Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Green Pea Pastilla, Charbroiled Aubergine with Charmoula

North African cuisine has a great way of combining sweet and savory foods together in one insanely flavorful dish. Pastilla's are commonly filled with pigeon meat and eggs but my version has green peas, yellow summer squash and spiced crumbled tofu. I kept the spices and additional accents traditional and the end result was a great introduction to this cuisine.

A crispy phyllo dough shell filled with layers of cinnamon sugar almonds, peas and squash with cardamom and coriander and crumbled tofu with fresh parsley and turmeric. The top is dusted with powdered sugar and served with charbroiled eggplant and charmoula- a Moroccan mixture of fresh herbs, lemon, garlic and spices.

Green Pea Pastilla
makes 2 entree sized or 4 app size

1/4 cup earth balance vegan butter
6 tbl blanched slivered almonds
1 tbl organic sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 small sweet onion, small dice
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp coriander seed
1/4 tsp pepper
1-1lb bag frozen green peas
1 yellow summer squash, medium dice

6oz extra firm tofu, drained, presses and crumbled
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 roll phyllo dough, thawed
1/4 cup earth balance vegan butter, melted
1/4 cup organic powdered sugar

In a large saute pan, add the almonds and butter and allow the almonds to toast as the butter melts. Toss to combine. Once the almonds have browned, remove from the heat and stir in the sugar and cinnamon. Set the almonds aside.
In the same pan, add 1 tbl oil and saute the onions until soft and translucent, 5 minutes. Add all of the spices and toast, 2 minutes. Add the peas and summer squash and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes until the squash has slightly softened. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside.
In the same pan, add the crumbled tofu, turmeric, cumin, salt and pepper. Saute over medium-high heat until the tofu slightly browns. Toss in the parsley and get ready to assemble the pastillas.
Preheat the oven to 350.
Cut the phyllo rectangles into squares. One by one, brush butter on each layer and stack, 8-10 layers high.
In the center, add a thick layer of green pea mixture followed by a thick layer of tofu on top. Add 3 tbl of almonds on top.
Fold up the phyllo to create a package and brush the tops with butter. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.

Charbroiled Aubergine
1 small eggplant, sliced into thick steaks
3 tbl extra virgin olive oil
1 carrot, small dice
1 small sweet onion, small dice
salt and pepper

Heavily salt the eggplant steaks and set aside to drain for 30 minutes.
Preheat a broiler.
Place the eggplant on a greased baking sheet and broil until lightly charred. Chop into small chunks.
Heat oil in a saute pan and add the carrots, diced eggplant, onion, salt and pepper. Saute over medium-high heat until the carrot is slightly tender and the onion is soft,10-12 minutes.

1 tbl cumin seeds
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne
2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper

In a small saute pan, toast the cumin seeds and minced garlic until fragrant, 3 minutes. Transfer to a mortar and grind into a paste. Transfer to a bowl and add the remaining ingredients.
This can be made up to 2 days in advance.


  1. This is what we are having for our Sunday dinner. They look fabulous!

  2. This was mega tasty! Next time I think I will do it as a big phyllo pie. Our family really loved it! Great flavours!!


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