Bisteeya (also known as pastilla, bastilla, b'stilla or bstilla) is a Morrocan meat pie traditionally made with a squab filling in a Phyllo-like crust. It combines sweet and savory flavors; it classically has a savory meat layer and a crunchy and sweet almond layer. When finished the pie is dusted with powdered sugar and a bit of cinnamon. This is my interpretation of bisteeya in a crispy wonton form. The fried wonton wrappers mimic the phyllo crust. With the barely sweetened, savory, spiced filling and dusting of powdered sugar and cinnamon they become a delighful little appetizer. The filling can be made a day ahead, so the wontons just need to be stuffed and fried when you're ready to serve them. (Cooks note: I admit to eating more than a few bites of the filling, so my estimate of the number this makes may be off a bit!)
Test Kitchen Notes
HardLikeArmor's bisteeya wontons are destined to be a new family tradition! We loved the sweet and savory aspect of this appetizer—and we are a family that celebrates the appetizer! I usually do not like to serve appetizers that have to be fried, but my new warming tray helped them to keep a little of their crispiness and the latecomers had to hear the guests say, "If you'd only been here earlier...you think they're good now..." —lorigoldsby
about 3 dozen
8 to 10 saffron threads
½ cup water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ medium onion, finely diced
1 medium garlic clove, minced
½ jalepeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed, minced
¾ teaspoon ras el hanout, divided
½ teaspoon table salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black peppper
1 cup chicken stock (or low sodium chicken broth)
3 boneless skinless chicken thighs (.5 to .6 lbs), trimmed of excess fat
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1 & ½ tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1/8 of a preserved lemon- rinsed & pulp removed – minced (or substitute 1 t lemon zest)
Combine saffron and water in a small bowl to let the saffron “bloom.” Set aside.
Melt butter in medium sized sauce pan over medium heat. Add onions, and cook until softened and just starting to brown about 5 minutes. Add garlic, jalepeno, ½ teaspoon ras el hanout, salt and pepper. Cook until fragrant, stirring constantly about 30 to 60 seconds. Add saffron water, chicken stock, and chicken thighs. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook until chicken thighs are fully cooked and tender, turning them once, about 15 minutes. Remove chicken thighs to a plate, and set aside.
Return the cooking liquid mixture to medium heat, and when it starts to simmer pour the beaten eggs in a stream into the liquid while whisking. Cook until the egg is set, about 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the mixture through a mesh strainer (you may want to collect the liquid portion, and save it for adding to soup or something as it is delicious.) Allow the egg mixture to drain for 10 minutes.
While egg mixture is draining, finely dice your cooked chicken and place it into a medium bowl. Add the almonds, parsley, cilantro, preserved lemon, sugar, ¼ teaspoon of ras el hanout, and the drained egg mixture. Mix well to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper as needed. Mixture can be cooled to room temperature, then covered and refrigerated at this point if desired.
To fill the wontons: Place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the center of the wonton wrapper (you want as much filling as you can get, but still be able to seal the wrappers.) Brush edges of wrapper with water (or egg white - if you want to stuff them a bit ahead of frying them egg white makes a better glue) then fold in half to form a triangle. Pinch edges together well to get a good seal.
To fry the wontons: If you have a deep fryer heat it to 350º F, and fry the wontons in uncrowded batches until golden brown. Otherwise heat about ½ inch of vegetable oil in a large skillet to about 350º F. While the oil is heating combine the powdered sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl or sugar shaker. Fry wontons on one side until golden brown, then flip and fry the other side until golden brown. You may fry as many at a time as you can fit into the pan without crowding. Drain fried wontons on paper towels. Lightly dust with powdered sugar and cinnamon mixture. Serve warm for maximum crispiness, they also taste good at room temperature but do lose a little crunch.
I am an amateur baker and cake decorator. I enjoy cooking, as well as eating and feeding others. I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my husband and our menagerie. I enjoy outdoor activities including hiking, mushroom hunting, tide pooling, beach combing, and snowboarding.