Friday, February 27, 2009

Almond Eggplant "Bisteeya" (Bastilla)

Woohoo, another quotation-marked dish for our Weekend Wokking entry!

(Evidence of my quotation mark love: Ravioli "Caprese", "Singapore Noodles", Eggplant "Clafouti", "Streusel Brittle", "Duck Coop Pie", Pumpkin "Beignets", Caribbean "Fish n' (Banana) Chips".)

For our ALMOND dish, we wanted something that would utilize the nut in its various forms. JS suggested a baba ganoush, but with almond butter instead of tahini, and ground almonds in place of pine nuts. We later discovered that she suggested baba ganoush because she thought the ingredient was eggplant!

Aging here.

I kept thinking that the secret ingredient was eggplant, and so I kept replenishing our eggplants for that week. (We made stuffed eggplants for our culinary tour to Ethiopia.)

Anyway, the baba ganoush was a promising idea. But, are we to simply make baba ganoush and call it a day? Are we not using almonds in other forms besides grounding them?

Since we were on a Mediterranean route, we thought of phyllo. We can use the baba ganoush as a filling. This reminded us of bisteeya. How are we to make this phyllo-wrapped baba ganoush more bisteeya-ish? Well, using turmeric, for one. Adding eggs to the filling, for another. And of course, cinnamon sugar!

Well, ok then. We'll have an almond-eggplant filling for our "bisteeya", using almond butter and ground almonds. To incorporate yet another form of almond, we can make almond milk and just think of a way to incorporate that into our entry somehow.

Let's go!

Wikipedia: Bisteeya (aka Bastilla, Pastilla, B'steeya, B'stilla)

Ground Roasted Almonds & Almond Butter

Of course, we start with the almond. I roasted whole almonds and afterwards, ground them in the food processor. I took out about half of them, setting those aside, and proceeded to buzz the rest, adding a touch of olive oil, until they became almond butter.

Almond "Baba Ganoush"

Like how I sneaked in another pair of quotation marks? [grin]

Anyway, in the meantime, I also charred an eggplant until black. I threw it onto a plate and covered it with plastic wrap to let it steam, then I peeled it and and set the now-mushy eggplant aside.

I must say, the charring eggplant smelled like someone was smoking cigarettes! We were a little -- actually, a lot -- scared of its cigarette-smoke aroma.

To make the "baba ganoush", I added the eggplant to the almond butter in the food processor, then added lemon juice, garlic and olive oil, seasoning with salt and pepper.

Wikipedia: Baba Ganoush

Turning Almond "Baba Ganoush" into Bisteeya Filling

I started by sautéing some onions with some turmeric. Next, I added the "baba ganoush" mixture and cooked until it was warmed through.

To make this more bisteeya-ish, I added a couple eggs over low heat and stirred until combined and the egg was starting to set. I then added the rest of the ground almonds. Time to stuff some phyllo!

Cinnamon Sugar
Self-explanatory, yes?

Um, all right. We didn't actually have phyllo pastry.

We had the opportunity THREE TIMES to buy the phyllo, but we forgot to do so EACH TIME.

When I was almost done with the filling, our laziness only permitted us to consider going to the nearest supermarket which only carried whole wheat phyllo pastry. We've tried it before, and really, it was no match for regular phyllo.

We did happen to have some wonton skins in the fridge, so we decided to go with that.

(Yes, of course real phyllo would have been flakier and more fantastic, but hey, it's that lack of industry rearing its ugly head again.)

Another confession: I didn't melt butter for this! I used PAM! PAM! Shoot me now.

Let's proceed. Just remember, pretend I melted some butter and used that, okay?

I sprayed a muffin pan with PAM, and lined each indentation with 3 wonton skins (making sure to spray each skin). I filled it with my "baba ganoush" and finished it with cinnamon sugar.

I placed one more PAM-sprayed (aka "butter-brushed") wonton skin on top, and folded over the overhanging wonton skins to close. I sprinkled the top with more cinnamon sugar.

Into a 350F oven they went until the skins were golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool slightly, then add more cinnamon sugar. Or, sprinkle the top with confectioner's sugar. More ground almonds would be very good too.


The end result? Flaky pastry -- OK, it should have been flaky pastry in theory, but ours wasn't that flaky because of our chronic affliction. But of course you'll make yours wth phyllo, right?

I'll start again.

The end result was "flaky pastry" with a filling that's nutty and eggy, with a hint of smoke from the charred eggplants that was actually quite welcome in this context.

Oh, take a look inside!

The savoury-sweet-eggy-nutty taste sensations actually reminded me of our Fujian (Hokkien) lumpia -- which, now that I'm thinking about it, using the same wonton-cup concept, would have been a great entry for Weekend Wokking.

(The Chinese in the Philippines have a slightly different version of lumpia from Philippine fresh lumpia. I believe it's like popiah, which I've only recently discovered via House of Annie. The vegetables are cooked with shrimp and ground pork until they're much more tender. I tend to do peanut-sugar overkill on my Fujian lumpia.)

Maybe next time, then. Our Fujian lumpia -- or should I call it lumpia "bisteeya"? Teehee. -- should definitely make an appearance soon.

This Almond Eggplant "Bisteeya" makes for a great snack, appetizer, or breakfast. And speaking of breakfast, please have it with some Caffè Latte made with Almond Milk.

Wikipedia: Lumpia

eatingclub vancouver Weekend Wokking posts:
Ravioli "Caprese": Tomato, Basil, Bocconcini
Eggplant "Clafouti"
Pumpkin Congee w/ Pumpkin "Beignets" & Sesame-Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Chicken, Broccoli and Cheese w/ Pipián Verde
Adobo Mushroom Tart
Duck and Orange Crêpes with Orange-White Wine Sauce
Almond Eggplant "Bisteeya" (Bastilla)
"Mashed Potato Beef Burger" (Red-skinned Potato Salad in Taiwanese Sacha Cheeseburger)
Korean Soybean Sprouts Pancake (Kongnamul Jeon)
Lemon Chamomile Tiramisu
Cilantro Horchata
Strawberry Cilantro Salsa, on Grilled Flank Steak
Duck Enchiladas with Chipotle Peanut Salsa
Clear Oxtail Soup with Corn, Cabbage and Potatoes
Beijing Pickled Cabbage
Salsa Romesco ("Queen of the Catalan Sauces!")
Aguadito de Pollo (Peruvian Chicken Soup)
Bangus Belly à la Bistek (Milkfish Belly with Onions, Calamansi and Soy Sauce)
White Pork with Garlic Sauce, Two Ways (蒜泥白肉)
Mr. Zheng's Soupy Tomatoes and Eggs with Tofu (蕃茄雞蛋跟豆腐)
Steamed Fish and Tofu with Chinese Black Beans
Spinach and Cheese with Puff Pastry, Three Ways

Almond Eggplant "B'steeya"
Makes 6 muffin-sized portions

150 g almonds
1 eggplant

1 tablespoon olive oil
6 garlic cloves
1 lemon , zested and juiced

1/2 onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

phyllo pastry
melted butter for brushing

(Substitution: wonton/dumpling wrappers)

To roast almonds
Roast the almonds in a dry pan until golden-brown and fragrant. Alternatively, roast the almonds in a single layer in a 350F oven.

Let cool. Then, chop the roasted almonds (or process in a food processor). Set aside.

To make "baba ganoush"
Char the eggplant on top of an open flame until black. Place in a brown paper bag and seal. (Or, place on a plate and cover with plastic wrap.) After a few minutes, peel charred eggplant.

In a food processor, add about half of your ground almonds and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Process until the mixture becomes a paste (almond butter). Then, add your eggplant, garlic, and lemon zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

To make filling
In a small saucepan, heat olive oil over medium/medium-low heat. Add diced onions and turmeric and cook until the onions have softened. Add the "baba ganoush" and mix well and until heated through. Lower heat and add beaten eggs. Mix well and cook until the eggs are just starting to set. Add the rest of your ground almonds. Adjust seasoning as desired. Set aside.

To make cinnamon sugar
Mix the sugar with ground cinnamon. Set aside. If you wish, you can make extra cinnamon sugar to serve with the finished product.

To assemble
Preheat oven to 350F.

Cut your phyllo pastry to size, making sure each piece is slightly larger than each "cup" in your muffin pan.

In a 6-"cup" muffin pan, brush each "cup" with melted butter. Place a sheet of phyllo, making sure it overhangs. Brush melted butter on the phyllo sheet in the "cup" and place another layer of phyllo. Brush with butter and repeat layers. Make about 7 layers, making sure the "cup" is well-covered.

Divide your filling into the 6 "cups", then add about 1 teaspoon of cinnamon sugar in each cup. Fold over the overhanging phyllo, making sure to brush melted butter between layers, and sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar if desired.

Bake until the phyllo is golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Each Almond Eggplant "Bisteeya" can be garnished with confectioner's sugar and ground almonds. Serve with extra cinnamon sugar. Great with
Caffè Latte made with Almond Milk.

We're submitting this recipe to Weekend Wokking, a world-wide food blogging event created by Wandering Chopsticks celebrating the multiple ways we can cook one ingredient.

The host this month is Darlene of Blazing Hot Wok.

If you would like to participate or to see the secret ingredient, check
who's hosting next month.

Check out
all Weekend Wokking Roundups.


  1. First off, this is a completely new dish to me and I'm not sure if it's supposed to be sweet or savory, probably a little of both, but it sounds nonetheless tasty. I'm intrigued.

    Secondly, how can you say you're not industrious? You did enough work for 2 people! Oh, are 2 people! :-)

    Thirdly, thank you for picking almonds. It's an ingredient I don't normally cook with, but it's quite fun to use. I will be trying your almond milk very soon. Maybe somehow incorporating it into ice cream...

  2. ...WHATever! The end result looks delicious.

  3. What a dish. I love reading about how you got to it 7 all the issues along the way.

  4. That looks gorgeous. I love the inventive wonton cup/phyllo.

    I had a chicken bastilla once and it was so weird to eat something that looked and tasted like dessert, yet it was chicken!

  5. That looks good. I have been wanting to try a bastilla.

  6. Darlene:
    We like to mess around with sweet/savory. ;) Almond ice cream would be nice. Although, being lazy as I am, I would just add almond butter and ground almonds into a milk custard.

    Joan Nova:

    Wandering Chopsticks:
    Haha, then I wonder what you'll think of the Fukien lumpia. I tell you, I really shower mine with the peanut-sugar!

    Thanks! We try. =)

    Can't wait to see one on your blog!


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