Garam Masala Bastilla by Natasha MacAller
Really pleased to feature this wonderful recipe by Natasha MacAller, author of Spice Health Heroes. Natasha has provided her own Garam Masala recipe, however our blend works equally as well.
This rich but vegetarian take on a medieval ‘greyte pye’ includes an unorthodox garam masala that is really more like a medieval spice blend. In this modern version, vegetables, dried fruit and pulses replace the traditional game or fowl, enabling these once exotic and sought-after fragrant spices to be savoured in a new way.
- 2 or 3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
- 400g can white cannellini beans or chickpeas, rinsed and drained well
- 70g sultanas
- Zest of ½ lemon
- 150g butter
- 60ml rapeseed oil
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 4 white onions thinly sliced
- 5 tsp Garam Masala Spice Blend (see below)
- 6 filo pastry sheets, opened out flat, covered with a damp cloth
- 200g baby spinach, rinsed and patted dry
- 3 large eggs
- 100g ricotta (or cottage cheese)
- 13 cherry tomatoes, with stalks
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/gas mark 5). Lightly oil a 30 x 15cm (12 x 6in.) baking dish.
Heat oil and 50g butter in a pan and add the turmeric. Cook for 1 minute and then add onions. Cook for 20 - 30 minutes on a medium to low heat. Season with salt and pepper
Blanch the sweet potato slices in boiling salted water until al dente, about 2 minutes. Drain well and set aside. Mix the beans, sultanas (golden raisins) and lemon peel or zest together in a bowl and set aside.
Melt the butter with 2 teaspoons of the spice mix. Brush two ﬁlo pastry sheets with this spiced butter, fold them in half and lay them side by side in the bottom of the baking dish so that they just overlap in the centre and the edges hang over the sides of the dish.
Layer the potato slices over the bottom of the dish, then add an evenly spread layer of the onions and sprinkle over ½ teaspoon of spice blend. Next add an even layer of the bean and sultana mix then sprinkle with a further ½ teaspoon of the spice blend. Cover with the spinach.
Beat the eggs with 1 teaspoon of spice mix. Pour over the spinach and gently shake the pan to settle. Spoon dollops of ricotta on top. Fold the edges of the ﬁlo just inside the edges of the dish.
Brush spice butter on the remaining ﬁlo sheets, fold in half, then cut into a grid of eight rectangles. Scrunch the ﬁlo rectangles and arrange over the top. Pierce each tomato then tuck randomly on top, scattering a big pinch of spice blend over all. Sprinkle salt ﬂakes on top if you like.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, until ﬁlo is browned and vegetables bubbling. Serve hot or at room temperature with a nice ﬂagon of wine or ale!
GARAM MASALA SPICE BLEND
2 tbsp cardamom seeds, toasted and ground
4 tsp coriander seeds, toasted and ground
4 tsp ground cinnamon (or 1½ cinnamon sticks, charred and ground)
1 tbsp fennel seeds, toasted and ground
1 tbsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp ground allspice
2 tsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground 2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp licorice powder (optional)
½ tsp fenugreek powder
Blend the spices in a mortar and pestle and transfer to a jar.
Spice Health Heroes is available to buy from Quarto Books here. Photography by Manja Wachsmuth, published by Jacqui Small.