Nankhatai is an eggless, traditional Indian shortbread cookies. They are made with flour, semolina, ghee, and flavored with cardamom and saffron. These Indian cookies are crumbly, buttery, and quite addictive (in the right way). If you’re in the mood to bake this weekend, try this fail-proof Nankhatai recipe.
What is Nankhatai?
The name Nankhatai comes from two words – ‘naan’ meaning bread and ‘khatai’, meaning biscuit or cookie. In other words, nankhatai is a traditional baked biscuit that uses a basic unleavened bread recipe and depends on the addition of dry fruits and spices to flavor it.
The texture of these cookies is soft and mouth melting. Eggless and easy to bake, these Indian cookies are ready in 30 minutes. They are a perfect teatime companion that can be munched on, anytime.
What is Nankhatai made of?
For making Nankhatai, you need:
All-purpose flour (maida)
Gram flour (besan)
Powdered white sugar
Green cardamom powder (elaichi powder)
Ghee (clarified butter)
Besan has a naturally nutty flavor that works well with the saffron to produce an inherently Indian flavor to the dish. Roasting the besan heightens the nutty taste. I also use semolina (sooji) to build a better texture in the cookies. Adding semolina makes the cookies less ‘doughy’ and more crunchy.
Many other variations to the Nankhatai recipe involve the addition of chocolate, pistachios, or other flavorings. However, the classic version is delicious on its own, as well.
This Nankhatai recipe uses cardamom and saffron as flavoring agents. Albeit simple, this combination works wonderfully well in seasoning the biscuit to perfection – the result is a cookie that will appeal to tastes across borders.
How to make Nankhatai?
Unlike other cookies, this one requires no addition of milk or water.
Combine all the ingredients and form a smooth dough similar to a shortcrust pastry.
No need to knead the dough. As soon it comes together, set it aside for 3 – 5 minutes or store in the fridge until you are ready to make cookies.
Grease a flat baking tray and place the cookies balls on it, leaving enough space between each ball to allow for expansion. Make a cross on top of each cookie using a sharp knife.
Add shaved almonds, pistachios, cashews, strands of saffron, sunflower seeds, or any other nuts on the cookie to decorate it.
Bake cookies in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 25 minutes. Do keep a check on the cookies while baking to ensure they don’t get burnt. Smaller sized cookies might cook faster.
Now, once the cookies are baked, cool them on a wiring rack for 15 mins or till they reach room temperature.
How to store nankhatai?
Store Nankhatai in a dry and clean air-tight jar. They keep well for 2 – 3 weeks when stored this way. Keep away from moisture/humidity as they might get stale and lose their crunch.
Love Nankhatai? Try these easy eggless baking recipes:
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- 1 Cup all-purpose flour (maida)
- 1/2 Cup gram flour (besan)
- 2 1/2 tablespoon semolina (sooji/rava)
- 1/3 Cup powdered white sugar
- 1 teaspoon green cardamom powder (elaichi powder)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 Cup melted ghee (clarified butter)
Ingredients For Topping:
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped pistachio
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron strands
- In a mixing bowl combine, flour, semolina, baking powder, cardamom powder, salt, sugar and mix nicely using a wire whisk or spatula.
- Add the melted ghee and form a smooth dough. Do not use water or milk to bind the dough. If required, use a tablespoon or so of more ghee. The cookie dough should be non-sticky and soft like a shortcrust pastry.
- Pinch a small lemon size portion of the dough and shape it into a round ball. Similarly, shape all the cookies. Arrange the cookies in the baking tray.
- Using the tip of a sharp knife or a toothpick, gently make a cross on top of each cookie. Sprinkle chopped pistachio and saffron strands inside the cross on top.
- Bake cookies in a preheated oven for 20 – 25 minutes. Check and if cookies are still too soft, bake for 5 – 10 more minutes.
- Let Nankhatai cool on a wire rack ( buy it here ) before transferring to container.
- Serve Nankhatai with a cup of masala tea or milk.
- Do not plcae the cookies too closely in a baking tray. Give each cookie some room to expand.
- To make sugar powder, grind white granulated sugar in a mixer. Or you can use castor sugar as well.
- Please note that the cookies turn little hard after cooling down. They are bit fragile when hot and just out of the oven.
- For extra flavor, you can add saffron in the dough as well.
- Nankhatai can be easily stored at room temperature in an airtight container for a month.
- You can prepare the cookie dough in advance and store in the fridge like a shortcrust pastry.
- Equipment Used: Oven ( buy it here ), Baking tray ( buy it here )