Nankhatai

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Eggless Indian Shortbread Cookies – Nankhatai are very popular during the festive season. These are flavored with ghee, cardamom and saffron and will melt in your mouth!

Nankhatai

In India, we do not associate our sweets and cookies with eggs. The crispy biscuits (that’s what we call cookies usually!) which are dipped in chai every morning are always eggless. Now a lot of new products have come up and cookies do have eggs in them but I remember growing up no biscuit ever had egg in it. Same goes with our sweets, always without eggs.

Now let me tell you something about Nankhatai. It is a very popular Indian biscuit (cookie). It’s made with ghee (clarified butter) and flavored with cardamom and saffron and is obviously eggless. Everyone has their own way of making nankhatai. Some make it using all purpose flour only, while others use a combination of flour and besan (chickpea flour). I have used these 2 plus also little sooji (semolina). The addition of sooji makes the cookies crispy and gives them a nice texture.

Nankhatai Biscuits

Nankhatai is one cookie which was made in India even when ovens were not all that common. In fact this is the only cookie that I can remember from my childhood that people used to bake at home using those traditional ovens with glass top. It’s one popular cookie during the festive season back home. And the good news is that it’s so easy to make at home. If you love nankhatai then I have got the perfect recipe for you. With only handful of ingredients, you will able to get the perfect nankhatai to gift your friends and family this festive season.

Nankhatai Recipe

These cookies are made with lots of ghee, yes not for you if you are watching your diet. That’s why I make it during the festive season because that’s one time when we all like to indulge and I thought there couldn’t be a better time to share this recipe with you guys than Diwali!

Nankhatai is like a shortbread in texture. My version will just melt in your mouth! There can’t be a better cookie to celebrate Diwali!

Nan Khatai Biscuits

 

 

Method

In a bowl sieve together flour, besan, sooji and cardamom powder. Add salt and mix till well combined.

Using your stand or hand mixer, mix/cream together ghee with powdered sugar and crushed saffron strands till fluffy.

Add the flour mix (the dry ingredients) and mix.

Nankhatai Recipe-Step-1

Mix till it forms a soft and smooth dough. The dough will be little sticky.

Cling wrap the dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes take the dough out and pinch equal size balls from the dough. Flatten each balls slightly with your hands and if you want make a criss-cross design on top with a knife. Press some chopped nuts in the center. Place the baking tray lined with the cookies back in the refrigerator again for 20 minutes.Nankhatai Recipe-Step-2

After 20 minutes, take out the baking tray and bake at 375 F degrees for 16-18 minutes or till the bottom of the cookies starts turning light brown in color. Please note that the cookies shouldn’t change color, only the bottom should turn brown. Remove nankhatai from oven and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container and enjoy!

Nankhatai

* The ghee to be used in this recipe should not me melted. It should be in a semi-solid state.

* Chilling the dough is mandatory. It just makes working with a dough a lot easier.

* This recipe will make more or less depending on how big or small you want your cookies to be!

Nankhatai

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Serves: around 20 cookies

Eggless Indian Shortbread Cookies, these Nankhatai will melt-in-your-mouth!
Ingredients
  • 1 cup all purpose flour or maida
  • ¾ cup besan or chickpea flour
  • ¼ cup sooji or semolina
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup ghee or clarified butter, in semi-solid state, should not be melted
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar or powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom powder, from 7-8 cardamom pods
  • ½ teaspoon saffron strands, crushed
  • chopped pistachios, to garnish
  • chopped almonds, to garnish
Instructions
  1. In a bowl sieve together flour, besan, sooji and cardamom powder. Add salt and mix till well combined.
  2. Using your stand or hand mixer, mix/cream together ghee with powdered sugar and crushed saffron strands till fluffy.
  3. Add the flour mix (the dry ingredients) and mix.
  4. Mix till it forms a soft and smooth dough. The dough will be little sticky.
  5. Cling wrap the dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  6. After 30 minutes take the dough out and pinch equal size balls from the dough.
  7. Flatten each balls slightly with your hands and if you want make a criss-cross design on top with a knife. Press some chopped nuts in the center.
  8. Place the baking tray lined with the cookies back in the refrigerator again for 20 minutes.
  9. After 20 minutes, take out the baking tray and bake at 375 F degrees for 16-18 minutes or till the bottom of the cookies starts turning light brown in color.
  10. Please note that the cookies shouldn't change color, only the bottom should turn brown. Remove nankhatai from oven and let cool completely.
  11. Store in an airtight container and enjoy!

 Nankhatai

Nankhatai-Collage

35 thoughts on “Nankhatai

  1. You keep posting the most incredible recipes, Manali! I’ve never heard of Nankhatai, but I am almost 100% certain that I would love these cookies. Check that, I am definitely 100% certain! Hope you have an awesome weekend!

  2. These cookies look perfect, Manali! I’ve never tried Nankhatai before but they sound amazing with the saffron, pistachios and cardamom combo! Love that they’re eggless too!

  3. These cookies look so amazing Manali, such a beautiful shape. They are perfect. Love that the recipe is eggless too – the addition of chickpea flour sounds great as well! Can’t wait to try these 😀

  4. Never before had heard about Nankhatai, but the combination of flavors is amazing! I will look for chickpea flour, but I’m not sure I can find it here in Mexico. As you know, I’m always watching out for the not so healthy ingredients in recipes, but as you said, once in a while it’s perfectly ok to eat traditional, comfy, full-fat, full-sugar recipes.

  5. I’m going to bake them, just happened to taste the raw mix, it tastes bitter 🙁

    Will it be bitter after baking :(??

    I followed your recipe completely ..

    1. Hello Vrinda! I am not sure why it tastes bitter, maybe the cardamom you used were not fresh? There’s no ingredient which should make the cookies bitter otherwise. I hope they turned out okay!

      1. Hi Manali, they came out fine !! After all

        Slight bitter after taste maybe that’s cos of the besan!

        This besan I got from the super market is a bit bitter. Maybe should stick to the Indian store 🙁

        But otherwise they taste perfect 🙂

  6. Manali, I really appreciate your efforts. Your nankhatai really looks good. But , you are trying to convey the wrong information. In India, we have so many sweet items made from egg especially the bakery items from the traditional Irani bakery. We love these kind of sweets. It may be your choice to use egg or not. If you will get the info about the origin of Nankhatai, it’s a Persian word having six mandatory ingredients. One of them is egg. You can cook as you want

    1. Hi Soby, thanks a lot of writing in. I am sorry I was not aware about the origin of Nankhatai, the one I ate growing up never had eggs in it so I always thought that’s how they are made. I never claim to be an expert in anything that I share on my blog. It’s what I have learned from everywhere (books, tv, friends, relatives, restaurants etc.) and that’s what I try to share here 🙂 So thanks for sharing this info with me. I am aware that eggs are used in a lot of bakery items in India, I was just talking about regular biscuits that we get in the market in India. Most are eggless in most parts of the country, that’s all I was trying to say.

  7. Hi!
    I see saffron and cardamom mentioned in the recipe but the directions do not say when to add it. I added it to the sugar/ ghee mixture prior to adding in the flour but not sure how it will turn out. The photo has saffron strands on top of the cookie but would this flavor the dough? Or is it just a decoration?

    1. Hi Liz! Sorry I just fixed it! Yeah adding the cardamom powder and saffron to the ghee-sugar mixture should work fine. Yes the saffron strands on top was just for pictures! The crushed saffron that you add in the cookie dough will flavor it and not the one on the top!

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