Nan Khatai – I love these traditional Indian biscuits. These soft buttery and crumbly cookies are melt in the mouth and to die for. The smell of fresh baked Nan Khatai brings back memories of the local bakery we visited during our childhood. The flavor of cardamom and nutmeg filled the air with a beautiful freshness.
The word Nankhatai is derived from Persian word Naan meaning bread and Khatai from an Afghan word meaning Biscuit.
The history of the nankhatai in India began towards the end of the 16th century, when the Dutch set up a bakery in Surat to cater to the needs of the local Dutch. When the Dutch left India, the bakery was handed over to one of the Parsi employees who developed the Nan Khatai inspired from ‘Dutch Butter Biscuit’ and local sweet called “Dal’. The original Khatai included eggs and was leavened with toddy. Since the toddy taste didn’t suit the palate of many Indians, it was later modified to be made without any leavening at all. This version is very close to the Danish Butter Cookies I see here. Except for the addition of our beautiful spices. You will see a lot of recipes which use Ghee and caster sugar. I prefer using butter since I am not a big fan of Ghee. Also I altered using caster sugar with powdered sugar – I found the texture of the Khatai better with powdered sugar. Personally I feel the cornstarch in the powdered sugar helps keep the texture of the Khatai soft and the crust crispy.
Moving to the recipe, I made a big batch for Diwali. You can easily halve or double the recipe as per your choice. The recipe below gave me exactly 50 biscuits. This is so easy and quick to make – you would want to make it right now. I promise 🙂
Serves: 50 Nankhatai’s
1 cup or 226 g unsalted butter –at room temperature
1 cup or 125 g powdered sugar
2 cup or 250 g all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
Chopped pistachios for garnish
- In a mixing bowl, beat the softened butter until it is light and creamy.
- Combine powdered sugar and mix until well combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
- In a separate bowl, sift all Purpose Flour with baking powder, nutmeg powder, cardamom powder and salt.
- Combine the flour mixture (little at a time) with the butter mixture to form a soft dough.
- Do not over mix the dough. You could easily do this by hand. I used my stand mixer to make the dough just until the mixture comes together.
- Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for 15-20 minutes.
- When the dough is 15 minutes through in the fridge; preheat oven to 150 degrees C.
- Remove from fridge and give the dough a slight knead once again and divide into small equal portions. I used a coffee tablespoon to make fairly same sized portions.
- Roll each portion into a smooth ball with no cracks and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure you leave ample space between dough balls. These do spread quite a bit since it contains so much butter.
- Place chopped pistachios on the top of the cookie dough.
- Bake on the middle rack for 12-15 minutes. Keep a close eye since they brown really fast.
- You know these are ready when the base starts browning. You want to keep the tops white as much as possible.
- Remove from oven and let the nan khatai cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely before eating.
- You can store the Nan Khatai in an air tight container at room temperature.
Enjoy your festivities with these delicious melt in the mouth Nan Khatai or just everyday with your tea or coffee. I really do hope you give them a try and don’t forget to leave me a feedback when you do.
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Love & Hugs,