Nankhatai – cardamom flavored Indian butter biscuits

9 Apr

Nankhatai has always been my favorite. Their aroma is irresistible and these tiny blobs melt in your mouth the instant you take a bite. So, here is a little history about these biscuits.

Years ago when India was still a colony, Dutch set up a bakery in Surat to produce bread for their consumption. When the Dutch left India, they handed over the bakery to one of the their employees named Dotivala and the bakery became the ‘Dotivala Bakery’. Nankhatai is one of his fusion creation, a combination of ‘Dutch butter biscuit’ and an Indian sweet called ‘Dal’. In Persian, Nankhatai means ‘bread of Cathay’ or Chinese bread. It was one of his masterpieces and went well in the Indian market since it did not even consist of eggs.


Without much ado, here is the recipe.

INGREDIENTS (15-20 small biscuits)

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (measure it after it has been powdered)
  • 1/2 cup ghee
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp cashew/almonds (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Pre-heat oven to 350 degree fahrenheit.

Sift cardamom powder, sugar and flour and either use powdered sugar or powder regular sugar using a grinder. Cream sugar and ghee in a bowl using hand mixer till light and fluffy.  Knead in the flour gradually into dough. If you want you can add chopped nuts at this time and gently fold them into the dough. Make 15-20 small balls and place them on a greased cookie sheet. Place the greased sheet into oven for baking.


I remember my mother baking them once when I was a kid and the only thing I remember about that one session was that you need to be really careful when the biscuits are in the oven. Even a second more in oven would result in them getting over baked. Remember that the nankhatais should have no noticeable color change, color change indicates over-baking. Usually it take around 15-20 minutes but I would suggest you to bake only till cracks appear on the biscuits. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the biscuits cool.

Make yourself a nice hot cup of tea or coffee and enjoy it with nankhatais.

Have a good week and …bake away!!

4 Responses to “Nankhatai – cardamom flavored Indian butter biscuits”

  1. myninjanaan April 10, 2013 at 2:43 am #

    your nankhatai look gorgeous! I love the beautifully cracked tops!

  2. Zee May 16, 2013 at 4:48 am #

    I love Nankhatai! These were the first cookies I made that were not CCC. I have been making them for years and love adding some rose water and pistachios for special occasions! Try it out and see how you like it! I might feature them in my blog soon!

    • bakingfever May 24, 2013 at 7:17 pm #

      Thanks for stopping-by and the great idea Zee!! Will definitely give it a try 🙂

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