Nankhatai is a special kind of cookie available in India. I guess it is a kind of fusion recipe which was developed by Persians migrating to India, for a population that did not eat eggs. Made with ghee, plenty of ghee, flavored with cardamom or rose, and dusted in nuts like pistachios, nankhatai cookies are great with a cup of tea, or for special occasions like Diwali. Here’s my simple and easy Nankhatai recipe.
The prep time for these cookies is short, but the baking time is high. The big difference here is that these cookies are baked at a very low temperature so that they remain snow white even after being baked. I am sure this also gives them their unique powdery texture which crumbles and melts in your mouth.
This Nankhatai recipe is the most basic one, with cardamom or elaichi and pistachios. The big advantage of making these cookies at home is that you can use your homemade ghee to make them. It is a big relief to know what kind of ‘fat’ has gone into the cookies. One or two can be enough at a time, even for a cookie monster. If I had to compare, I would say these are very similar to Sandies shortbread. But baking at low temperature really makes a difference.
I also made a variation of these – pumpkin cookies – for my pumpkin cookbook. Using pumpkin puree changed the taste and texture of those cookies but they were delicious!
Many bloggers have termed Nankhatai as a Diwali special sweet. Well, it is not a Diwali sweet per se in my family – we tend more toward Karanjis and Ladoos, but why not? They are decadent and rich, and super yummy. Plus they need a minimum of effort.
Nankhatai Recipewith Cardamom Recipe
- 1/3 cup ghee
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 11/2 cups AP flour
- ¼ tsp cardamom powder
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 1 Tbsp pistachios, roasted and crushed
- Cream the ghee until light and fluffy.
- Add powdered sugar and whisk again. Continue until sugar dissolves and mixture is light and fluffy.
- Now add cardamom, baking powder and baking soda.
- Add the flour and mix lightly to form a dough.
- Set aside for 15-20 minutes.
- Grease a cookie sheet and preheat oven to 150C.
- Divide dough into equal portions and roll them into balls. Dab the rolled ball on chopped pistachios.
- Place on cookie sheet at equal intervals.
- Bake until the cookies puff up and tops are browned very lightly. Only slight cracks should appear on the surface. They take almost double the time of normal cookies.
- Makes 12+ Nankhatai cookies.
- Note - Nankhatai cookies are baked at a low temperature. Since oven temperatures vary, adjust yours to run much colder than usual.
Why not give these Elaichi Nankhatai a try this Diwali?