As I gathered the spices for the chicken b’stilla, I thought of the ancient spice trade routes and the influence those traders had on so many cultures. The aromas of the spices in this dish, especially as you’re making the sauce for the filling, are amazing.
I can imagine the excitement that some home cooks must have felt when they discovered the flavors of new spices from other parts of the world. What did the French cook think the first time she smelled cinnamon, ginger, or saffron? Or the Indian cook the first time she smelled coriander?
The chicken b’stilla, a Moroccan dish, is a perfect example of the blending of flavors from different regions of the world: ginger, from South Asia; coriander, native to southern Europe, North Africa, and southwestern Asia; cinnamon, from Southeast Asia; and saffron, from southwestern Asia. And all together? They smell like Morocco.
What are the chances?