Quick Indian - Nankhatai

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Posted by Bina

These rich, melt-in-your-mouth cookies are a delicious tea-time treat. Or for that matter, a perfect anytime treat. Commonly known as nankhatai (pronounced naan-kha-taai) biscuits, one would usually buy them in in bakeries just like this one or from kharibiscuitwallahs - guys going door to door carrying huge tin trunks on their heads, selling nankhatais, rusks and khari biscuits. The trunk would open to reveal all the wonderful goodies neatly arranged in different compartments - square, oval and round shaped biscuits topped with almonds or cashews or pistachios or tutti-frutti, begging to be picked up!
Sometimes, when there was a surplus of ghee at home, we would send the ingredients to the local bakery to be baked into nankhatais. Much later, we got our first home oven - a contraption that sat on the floor and looked like a mini spaceship with a glass window on top! The nankhatais made at home were so good that we never went back to store bought ones again.

Nankhatais are easy and quick to make. All you need is flour, powdered sugar, ghee, baking powder and some cardamom. That's it. No fancy equipment for mixing either. Just toss everything into a bowl, mix with your fingers, roll into balls, flatten and bake. Super easy. A quick note about making ghee. It is almost like making browned butter or beurre noisette. Simply melt some unsalted butter in a pan, first on med-high and then on med-low flame until you see the solids settle to the bottom and turn golden brown. I don't bother with straining either. Just pour the liquid into another container and stop pouring when you see the solids coming to the rim of the pan. The liquid solidifies when it cools completely to room temperature.


Makes 24 cookies

200 gms all-purpose flour (approx. 1 3/4 cups)
140 gms powdered sugar (approx. 1 1/2 cups)
110 gms ghee (solid) (approx. 3/4 cup)
1/2 tsp baking powder
cardamom – 8 (only the seeds –powdered)
Cashews/pistachios/almonds for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Put flour, sugar, cardamom and baking powder in a bowl and mix well.

Add the ghee and mix until it forms a smooth ball of dough (You may need to add an additional 1-2 tbsp of ghee if the dough looks too crumbly).

Roll dough into balls and using your palms, slightly flatten each into a disc and arrange on cookie sheet.

Press a piece of cashew, pistachio or almond on top.

Bake at 300 degrees F for 15 mins (until bottom of cookie turns golden brown).

Let them cool completely before storing them in an airtight container.

* You can also make a saffron version by dissolving 1/4 tsp of saffron in a tsp of milk and adding it to the flour mixture along with the ghee and a few drops of yellow food coloring.

This post was written by Bina


These are among my favourites, except the ghee means I can't eat as many as I used to! :)

March 17, 2010 at 11:25:00 AM GMT+1  

This sounds like a great treat! I'd love to come for tea some time.

Unknown said...
March 17, 2010 at 2:31:00 PM GMT+1  

I just love Nankatai...my method is some what similar:)

Khaugiri said...
March 18, 2010 at 5:48:00 AM GMT+1  

hi would likw to know any upcoming events in ur blog?take care

TAZAIKA said...
March 18, 2010 at 9:31:00 AM GMT+1  

please leave a msg at my blog to let me know

TAZAIKA said...
March 18, 2010 at 9:32:00 AM GMT+1  

Having tasted these, I can vouch for one thing: these are dangerously DIVINE! Am going to try this recipe out, and include nankhatais in the menu for the baby shower I am hosting next month.

Kavita Daiya said...
March 18, 2010 at 8:34:00 PM GMT+1  

bina surplus ghee or not - these i love and i miss india so much for all those awesome bakeries! great recipe and lovely photos!

Meeta K. Wolff said...
March 18, 2010 at 8:37:00 PM GMT+1  

These look great! Its a simple recipe. I will try it. Thanks!

Anu Shah said...
March 18, 2010 at 8:53:00 PM GMT+1  

hi Bina do u rite a food blog urself?

Anonymous said...
March 19, 2010 at 7:02:00 AM GMT+1  

Aparna-Me too. Although, I did eat more than my share while taking pictures!
Sandy, Khaugiri, Kavita, Meeta and Anu-Thanks!
Anonymous-No....I don't have my own blog. I am happy just contributing to the Daily Tiffin!

Bina said...
March 21, 2010 at 3:38:00 AM GMT+1  

I remember yours and even Bailey had a bite that night coming back from your place! Your recipe has always worked so well for me! Good job :)

Helene said...
March 21, 2010 at 4:58:00 AM GMT+1  

these are just so pretty to look at it. and tea is definitely an order with them!

Chitra said...
March 25, 2010 at 8:04:00 PM GMT+1  

Hi Bina,
My mouth is watering. They look so good and you have described it such an easy to understand way. I am definitely motivated to try these out! Thanks for taking time to do this.

Usha said...
March 28, 2010 at 1:20:00 AM GMT+1  

Bina..I tried these nankhatai. It turned out so excellent. Thanks for sharing recipe with tempting pics.

Lavanya Raj said...
March 29, 2010 at 2:12:00 PM GMT+2  

Hi, I came across this blog, and it is wonderful! I tried this recipe over the weekend, they tasted very nice but came out brown and they did not rise.I am not sure what went wrong.I am thinking its the baking powder, it was old. Any suggestions?


Pavithra K said...
March 29, 2010 at 3:02:00 PM GMT+2  

Thanks Helen! Thinking of Bailey as a little puppy brought a smile to my face.
Usha and Chitra - Thanks!
Lavi - Am so happy you liked them!
Pavithra- If the oven temperature was too high, they would get brown. The recipe calls for a lower temperature (300F) compared to the more common 350F. If possible, just make sure the oven temperature is reading 300F. Also, I am very sure they did not rise because the baking powder was old. I hope you will try the recipe again with the changes and let me how the nankhatais turned out!

Bina said...
March 29, 2010 at 5:40:00 PM GMT+2  

Thanks a lot for your suggestion, Bina. Will definitely try it out with the changes and let you know.

Thank you

Pavithra K said...
March 30, 2010 at 6:28:00 PM GMT+2  

I tried these out yesterday, they're yummy! I now have a new recipe for my Christmas cookie exchange!

Barb said...
April 1, 2010 at 7:15:00 PM GMT+2  

Post a Comment