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Monday, January 2, 2012

Nankhatai - Delicious Eggless Indian Shortbread Cookies

A very Happy New Year to all my blog readers. I hope you had  great first of January and are charged up to start the new year with good food. I thought what was better than to start the new year with a recipe of delicious Indian shortbread cookies, called Nankhatai. These are rather rustic and delicious and moreover eggless and extremely easy to prepare.

These heavenly cookies are rather hard to find. When I was growing up, one could never find them in regular grocery stores. These had to be bought from bakeries (which used to filled with the divine aroma of cookies and cakes). And then there were some door to door vendors who used to cart them in a big tin box on a bicycle and sell them. Of course, the easiest way to access them was when Mom baked them at home, but that not very frequent. And now, I find it is even more difficult to find these. So, when I really want to eat some, I need to order them online from Indian bakeries in other states. I finally decided to make them at home. My husband was quite insistent that these be the original, rustic cookies/biscuits without any nuts or additions and so, I kept it very simple. These turned out absolutely great.  The best part was that my toddler daughter was also involved throughout the making of this recipe and she thoroughly enjoyed it and then ate the cookies with relish.

1 cup maida/ all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/8 tsp cardamom powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder

Sieve together the all purpose flour, salt, cardamom powder and baking powder and keep aside. Whip the butter till it is fluffy. Then add the powdered sugar to it and blend it well together. Then add the all purpose flour mixture, a little at a time till it is completely incorporated into the butter. At this stage, the mixture will come together in a dough like consistency. Knead it to form a smooth dough and then cover it with plastic wrap and keep aside for about 20-30 minutes. Then make small balls of dough, about 1.5-2 inches in diameter. Keep these on a cookie or baking sheet lined with parchment paper or grease the sheet with a little oil. Keep at least an inch between the dough balls, so that there is enough space for the cookies to spread out as they bake.

Preheat the oven to 300F. Bake these for about 20-25 minutes, till lightly browned. Let them cool on a cooling rack. Store in an airtight box.

You can substitute whole wheat flour (either pastry or the ones used to make rotis) for the all purpose flour. Keep the butter out of the fridge at room temperature for about an hour before you start baking, so that the butter and sugar whip well together. If you use salted butter, then skip the salt. Use powdered sugar, not icing sugar. You can blend regular sugar in the mixer and powder it very fine.


  1. These were absoultely divine; melting in the mouth & authentic taste.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe; i'm defly trying out this recipe.

  2. Thanks Ketaki. I am glad that you enjoyed them. Let me know how they turn out.