A Goan Xmas Delight, Bolinhas Are Coconut & Semolina-Rich Sweets We Can’t Wait To Enjoy; Recipe

Explore the cultural significance and festive spirit baked into every crumb, making these treats a cherished part of the holiday season in Goa

by Mallika Khurana
A Goan Xmas Delight, Bolinhas Are Coconut & Semolina-Rich Sweets We Can’t Wait To Enjoy; Recipe

Step into the vibrant tapestry of Goan Christmas, where the air is infused with the tantalising scent of freshly baked Bolinhas—the heart and soul of this festive celebration. In the coastal haven of Goa, nestled between Indian tradition and Portuguese influence, a centuries-old custom comes alive as families unite to craft these exquisite semolina coconut cookies, weaving together a tale of culture, community, and cherished flavours. With each crumbly yet tantalisingly crunchy bite, Bolinhas whisper stories of heritage, heralding the joyous arrival of Christmas in this tropical paradise.

Bolinhas, Goa’s Treasured Cookies Of Festive Joy

Photo Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Bolinhas are not just a treat; they’re an integral part of the Christmas platter. Alongside other Goan Christmas sweets like Bebinca and Neureos, Bolinhas are exchanged with friends and family, gifted to neighbours, and offered to guests during Christmas gatherings. These cookies are loved for their unique texture, a blend of crunchy and crumbly, along with their delightful coconut flavour. 

The name “Bolinhas” comes from the Portuguese word “bolinha,” which means small ball or cookie. These cookies have a crumbly texture due to the absence of flour and are often flavoured with cardamom, nutmeg, or vanilla, adding a fragrant aroma to the sweet treat. The preparation of Bolinhas marks the beginning of the Christmas celebrations in Goa. It’s a symbolic start to the season’s cooking and baking, building excitement and setting the mood for the forthcoming festivities.

Also Read: 9 Best Pure Veg Restaurants In Bengaluru, Mumbai & Delhi To Enjoy Xmas Feasting With Fam

The Recipe To Christmas’s Sweet Secret 

Coconut cookies
Photo Credits: Canva

Here’s a simple recipe for making bolinhas:


  • 1 cup semolina (rava or sooji)
  • 1 cup grated coconut (fresh or desiccated)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 cup ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg powder (optional)
  • A pinch of salt
  • A few tablespoons of milk (if needed)
  • Sliced almonds or cashews for garnish (optional)


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a baking tray with parchment paper or lightly grease it.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the semolina, grated coconut, sugar, cardamom powder, nutmeg powder (if using), and a pinch of salt.
  3. Gradually add the ghee to the dry ingredients and mix well until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Use your hands to combine the ingredients thoroughly. If the mixture seems too dry, add a little milk, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough holds together when pressed.
  4. Take small portions of the dough and shape them into small balls, or press them into moulds to form the desired shapes. If using sliced almonds or cashews, gently press them onto the top of each cookie for garnish.
  5. Place the shaped Bolinhas onto the prepared baking tray, leaving some space between each cookie.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Keep an eye on them, as baking time may vary depending on your oven.
  7. Once done, remove the Bolinhas from the oven and allow them to cool on the baking tray for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Store the cooled Bolinhas in an airtight container. They can be enjoyed for several days, although they often disappear quickly due to their delicious taste!

These Bolinhas make a delightful addition to any Christmas celebration, and their unique texture and flavour are sure to be a hit!

Cover Image Courtesy: Canva

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