Mushroom Pattice, or Mushroom Puffs, are a very popular teatime snack in Goa. Spicy, savoury mushroom filling is enclosed in layers of buttery, flaky and crisp Puff Pastry. It’s believed that Cafe Central in Panjim offers customers the best puffs in all of Goa. But for anyone who’d like to relish this teatime snack at home, here’s our recipe with a quick and simple mushroom filling. The same puff recipe can be adapted to make Chicken Puffs, Egg Puffs and Vegetable Puffs.
We usually make our own Puff Pastry dough at home, storing it in the refrigerator for a few days(or in the freezer, for longer). This ensures we have puff pastry on hand for whenever we feel like baking. The Puff Pastry recipe can be used to make savoury snacks as well as sweet treats!
“You may have only one snack and not more!” said Ayah (nanny), as she walked down the village lane with little Isabel and Filip. “We’re not going to stop at Soccorina’s tea stall if you’re going to ask for more.” It was a Sunday ritual of sorts for Isabel and her elder brother Filip. The children would rise early, wear their best clothes and attend the morning Mass at the local Church, with their father. Their father would attend meetings with the Church elders for the rest of the morning. Meanwhile, Ayah would return to the Carvalho villa with the children, stopping on the way at a small tea stall along the narrow palm-lined lane.
The tea stall was a simple one, assembled with bare minimum necessities on a handcart. Soccorina, the proud owner of the stall, was an ‘institution’ by herself. Every Sunday, the elderly lady, donning her rose-pink summer dress, attended Mass with the others and then prepared to share the latest goings-on with anyone who cared to listen. Provided they purchased a cup of tea and preferably a snack, she’d prove to be a mine of information. She observed all, knew all and happily shared all the details of what went on in Altinho.
“Isabel! Is this your pretty new frock?” asked Soccorina Maushi (aunt), pouring some sweet, milky Cha (tea) into a small glass. “Aykalya tuvem (have you heard)?” she said, wiping her hands on her apron, “Sebastiao Mastercho chalo foreign voyta khain!” The school teacher’s son was to travel abroad to study! It was unheard of in Altinho in those days! As the old ladies chatted, Isabel held onto Ayah’s hand, surveying an enormous aidan (vessel) filled to the brim with the milky tea. The two women chatted about this latest news as the Cha bubbled away on a tiny kerosene stove. But Filip was far more keen on examining the contents of an array of glass jars. Each jar was filled with sweet & savoury snacks that Soccorina stocked every Sunday morning. There were stacks of Nankhatai biscuits flavoured with elaichi (cardamom), clusters of crunchy breadsticks called Botta, mounds of crusty, bangle-shaped bread called Kankon, and piles of Faati biscuits (crisp Toast) that were perfect for soaking up the sweet, milky Cha.
“Filip baab,” she said, referring to the boy affectionately, “would you like some Nankhatai? Here, take this one,” she said, handing the boy the largest biscuit that she could find. Filip readily munched on the treat, looking for the next snack he could get his hands on. All the while, the sweet Cha continued to bubble away on the small stove, thickening and intensifying in flavour.
“What about you Isabel? Will it be the usual then?” asked the tea stall owner. Smiling shyly, Isabel nodded and waited patiently as Soccorina lifted a small net cover off a large plate. A pile of Mushroom Pattice lay on the plate, still warm on the inside from having been baked in the Poder’s (baker’s) wood-fired oven that morning. Layers of flaky, buttery puff pastry surrounded a savoury filling of spiced mushrooms and onions. Still listening to Soccorina narrate the latest gossip in animated tones, Ayah handed Isabel a small paper plate, breaking the warm pattice into two halves for the girl to eat.
All of a sudden there was a loud rustling in the branches along the edge of the road. There was a loud cacophony of ‘Whoop…..Whoop….Whooop!!’ as a troop of huge gray Langurs swayed through the trees. “Kasle tras ditat mago hye Makod! (they’re such trouble)!” said Soccorina angrily, “They keep trying to steal food off the cart!” Ayah protectively pulled the children out of the way as Soccorina picked up a stone and hurled it in the direction of the enormous monkeys. Not willing to be outdone, the aggressive Langurs hopped onto the narrow path, snarling and baring their teeth as they drew closer to the cart. But the tea stall owner was quite a force to reckon with! Arming herself with more stones, she rushed towards the monkeys, shouting at the top of her voice! There was a loud scream and a crash as a stone nearly hit one of the primates! Off went the troop, scrambling up the trees and swaying back into the safety of the dense foliage.
Having successfully driven the troublemakers away, Soccorina returned to her beloved stall, huffing and puffing after that little adventure. Ayah was the one to offer her a glass of comforting Cha this time. But nothing ever bothered the woman for very long. She’d seen much of life and took everything in her stride. Sipping on the sweet tea, she continued to chat with the nanny as though nothing had happened!
Another round of snacks later, much rationed this time to Filip’s dismay, Ayah and the children headed further down the palm-lined lane. Their father would return home soon and the Raandpin (cook) would serve them all a special Sunday Lunch. Looking forward to the prospect of more delicious food, Filip ran down the path, followed by his little sister. “Watch out for the Langurs!” said Ayah, calling out to them and smiling as she made her way down the beautiful Altinho path.
(Makes 7-8 medium-sized puffs)
To make the Mushroom Filling:
- 3 cups (300g) Button Mushrooms
- 2-3 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
- 1 large Onion
- 4-5 cloves of Garlic
- 1 inch piece of Ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Red Chilli Powder
- 1 teaspoon Turmeric (Haldi) Powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Garam Masala Powder
- 1 tablespoon Soya Sauce
- Salt, to taste
To assemble the Mushroom Pattice:
- 2 tablespoons Water
- 1 small Egg (or 3 tablespoons Milk)
- 1 quantity of Homemade Puff Pastry (or frozen shop-bought pastry, as needed)
To make the Mushroom Filling:
Clean the button mushrooms and chop into small pieces. Finely chop the onion and sauté it in the vegetable oil, until golden brown. Add in finely chopped garlic and ginger and sauté until they soften.
Stir the red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt into the onion mixture. Splash in a tablespoon of Soya Sauce and mix well. The flavour of the Soya Sauce will not be very noticeable in the mushroom filling. It simply gives the filling a nice, savoury flavour.
Add the chopped mushrooms to the onion mixture and stir well. Cover the pan and cook on low-medium heat until the mushrooms are tender. Take the lid off the pan and allow all the liquid to evaporate as we need a dry filling to make the puffs. Once the liquid has evaporated, take the pan off the heat and allow the filling to cool completely.
To assemble the Mushroom Pattice:
If you’re using frozen puff pastry, transfer the frozen pastry from the freezer to the refrigerator and leave to thaw overnight. Keep the thawed pastry on your kitchen counter about ten minutes before you begin to roll it out.
If you’re using refrigerated puff pastry dough, take the cold dough out of the refrigerator and leave it on the kitchen counter for ten minutes.
Dust your work surface and a rolling pin with some all purpose flour. Roll out the puff pastry dough into a rough rectangle shape, about 1/4th of an inch thick.
Using a sharp knife, gently trim the edges of the rectangle to get straight lines and then divide the large rectangle into smaller rectangles. Each block of homemade puff pastry dough gave me four smaller rectangles to work with.
Preheat the oven to 200*C/ 400* F/ Gas Mark 6.
Place one small rectangle in front of you and drop about 2 tablespoons of the mushroom filling on one half of the rectangle. Gently brush the edges of the rectangle with a few drops of water. Fold over the other half of the rectangle, pressing down on the edges of the dough to seal the mushroom filling inside. Prepare each puff in this way and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
In a small bowl, make an egg wash by beating the egg with a tablespoon of water. Lightly brush the top of each mushroom pattice with the egg wash. If you’de prefer a vegetarian option, gently brush the tops of each puff with some milk instead. This coating will help the puffs to turn a lovely, golden-brown colour.
Bake the mushroom pattice in the oven for about 12-15 minutes, until they have puffed up and turned golden-brown. Turn the baking tray in the last five minutes of baking to make sure the puffs colour evenly.
Relish the warm mushroom puffs with cups of coffee or tea!
In case of frozen, shop-bought puff pastry, please follow the instructions as stated on the packet to thaw the cold dough.
The mushroom filling can be flavoured in any way you choose. Fresh coriander leaves may be added to the filling or the spice powders may be replaced with dried herbs.
The addition of Soya Sauce will not be obvious in the mushroom filling. It simply helps to enhance the savoury flavour of the mixture.
An egg wash or a light coating of milk helps to give the mushroom puffs a lovely, golden-brown colour as they bake.
The puffs can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days. They can be re-heated in the microwave for 30 seconds before being served. However, the puff pastry is the most crisp when freshly made and the mushroom puffs are best savoured soon after they are baked.
Story Notes: Our stories, set in the early 1900s, are entirely fictional & inspired by childhood tales, local legends and books.