Place the powdered sugar in a fine-meshed sieve. Tap the sides of the sieve to cover the surface of the b’stilla lightly & evenly w/ sugar. Using thumb & forefinger, sprinkle ground cinnamon over the top (most people make patterns, I just lightly dust it). Serve immediately, before pastry becomes soggy.

  • 6

    **It took me a long time to finally make this b/c I thought it would be a really daunting task. It’s not - it’s a lot of steps, but it’s really easy and didn’t take as long as I thought.

  • 7

    Note: These can be prepared in advance and frozen uncooked in aluminum foil. It will keep up to 2 months in the freezer. No need to thaw before baking, but bake for 10 min extra if frozen.

  • 8

    **This makes about a 10" pie and easily serves 4 average plates.

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