Nankhatai

Nankhatai are eggless shortbread cookies, flavored with cardamoms. Sometimes even saffron is also added. It is very popular in India and you can find it in neatly packed in big stores or stocked up in a glass jar in a local bakery. I always preferred the local bakery because Nankhatai tastes best when fresh.  

What is Nankhatai?

In India we refer to these cookies at Nankhatai biscuits and the local bakery would make it fresh, melting in mouth delicious. Growing up, I was a picky eater and there were only few varieties of biscuits or cookies, I liked. Nankhatai was one of those that I was always excited about!

Unlike American cookies, most Indian biscuits are prepared with ghee (clarified butter). It is not only a healthy fat but also gives that beautiful caramelized flavor to the cookies.

It makes a perfect tea time cookie.

Nankhatai 1

These eggless cardamom shortbread cookies are:

  • Flavored with cardamom and you can use saffron too ( I didn’t add saffron)
  • Prepared with ghee
  • Eggless

You open a jar of Nankhatai and the first thing you will smell is ghee followed by a whiff of cardamom! It’s hard to pass without grabbing a couple of these short bread cookies.

Styled shortbread cookies

Ingredients needed for Nankhatai Biscuits:

Like many cookies, Nankhatai too has several versions and you can adjust as per your taste.

Ghee (You can use butter too but the authentic flavor will come from using ghee) – RECIPE LINK TO PREPARE GHEE

Powdered Sugar – It helps to incorporate better to the mixture as compared to using granulated sugar.

All purpose flour ( You can use wheat flour too however the texture and taste will be different)

Gram flour (besan) – This adds a lovely aroma to the cookies but you can avoid it and instead stick to just all purpose flour

Fine Semolina – Give a mind crunch to the cookies.

Cardamom powder ( You can add a little bit of saffron too. I used only cardamom)

Baking powder

Nankhatai - Eggless Shortbread cookies

Key point to remember while prepare Nankhatai Biscuits

 Follow the similar concept as you would for any crumbly cookies.

Always whisk the ghee and sugar until it’s incorporated and looks smooth

Make sure you sift the dry ingredients

DO NOT KNEAD. Just rub little ghee in your hand and take a little portion of the mixture in your hand and roll it into a ball.

If the mixture feels to too dry to bring together, then add a couple spoon of milk. But at any point do not knead.

Bake at 350 for 16 minutes. It will feel soft which is what you need for a good crumbly texture inside. If you bake it for longer, it will turn hard as the cookies cool down.

macro view of the Nankhatai biscuits

Nankhatai biscuit tastes best when fresh so I like to bake these in small batches. My recipe will make 17 small size cookies. Melting in mouth Nankhatai biscuits is a treat to kids and adults. A perfect tea time biscuit!

MORE COOKIES TO TRY

Nankhatai

Nankhatai

Yield: 17 cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 13 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes

Nankhatai are eggless shortbread cookies, flavored with cardamoms. Sometimes even saffron is also added. It is very popular in India and you can find it in neatly packed in big stores or stocked up in a glass jar in a local bakery. I always preferred the local bakery because Nankhatai tastes best when fresh.  

Ingredients

  • Ghee - 1/2 cup
  • Powdered sugar - 1 cup
  • All purpose flour - 1 cup
  • Gram flour - 1/2 cup
  • Semolina - 2 tablepspoons
  • Baking powder - 1 tablespoons
  • 1/2 teaspon cardamom powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespon roughly chopped pistachio

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F
  2. In a bowl whisk the ghee and sugar until it's combined, looks smooth and fluffy.
  3. To the bowl now sift all the dry ingredients (flour, semolina, salt, cardamoms and baking powder)
  4. Fold the mixture until it's looks crumbly. Then using your hand bring it togther without kneading.
  5. To shape the cookie, rub little ghee in your hand and take about 30 g amount of the mixture. Make a rough ball by squeezeing with your hand and then gently roll it to form a ball without any cracks. (WATCH THE VIDEO)
  6. Place the ball in a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or baking silmat
  7. Shape rest of the cookie balls and place them keeping 1 inch gap between each other. Using your finger make an indent in the center of the cookie to place little pistachios.
  8. Score an X gently at the center. This helps to release the air when it bakes instead of cracking the cookie from all around.
  9. Place little chopped pistacios in all the cookies.
  10. Bake in the middle rack for 16 minutes.
  11. When you take out after 16 minutes, it will feel soft, do not bake more. Leave it on the hot cookie sheet for 5 minutes.
  12. Then trasfer it to a cookie wire rack for it to cool completely before you store the Nankhatais.

Notes

Key point to remember while prepare Nankhatai Biscuits

Follow the similar concept as you would for any crumbly cookies.

Always whisk the ghee and sugar until it's incorporated and looks smooth

Make sure you sift the dry ingredients

DO NOT KNEAD. Just rub little ghee in your hand and take a little portion of the mixture in your hand and roll it into a ball.

If the mixture feels to too dry to bring together, then add a couple spoon of milk. But at any point do not knead.

Nutrition Information
Yield 17 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 276Total Fat 14gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 15mgSodium 163mgCarbohydrates 33gFiber 3gSugar 8gProtein 7g

All nutrition information presented are intended for informational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

Stack of cardamom shortbread cookies. Close up view.
Did you enjoy this Nankhatai? Share your creation by tagging @playfulcooking on Instagram with the #playfulcooking and I will re-share in my story!

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1 Comment

  • Aparna Somani
    Reply
    Aparna Somani
    August 30, 2020 at 12:22 AM

    There was this frail wrinkled old man who made fresh nan khatai By the lake in Nainital. We bought 4 pcs for ₹1/- unbelievable na ?? And they were so so so tasty. I’ve been looking for a recipe for the longest time. Will try and tag u too. Thanks. Made my day!