Serves 4

This crowd-pleasing dish is traditionally made for special occasions with pigeon meat.


For the chicken

1 ½ kilos chicken (preferably two breasts and two legs, bone-in)
The juice of 2 lemons
Chopped fresh parsley and coriander 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ras al hanout
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon turmeric
Salt and pepper, to taste
Just a pinch of freshly ground nutmeg 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced

For the eggs

4 eggs

For the almonds

140 grams raw almonds
2 tablespoons sunflower oil
1 tablespoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons sugar

To assemble

4 large circular sheets of filo pastry (or cut rectangular sheets into circles if needed)
1 egg
1 tablespoon butter, melted

To top

Powdered sugar


Rub chicken with lemon juice and plenty of salt, and remove any fat. Rinse under running water before placing in a pot with the olive oil, onion, and ½ a teaspoon of salt. Cover and cook over medium high heat for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, blanche the almonds and then fry in sunflower oil until golden brown. Strain out any excess oil and then toss into a grinder with sugar and cinnamon. Blitz until very finely ground. Set aside.

Once chicken is cooked through, remove from the pot and set on a plate to cool. Turn the heat up under the remaining sauce until bubbling and drop in four eggs. Whisk and stir until mixture resembles a soft scramble. Set aside.

Once chicken has cooled for 10-15 minutes, remove the bones and shred finely.

To assemble the pastilla, lay out two sheets of filo pastry flat on a large workspace. Place the chicken mixture in the middle and flatten until about 2 centimeters thick. Be sure to leave about 5 centimeters of uncovered filo dough around the edges. Then layer on the egg mixture, flattening to about 1 centimeter thick, and finally the almond mixture which will be about half a centimeter thick.

Crack an egg into a bowl and whisk. This is your adhesive. Fold the uncovered edges of filo dough up and on top of the filling. Then brush the visible part of the filo dough with egg wash. Top with 2 more sheets of filo dough, and fold them underneath the pastilla to seal in the filling. Brush egg wash all over the top of the pastilla, and then brush with melted butter. Bake in a preheated 180º C (350º F) oven for 45 minutes, or until golden brown.

Top with powdered sugar and cinnamon. Serve.


  • This crowd-pleasing dish is traditionally made for special occasions with pigeon meat.
  • For a vegetarian tagine, swap in 1 ½ kilos shredded mixed vegetables and vermicelli for chicken and follow the recipe as normal.
  • For a seafood pastilla, sauté half a kilo each shelled shrimp and cubed white fish with 2 bay leaves, a teaspoon each cumin, paprika, and salt, half a teaspoon ground ginger, two minced garlic cloves, olive oil, chopped fresh parsley and coriander, and a handful of dried black mushrooms in a pot over medium high heat. Boil the prawns separately and then shell before adding in with the rest of the seafood. Once combined, add one tablespoon of tomato paste and a cup of water. In a separate bowl, soak the vermicelli in warm water for five minutes to soften. Drain, cut to desired length, and add in with the seafood. Squeeze a lemon on top and throw in a bit of harissa if you want some spice. Once cooked through, remove the bay leaf and cool. Assemble the pastilla as stated above. Bake, and then top with shredded edam cheese once out of the oven. Serve immediately.

View PDF recipe card