Bolinhos de coco ( Goan cookies)


December is officially here!! I guess all of us agree that time does fly by with the blink of an eye! Is it just me? Why do I feel like this phenomenon never occurred when we were kids? Perhaps, we didn’t have a dime worth of worries back then!

Let’s rejoice anyway, it’s the holiday season!!! The joyous feeling of Christmas is already in the air, with gifts, decor & other holiday accents embellishing the racks of most stores.

I’ve begun preparing my Christmas goodies:) Today I made these traditional Goan cookies, ‘Bolinhos’ , which means cookies in Portuguese and ‘coco‘ means coconut.  Usually, whenever we visited Goa, we would just buy packets of these from the store, but I never really liked them! Today for the first time , I made it at home , with the help of my mum in law. She learnt this from her younger sister’s mum in law, so this recipe is almost 3 or may be even more generations old. I just loved the outcome of today’s bake, and I cannot even compare them to the store bought ones, no wonder I never liked them, but that perception has changed for good now. These coconut cookies are really delectable , crunchy on the outside and have a soft and crumbly interior , with  the flavor of coconut and nutmeg being pretty prominent.




500 grams semolina (rava), the coarse variety

3 cups freshly grated coconut/desiccated coconut

375 grams granulated sugar ( you may even use 500 grams of sugar if you want the cookies sweeter)

4 medium eggs

1 stick unsalted butter / 113 grams butter

3/4 – 1 teaspoon nutmeg powder

1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. In a thick bottomed pan , roast the semolina , stirring continuously, until dry and aromatic, takes about 10 minutes.
  2. In the grinder jar, add the freshly grated / desiccated coconut, pulse it a couple of times, to break down the grated coconut to smaller bits. Now add 1/2 cup water, grind . It will not turn into a smooth paste, but will just moisten the fine coconut bits, not affecting the texture much. ( refer pic)
  3. In a big mixing bowl, add eggs and sugar. Whisk to blend well, we don’t have to incorporate air.
  4. Next, add the ground coconut mixture, mix well.
  5. Now add cubes of butter, whisk and mix it well into the mixture. Don’t worry if the mixture looks a little curdled at this point.
  6. Now add the roasted semolina in 5-6 batches, stirring the mixture well with the addition of each batch.
  7. Add the nutmeg powder, mix everything well. The mixture will still be wet at this stage. Cover with a plastic wrap and let it rest on the counter at room temperature for  6-8 hours , the semolina absorbs all the moisture in the batter and puffs up.
  8. Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. Line the baking tray with parchment paper. Make small lime size balls from the batter. Place them on the prepared baking tray, flatten them , with the help of a knife, cut a cross in the middle of each. Bake at 350 degrees F, for about 35 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer the tray to a cooling rack, let it cool completely. Store in an air tight container.




I would love to hear from you ! If you try this, please feel free to share your feedback with photos and suggestions to me at 


For an eggless version, you can substitute each egg for 1/4 cup yogurt. Keep the batter in the refrigerator, so the yogurt doesn’t turn too sour. Though I haven’t tried the eggless version, I think it should work well.

Thanks for stopping by!




  1. Loretta says:

    Remember bolinhos so well but I’ve never made them before. You can learn all the Goan sweets from your ma in law since she’s visiting for a while. If you make bebinca, I’ll surely be breaking down your door 🙂

    • Freda @ Aromatic essence says:

      Thanks so much Ronit! I usually get whole coconut from any store, Whole foods or walmart, break into two using a hammer, and grate it using a special coconut grater I got from Mumbai, I do this in a big batch and store it in the freezer, whenever I need it, Thaw it at room temperature and use. The whole procedure can be tedious. You will also find videos on Youtube, demonstrating other ways of cracking the coconut shell, then once you get the flesh ( only the white part) , you can cut them into small pieces, and pulse them in the food processor, that works out fine too. You can mostly certainly use desiccated coconut too Ronit.

  2. This Cake is Desi says:

    My daughter has a few friends from Brazil and she keeps telling me that their sweets are almost as good as our traditional sweets. These look perfect and I love anything that has coconut in there. Good One…:D

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