Bastilla de crevettes et épinards


I have made chicken bastilla quite often but never with shrimps. Originally, I was thinking of a vegetarian version, then I thought shrimps would be a good idea. Bastilla is a Moroccan dish usually filled with meat or fish/seafood and wrapped in filo dough, topped with almonds and cinnamon.

The base is of the chicken bastilla, then the difference is that I didn’t use cinnamon nor sugar. I didn’t think it would go well with shrimps, beside I am not a fan of cinnamon. I made a layer of spinach with preserved lemons and kalamata olives, topped with shrimps, and I loved it. This became my favorite thing to make for the moment.

Ingredients for a bastilla (2 people)

For the shrimps mixture

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion
  • 1 tsp ginger, grated
  • 1 lb shrimps, peeled and deveined
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbs cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 saffron dose, dissolved in 2 tbs hot broth
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 4-6 sheets of whole wheat filo dough (or regular filo dough)
  • butter, melted
  • 2 tbs silvered almonds, toasted

For the spinach mixture

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 10-15 kalamata olives, chopped
  • 2 small preserved lemon (or one large), rinsed and minced
  • salt and pepper


For the shrimp mixture

Heat olive oil in a pan, add onions and cook a few minutes (do not brown) add ginger and cook a few extra minutes. Add shrimps, stir until they turn a little pink but not cooked. Add cumin, coriander, paprika, garlic, cilantro and saffron. Sir well and let it cook until the mixture is cooked and water evaporated. Add egg and cook well. Adjust with salt and pepper and remove from heat.

For the spinach

Heat olive oil in a pan. Add garlic and stir until fragrant. Add spinach, salt and pepper. Cook stirring until spinach is wilted. Squeeze excess water with your hands. Add lemon and olive and mix well.

In two round pans of about 10 cm diameter, coat bottom and sides of pan using a brush. Cut filo dough sheets lengthwise and place those 2 strips of dough at bottom of the pan in a way that the border of the dough shifts to one side. Brush with more butter. Proceed three more times. Sprinkle toasted almonds. Add the last layer of dough.

Place spinach at the bottom, spreading evenly. Add shrimp mixture and start covering the shrimps folding the filo dough edges on top of the shrimps. Brush with butter at each stage of the folding process. Brush again the last sheet of dough.

Sprinkle almonds on top and cook on a pre heated oven at 375F until golden brown.