With Eid right around the corner, I thought one of the best posts would be a quick sweet treat. Nankhatai is the epitome of desi high chai: eggless cookies made with semolina, a hint of fiery cardamom and creamy pistachios. It's traditionally made with ghee but I've replaced it with unsalted butter. I love making small personal things for guests to nibble on, it just feels a little more special and thoughtful! It's also not as time consuming as a heavy dessert which means you can spend more of your time with your loved ones.
Servings: 1 batch makes approximately 15 nankhatai
Prep+cooking time: 30 mins (plus an hour to let the dough rest)
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1/2 cup icing sugar
- 2-3 tbsp fine semolina
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature (not runny but soft enough to dent if you press your finger in)
- pinch ground cardamom powder (both bought and homemade are fine)
- pinch baking powder
- crushed pistachios to top the nankhatai
- 1-2 tbsp milk (if needed for kneading)
1) Preheat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Grind cardamom and pistachios separately in a pestle and mortar and leave aside.
2) In a mixing bowl, sieve icing sugar, flour and semolina together. Add a pinch of the ground cardamom and baking powder.
3) Add the softened butter, mix and knead well. If you need to, add a few drops of milk to create a soft dough. Cover the bowl and let it rest for up to an hour.
4) Separate the dough into 12-15 mini balls (they will become larger in the oven) and flatten on a greaseproof baking tray. I like to create a dip in the flattened ball for the crushed pistachios to be added but they will still stay in place if all you do is sprinkle and pat.
5) Bake for 12-15 minutes until the nankhatai rise slightly. They will be very soft when they come out of the oven and this is normal. Biscuits should harden once they are left to cool for a few minutes.
6) Keep your homemade nankhatai stored in an airtight container. They should be fine for a week or two but it is best to make small batches and have them as soon as you can.