Nankhatai (pronounced naan-kaa-tie) are lightly spiced, buttery biscuits from Northern India – think of them as India’s own shortbread. They are soft, buttery and golden thanks to the use of ghee instead of butter, sweet, subtly aromatic and egg-less, like almost all Indian baked goods.

Nankhatai will always remind me of Eid day, or more specifically, the prep up to the festive day as my mum, grandma and aunties would bake generous batches of them in anticipation of the sighting of the young moon, which would signify the day of Eid.

Empty tubs, jars and tins would be filled with sweet, gently spiced goods which would be laid on grazing platters for us on Eid, as well as distributed amongst neighbours, friends and family on paper plates, filled with homemade sweets and covered with napkins or a flimsy piece of clingfilm, teasing the lucky recipient with the gifts laying underneath.

Although a very popular Indian biscuit which is often dunked into chai and sold in supermarkets as Digestive biscuits are, Nankhatai will always feel like a “special occasion” biscuit to me and hold a real nostalgic place in my heart. They’re super easy and utterly delicious so try making them and gifting them to your neighbours as the matriarchs in my family do. If you’re making them in preperation for Eid day, then Eid Mubarak to you!

Nankhatai

Nankhatai

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Course: Sweets & BiscuitsCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Easy
Servings

20

cookies
Prep time

40

minutes
Cooking time

15

minutes

Lightly spiced, buttery biscuits from Northern India – think of them as India’s own shortbread.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 gram gram flour

  • 1/4 cup semolina

  • pinch fine sea salt

  • 3/4 cup icing sugar

  • 3/4 cup ghee at room temperature, not melted

  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder

  • pinch saffron powder

  • drop milk, only if dough needs bringing together

  • chopped pistachios, to garnish

Directions

  • Sift the all-purpose flour, gram flour, semolina, sea salt and icing sugarinto a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the ghee and combine with the dry ingredients using your hands. Mix until a soft, smooth dough is formed. Add a splash of milk if it is still too dry and struggling to come together.
  • Wrap the dough in clingfilm and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 180°C and prepare a baking tray by lining it with greaseproof paper. You’ll have to do multiple batches so bear this in mind.
  • Once the dough has chilled, pinch equal sized balls from the dough, around 1-1.5 inches.
  • Flatten each ball with your palm and press a few chopped pistachios into the middle
  • Place on a baking tray, with space between each biscuit and bake for around 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Your oven may take less time or longer so keep a close eye.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Great dunked in tea, or chai to be specific.

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