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final presentation of fried tuna rissois on a plate with cilantro garnish

Tuna Rissois (Rissois de atum) – Cape Verdean Style

  • Author: Crystal DaCruz
  • Total Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
  • Yield: 24-28 rissois 1x


These Cape Verdean-style tuna rissois are crescent shaped pastries that are stuffed with creamy tuna filling, dipped in bread crumbs and fried until golden brown. Rissois make the perfect savory snack or appetizer!



Filling ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup minced onions
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 10-ounce can of tuna packed in oil, drained
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon of hot sauce or chopped hot peppers
  • 1 cup of whole-milk
  • 3 tablespoons of flour
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 12 teaspoons of fresh chopped cilantro

Pastry ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons of salted butter
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of seasoned bread crumbs
  • 45 cups of canola or vegetable oil for frying


Filling instructions:

  1. Whisk 3 tablespoons of flour with 1 cup of whole-milk in a small bowl or cup, set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 3-quart saucepan. Add the onions and cook them until they are translucent. Add the garlic, tuna, hot peppers and dry seasonings and cook until fragrant.
  3. Add the milk/flour mixture and cook for 3-5 minutes, the mixture will be bubbly and thick. Make sure to stir occasionally. Cut the flame, stir in the fresh cilantro, then cover the pan and set aside

Dough instructions:

  1. In a 4.5 quart pot, bring 2 cups of water, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, 2 teaspoons of salt and 2 tablespoons of butter to a boil. 
  2. Lower the heat to medium and mix in 2 cups of flour. Use a rubber spatula to bring the dough together. The dough will be sticky, this is ok!
  3. Cut the flame and transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand-mixer if you have one. Using a dough-hook attachment, knead the dough on medium speed until a ball forms, as shown in the photo below. If you’re not using a mixer, transfer the dough to a well floured cutting board and knead the dough with your hands. Let the dough cool slightly if you’re kneading with your hands!
  4. Form the dough into a ball and use a pastry cutter to divide the dough into 2 portions. Wrap the portion that you’re not working with in a plastic-wrap. Set the wrapped-portion of the dough aside until you are ready to use it. 

Assembling the rissois:

  1. Form the unwrapped-portion of the dough into a disc and roll it out on a well-floured surface (don’t forget to also flour your rolling pin!). The rolled out dough should be about 1/4″ thick.
  2. Uncover the tuna filling and give it a quick stir with a rubber spatula. Place 2-3 small scoops (about 1 measured tablespoon each) of filling about 2 inches from the bottom edge of the rolled-out dough. Leave about 2-3 inches between each scoop of filling. 
  3. Lift the edge of the dough up and fold it over the tuna. The tuna should touch the fold. Stamp the rissois out using a small glass or cup. Make sure to leave a little bit of space between the tuna and the non-folded edges. Use the photos that are in the body of the text as a guide!
  4. Seal the rissois by gently pinching the edges. There is really no need to moisten the dough unless it becomes dry. Transfer each of the sealed rissois to a plate, it’s ok to place them on top of each other.
  5. Once you’ve stamped out as many rissois as you can, roll the remaining dough scraps into a ball and roll the dough out using a rolling pin again. Repeat the same process of scooping the filling onto the dough and forming the crescents until you’ve used up all of the remaining dough and filling. You will end up with about two dozen rissois.
  6. Heat 5 cups of oil to 325°F in a cast-iron dutch oven or in a pot with deep sides. Working in batches of 4 or 5, deep-fry the rissois for about 1 minute on each side. Watch them closely, they will brown quickly! 
  7. Once the rissois are deep-golden brown in color remove them from the oil using a spider strainer or slotted metal spoon. Transfer the rissois to a cooling rack or sheet pan lined with paper towels. Let the rissois cool slightly and serve.


  • Stand-mixer is highly recommended for kneading the dough since it will be hot to the touch
  • Rissois can be frozen and and then breaded and fried for a later date
  • Leftover rissois can be refrigerated and reheated in the oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Appetizers and sides
  • Method: Frying
  • Cuisine: Cape Verdean

Keywords: Cape Verdean, fried, pastry, tuna, seafood, fish, Portuguese