Goan Meat Tarts


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Mangoes & Curry Leaves: Culinary Travels Through the Great Subcontinent

Mangoes & Curry Leaves

By Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid

Published 2005

  • About

Goa, a small state on India’s west coast, south of Mumbai, was colonized by the Portuguese. There are still, especially in the towns, clear signs of the Portuguese era: usually a Catholic church or two (some of them very grand), as well as colonial-style arcades, signs in Portuguese, and shop proprietors with surnames like Fernandes or da Silva.

Another remnant of the Portuguese era is the pastry shops, very good pastry shops. The meat pastries here were inspired by those we indulged in at a pastry shop near the central market in the town of Margao, in south Goa. They are delicious oven-baked little tarts filled with savory cooked meat, either beef or pork. The pastry is very short and a little sweet, the meat moist and lightly spiced. In Goa we often washed them down with a cool Limca (local lime-flavored soda), but at home we serve them with ice-cold beer or Tamarind-Mint Tea.

These freeze very well. Two make a filling snack.



  • cups all-purpose flour or 3 cups pastry flour (see Note)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ pound (1 cup) lard or 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons cold water, if needed
  • 1 egg, whisked with 1 tablespoon water, for a wash (optional)


  • Double recipe Beef Filling or Pork Filling, or one recipe of each


Make the pastry at least an hour before you wish to start baking.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and stir to mix well. Cut in the lard or shortening until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Mix together the egg and vinegar and stir in. Try pulling the dough together. If it is still crumbly, add about 2 tablespoons cold water and mix. This should be enough to moisten the dough; if necessary, add a little more cold water. When the dough just comes together, pull it into a mass. Cut it into two pieces (each will weigh just over ½ pound). Place each piece in a heavy-duty plastic bag, flatten out to a disk, seal well, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (The pastry keeps for 3 days in the refrigerator or for 1 month, well sealed in plastic, in the freezer. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator before using.)

Place a baking stone, if you have one, on a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Lightly dust your work surface with flour. Turn out the pastry from one bag, keeping the other refrigerated. Roll out to a 17-by-nearly-7-inch rectangle. Use a -inch round cookie cutter or glass to cut out 10 rounds. Place them on a baking sheet. Reroll the scraps to make another 6 rounds. Place them on the sheet.

Lightly dust your work surface with flour again, and repeat with the other piece of pastry, but set the rounds aside on your work surface.

Spoon a scant 2 tablespoons filling in the center of one of the circles on the baking sheet. Brush the edges with cold water, then place one of the reserved rounds on top. Pinch the edges together all around or press down with a fork, to seal. Repeat with the remaining rounds. For a more golden crust, brush with a little egg wash. Cut two slits in the top of each pastry.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until very golden. Set the pastries on a rack to cool for several minutes before serving, or cool completely, seal in plastic bags, and freeze. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, place on a baking sheet, and heat in the center of a 300°F oven for about 15 minutes.

Serve as a snack, or as part of an easy lunch with a green salad or a tomato salad.

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