Updated: Dec 7, 2020
The tradition of baking homemade Xmas sweets has been around for generations in Goa. From sitting around with the family rolling out the dough, to sprinkling the sugar dust and off course tasting the first… second… and third batch, there is a family unity. Open up a good Goan cookbook and you will realise how many sweet varieties could be added to a big fat Goan Christmas sweet platter. Here are some of our favourites:
Bebinca is the queen of Goan desserts. This irresistible rich pudding usually comes with seven layers and is made with plain flour, sugar, ghee, egg yolk and coconut milk.
Batika is a delicious moist semolina cake, which is made all year round, but enjoyed especially at Christmas. The cardamom and nutmeg blend well with grated coconut to give it a delicious taste.
Dodol is a luscious sticky, thick sweet made from coconut milk, jaggery and white flour. It can be described as toffee halwa and has a unique taste, some may say acquired.
Doce is a labour of love, as it requires hours of stirring the ingredients to get the desired outcome. Doce literally means sweet in Portuguese and is made by boiling chick peas, coconut paste, sugar and ghee.
Cocad is a delectable traditional Goan sweet made with you guessed it… coconuts. Semolina, sugar, ghee and vanilla essence are added, along with butter paper which adds to the beautiful decoration.
These may resemble croquettes from a far, but don’t be mistaken. This is another delicacy which heavily relies on jaggery and coconut, but also contains brown rice, pepper, ginger and fennel seeds.
Bolinhas which translates as little ball in Portuguese are a popular tea time snack. These coconut cookies melt in your mouth. It has a similar taste to Batika as it contains semolina and a hint of cardamom.
Neoreos are referred to as sweet samosas, as they are deep fried pastries, which are enjoyed by various communities in Goa during festivals. There is only way to know which yummy filling is inside and that is to take a bite.
No one can resist grabbing a handful of kulkuls when they are passed around. Making these sugar glazed curls is fork fun for the whole family. Kulkuls are made with maida, semolina, sugar, egg, coconut milk and vanilla essence.
Perada is a sweet red guava cheese. It is made by grinding the ripe guavas into a smooth pulp and making a jam which is left to set. Lime, sugar, butter and oil are also added to the mix.
As our lives get increasingly busier, it’s much easier to outsource the making of sweets, but the very nature of the process is weaved into the fabric of Goan culture. On Christmas day the pride of serving homemade delicacies to neighbours cannot be beaten. This is reciprocated with delights during festivals such as Ganesh Chaturthi and Eid and is part of the communal harmony that makes Goa unique. Long may it continue! Merry Christmas!
What would you add to our Christmas sweet platter? Let us know in the comments below.