A Moroccan A Chicken Pie That Will Blow Your Mind

A simplified version of pastilla, the savory Moroccan pastry served on festive occasions, this recipe can be broken up so the process is part of the fun.

This recipe is from New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/15/dining/moroccan-chicken-pie.html

Though I am by no means an expert in Moroccan cuisine, I have long been an ardent admirer. Even before my first visit, I began dabbling, learning from cookbooks.

Over the years, I have become quite comfortable making a small repertoire of dishes of which I never tire: I love the abundant use of spices in Moroccan food, the frequent presence of lemons and green olives, the smell of steaming buttered couscous.

Some dishes are easily prepared; others, like pastilla (also known as b’stillah or bsteeya), a well-known savory pastry, require a definite commitment. This somewhat-simplified version involves a lot of steps, but it can be broken down so you can enjoy the process.Chicken thighs are braised until tender before being assembled into the pie.CreditDavid Malosh for The New York Times. Food Stylist: Simon Andrews.

I could eat it without cooking further!

The main work is braising the chicken, which is simmered to tenderness with onions and sweet spices, like turmeric, saffron, ginger, allspice and, especially, cinnamon. Torn into shreds, the perfumed chicken mixture must be rather highly seasoned.

You can make the chicken filling up to a day in advance of serving, or assemble the entire pie and refrigerate, unbaked, up to a day ahead. (The actual building of the pie takes relatively little time.)

In Morocco, thin pastry leaves called warqa are used to make the pie’s flaky layers; elsewhere, most cooks use more readily available phyllo, which is definitely recommended for beginners. (To learn more about making warqa, look online for videos of the process — fascinating, but a bit daunting.)

I like to assemble the pie in a 12-inch paella pan, but a large skillet or springform cake pan would work well. The pan is lined with seven layers of well-buttered phyllo sheets, which hang well beyond the pan’s edges. In goes the cooled filling, along with chopped toasted almonds and pistachios. (My version is dotted with lemony ricotta, rather than the more traditional lemony scrambled egg.) Then the overhanging phyllo is folded over the top and tucked in to make a compact pie.

The pie is baked until beautifully golden brown, then inverted onto a platter and served warm. The final step is dusting the pie generously with powdered sugar, like a thin layer of fallen snow. It might sound odd, but this combination of sweet flaky pastry and savory braised chicken is truly beguiling.

For Moroccan weddings and other festive occasions, pastilla is traditionally a first course, followed by many other celebratory dishes. At my house, it’s a fancy rich main course, followed by a guilt-assuaging bright green salad.

Recipe: Palestinian Red Lentil and Squash Soup with Za’atar Croutons — Around the World in 30 Soups

Around the World in 30 Soups: This month we’re collaborating with chefs, cookbook authors, and our own Kitchn crew to share a globetrotting adventure in soups from countries and cuisines around the world. Today’s stop: Palestine.

If there is one flavor that makes me think of the Palestinian kitchen, it is za’atar, a tangy and aromatic spice mix made from wild thyme, sesame, and sumac. Palestinians use za’atar on everything from yogurt dips, to roasted meats, to flatbreads — and here, it is used to make crunchy, tangy croutons to adorn an aromatic soup of roasted butternut squash and spiced lentils. Roasting the squash intensifies its flavor and sweetness, giving the soup a glorious silky texture that perfectly contrasts with the crispy croutons.

Yasmin Khan, author of Zaitoun: Recipes from the Palestinian Kitchen


Whipped Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake

This whipped lemon ricotta cheesecake is rich and luscious and takes so little effort to make. Creamy whipped ricotta cheese made with lemon and honey and baked up in a flaky phyllo dough crust. This unique cheesecake is light, creamy, airy, a touch buttery, lightly sweetened, and perfectly hinted with fresh lemon and vanilla.

The post Whipped Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake. appeared first on Half Baked Harvest. https://www.halfbakedharvest.com/whipped-lemon-ricotta-cheesecake/

Vegan Shawarma with Soy Curls

Grab a napkin, because things are about to get messy! Made with soy curls, loaded with vegetables, and drizzled with sauce, Vegan Shawarma is lunchtime perfection.

Let me start by saying that I’ve never had non-vegan shawarma. I was my 20s the first time I saw that not-very-appetizing shank of meat revolving behind the counter of the Mediterranean food stand in the mall where I had a part-time job at the bookstore. I was vegetarian, and it was the best place in the mall to grab a bite to eat after leaving my day job as a graphic designer, before starting my shift at the store. My two regular dishes were the falafel sandwich and something they called the Greek peasant vegetarian dinner, which was made with spiced roasted vegetables and pita wedges. That revolving meat always gave me the heebie jeebies, but I ate there twice a week.

Vegan Shawarma

Fast forward to last year. Cedar Ridge Café, a local veg-friendly lunch spot took meat off their menu and created an expanded line of vegan and vegetarian items. (Woo-hoo! Let’s home more restaurants follow suite.) I spotted Seitan Shawarma on the menu and wanted to give it a try. It consisted of a flat bread loaded with spiced seitan, peppers, greens, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, and pickles, and it was smothered in dairy-free thousand island dressing. It was incredible. So good, that I have a difficult time ordering anything else when Dennis and I got there for lunch, so I haven’t tried too many of the other new menu items. The last time I had it, someone walking in the door came over to me and asked what it was, because she wanted it, too.

Last month, we were in the middle of a deep freeze here in New Jersey. I found myself with a hankering for vegan shawarma, but it was just too cold to get bundled up and go out. The fridge was full, so maybe I could recreate it at home. I had most of the ingredients on hand, with the exception of the seitan. What could I replace it with? I had just stocked up on soy curls, that I order in bulk from Amazon, and they have a meaty-texture that’s similar to seitan. Why not give them a try?

Soy Curl Shawarma

I cooked the soy curls with sliced peppers, onions, and some shawarma spices. Traditionally, shawarma spices include cinnamon and cardamom, but I don’t like cinnamon in savory foods, and Dennis doesn’t like cardamom, so I left them out. If you don’t mind them, feel free to add ¼ teaspoon of each to the pan when you add the rest of the spices.
I also crumbled a Not-Chick’n vegan bouillon cube into the pan. Often, I’ll add them, or a Not-Beef bouillon cube, to a soy curl dish to give it a little more flavor. No Chicken Better than Bouillon works really well, too.

I loaded lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and pickles onto flatbread along with the cooked soy curl mixture. I had made tempeh Reubens the day before, so I had half a jar of Thousand Island Dressing in the fridge. Since the café serves their vegan shawarma with thousand island, I decided to go with it. Shawarma is traditional served with a yogurt sauce, but I didn’t have any non-dairy yogurt on hand. The thousand island dressing works really well with this sandwich, but if you want to go with something a little closer to the traditional option, you can top yours with Lemony Tahini Dressing, which makes for an equally delicious wrap.

I almost always have soy curls on hand since I order them in bulk from Amazon, but if you can’t find them, you can use seitan instead.

You can Make Vegan Shawarma Can in Less than Half an Hour!

  • First, you cook the onion and pepper in a large pan over medium high heat.
  • Then, you add the soy curls and spices and cook them until they’ve browned and are slightly crispy.
  • Next, you pile flat breads high with the soy curls, mixed greens, cucumber, tomatoes, and pickles.
  • Finally, you drizzle on the dressing.

The measurements for the vegetables and pickles in this recipe are approximate. Because it’s a sandwich, you won’t mess things up if you use less cucumber and more dressing.

Since my original at-home recreation, vegan shawarma  has become a lunchtime favorite. I’ve made it many times, usually using soy curls, but I’ve used seitan as well. Sometimes I use thousand Island dressing, and other times I’ll use tahini, depending on what I have on hand.

These hearty wraps are best eaten while the soy curls are warm, but they’re delicious when cold, too. They can be packed up and taken to the office for lunch. They’re messy, so make sure you have a napkin or two at the ready!

Vegan Shawarma with Soy Curls

Grab a napkin, because things are about to get messy! Made with soy curls, loaded with vegetables, and drizzled with sauce, Vegan Shawarma is lunchtime perfection.

  • 4 ounces soy curls ((about half a package))
  • 1 teaspoon neutral-flavored oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • ½ onion, sliced (about ½ cup)
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1 Not-Chick’n vegan bouillon cube ((or 1 tablespoon No Chicken Better Than Bouillon))
  • 4 whole wheat flat-breads or pitas, warmed
  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 1 small cucumber, sliced ( (about ½ cup))
  • ¼ cup sliced pickles
  • ½ cup dairy-free Thousand Island Dressing

Re-constitute the soy curls by placing them in a bowl and pouring 2 cups of hot water over them. Let them sit for about 15 minutes. Once they’ve softened, drain them and squeeze some of the excess water out of them.

Heat the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the green bell pepper and onion along with the pinch of salt. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until the onions begin to brown.

Add the soy curls to the pan along with the cumin, turmeric, paprika, ginger, black pepper, coriander, and cayenne. Crumble the not chicken vegan bouillon cube into the pan. (If using no-chicken vegan bouillon, just add it to the pan and stir.) Stir to coat everything in the spices. Cook for about 10 more minutes, or until the soy curls brown and crisp a little, stirring often.

To assemble the wraps, place ½ cup of mixed greens onto each flat bread. Place ¼ of the soy curl mixture on each. Top with the tomato slices, cucumber slices, and pickles. Drizzle each one with 2 tablespoons of the dairy-free Thousand Island Dressing.

Fold over each flat bread, serve, and enjoy!

The post Vegan Shawarma with Soy Curls appeared first on Dianne’s Vegan Kitchen.

Recipe: Coconut-Galangal Chicken Soup (Tom Kha Kai)

This recipe is amazing. You will love it!

Photo credit: https://nourishedkitchen.com/tom-kha-gai-recipe/

Tom kha kai is easy to make. If you can smash things, cut things, and boil water, you can pull off this classic on the first try. The hardest part? Getting your hands on the essential fresh seasonings. Galangal (the ‘kha’ in tom kha kai), kaffir lime leaves, and lemongrass have come to define tom kha kai. Some people will tell you that you can substitute ginger for the galangal, but that is not the case. In fact, the two ingredients are not even close to being interchangeable in the minds of Thai cooks.

But if you cannot find the fresh galangal and kaffir lime leaves, either locally or online, you can use tom kha paste, which comes in small glass jars. Any brand from Thailand will do. Just follow the directions on the label. Most of the time, making the broth involves dissolving the paste in the coconut milk.

Leela Punyaratabandhu, author of Simple Thai Food: Classic Recipes from the Thai Home KitchenI made this!15 Ratings


  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 1 stalk lemongrass
  • 2 cups sodium-free chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 (2-inch) piece galangal, thinly sliced
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, torn into pieces and bruised
  • 8 ounces oyster or white mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 4 or 5 fresh bird’s eye chiles, bruised
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves


  1. Cut the chicken against the grain and on the diagonal (30- to 40-degree angle) into thin, bite-size pieces. If using oyster mushrooms, separate them into individual pieces. If using white mushrooms, halve the small ones and quarter the bigger ones.
  2. Trim off and discard the leafy parts of the lemongrass stalk, remove the tough outer leaves of the bulb portion until the smooth, pale green core is exposed, and trim off the root end. Quarter the bulb portion crosswise and smash the pieces with a heavy object until they are bruised and split.
  3. In a 2-quart saucepan, combine the stock and coconut milk and bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately turn down to heat so the liquid is barely bubbling. Add the galangal, lemongrass, and lime leaves and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken, mushrooms, and fish sauce, stir, and increase the heat slightly so the liquid is simmering gently. Once the chicken is no longer pink, after about 2 minutes, remove the pan from the heat.
  4. Add the lime juice and chiles and stir. Taste and correct the seasoning as needed. The soup should be sour and salty with natural sweetness from the coconut milk. Sprinkle the cilantro on top just before serving. Thai cooks do not usually remove the chunky herbs from food when they serve it, as it is understood that they are not to be eaten. But you can fish out the lemongrass, galangal, and lime leaves before serving, if you like.