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!