Close

Diwali baking: Recipe for Nankhatai

It’s the same every year isn’t it? You try to get organised ahead of time to deal with the Diwali madness, but it all comes down to a hectic few days. I did manage to get a head start on Diwali baking this year, but completely forgot that Diwali falls over a long weekend this year… one that beckons a quick getaway from the city. It just struck me that I haven’t taken a holiday since July of last year! By the time I realized this, almost any and every decent place in the vicinity was booked out, so I’ve added my name to a wait list and am keeping my fingers crossed! But in the meantime, I am going to elaborate on the stuff I did _right_this year- I’ve baked huge batches of ‘nankhatai’ a traditional Indian shortbread ‘cookie’, to be wrapped up in pretty little parcels as gifts and to be served up at home over these holidays. Nothing like homemade stuff, right?

I’m so fascinated with the history of this biscuit, as we prefer to call it, in India. It has its roots in the Dutch-style butter biscuits, but I can promise you, I’ve tried the butter and only all-purpose flour version, and I swear by the addition of ghee (clarified butter) and chickpea flour. You can substitute half of the chickpea flour in this recipe with semolina, and that works fine too.

It’s a very simple recipe that has the dry ingredients in one bowl, and the ghee and sugar creamed in another. I always start out by using a whisk or wooden spoon, but by the time I get to the last addition of dry ingredients, it’s my bare (clean) hands that get this done best.

There’s no kneading required here, just gentle shaping into a round. I usually add milk to help bring the dough together. You’ll need 1 to 2 tablespoons to moisten the dough before you roll them into bite-sized rounds. Add the milk in increments of half-tablespoons until you feel you can roll these bite-sized rounds without it crumbling or developing cracks. That’s just the best way to go, and it never lets me down!

Some crushed pistachios top each nakhatai. Just press them down ever so lightly to flatten them only a teeny, tiny bit. And off to the oven they go!

They’re ready in just 20 minutes!

Some get packed in pretty box, and the rest are for you and me! Happy Diwali, everyone! I hope you enjoy these crumbly biscuits/ cookies over the long weekend. Keep your fingers crossed for me, I’m really keen to get away during this time!

Makes about 30 nankhatais.

Print Recipe
Diwali baking: Recipe for Nankhatai
It’s the same every year isn’t it? You try to get organised ahead of time to deal with the Diwali madness, but it all comes down to a hectic few days. I did manage to get a head start on Diwali baking this year, but completely forgot that Diwali falls over a long weekend this year… one that beckons
Servings
Ingredients
  • 200 / 1 gms cups ghee (clarified butter)
  • 160 / 1 gms cups sugar powdered
  • 240 / 2 gms cups all purpose flour
  • 120 / 1 gms cups chickpea flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 to Tbs milk
  • 2 Tbs pistachios , crushed (for garnish)
Servings
Ingredients
  • 200 / 1 gms cups ghee (clarified butter)
  • 160 / 1 gms cups sugar powdered
  • 240 / 2 gms cups all purpose flour
  • 120 / 1 gms cups chickpea flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 to Tbs milk
  • 2 Tbs pistachios , crushed (for garnish)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the ghee sugar until smooth.
  3. In a separate large bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, chickpea flour salt. Whisk in the powdered cardamom.
  4. In 2 to 3 batches, add the flour mixture to the creamed sugar ghee. Incorporate well after each addition use your hand if you need to. Don't knead the mixture.
  5. Add the milk in increments of ½ tablespoon, i.e. only half-tablespoon at a time, until to dough is moistened enough for you to roll it into a round bite-sized pieces without it crumbling or developing cracks. (see post). The remaining dough can be left at room temperature, covered with cling film.
  6. Place the shaped nankhatai on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes. At the half-way mark, i.e. after 10 minutes, rotate the tray, front to back continue to bake for the remaining 10 minutes.. Once done, allow the nankhatai to cool in the tray for 5 minutes (they will firm –up as they cool) then place on a wire rack until completely cooled.
Recipe Notes

Share this Recipe

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *