How to make Nankhatai/Indian cookies ?

Nankhatai /Indian “Biskoot” is a traditional Indian short bread cookie.A delicious, light and crispy evening snack to be had with coffee or tea.It is made with flour, ghee, sugar and yogurt. There are many variations of Nankhatai that can be made with different flours.This is an eggless recipe for Nankhatai.

How to make Nankhatai/Indian cookies ?

Deepavali, the Festival of Lights is almost here. A time to share the light, joy & happiness with friends & loved ones. Traditionally, it is a time to share home made sweets and savories too. Being far away from the motherland, you carry the good memories you remember the festival with in your soul.

Growing up there were traditional Deepavali sweet makers, who were employed at home during the festival season to make delicious sweets in large amounts to be distributed to friends & family alike. Since that was not an option in this land, yet wanting to carry the tradition forward, I decided on making some home made sweets for the festival.

Nankhatai or Indian Biskoot as it is called was one of them. Kids here have grown up knowing only “cookies” to represent anything sweet & baked. There are so many different kind of traditional sweets made in India, that it would be unjust to name them all cookies.Either way, it was an easy explanation to my kid when I called Nankhatai, an Indian short bread cookie, which in many ways it was.

How did Nankhatai come to be ?

Nankhatai, which has its origins from the major port city of western India called Surat. History states that an Indian baker was given the reins of running the Dutch bakery when the Dutch left India.This sweet was born out of necessity to keep the bakery running in those times.

Nankhatai are shortbread biscuits, originating from South Asia, popular in Northern India and Pakistan. The Urdu word Nankhatai is derived from Persian word “Naan” meaning bread and “Khatai” from Dari Persian meaning biscuit. In Afghanistan and Northeast Iran, these biscuits are called Koloocheh Khatai. Some say it might have a Persian or Chinese origin, since all these countries traded with India for the spices.

Festive season cookies

Nankhatai, is a very popular festive season cookie. It is easy & quick to make in batches and large numbers for gift giving. A melt in the mouth, kind of cookie perfect for young and old alike, and a great tea time snack at that. Would you not want to try it this festive season ? Perfect for a Fall evening tea time snack to be shared with friends & family too.

How to make Nankhatai/Indian cookies ?

How to make Nankhatai/Indian cookies ?

Recipe by Maya Shetty
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Cooking time




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  • 1 1/2 cup All Purpose Flour/Maida

  • 1/4 cup Besan (Chickpea Flour)

  • 1/4 tsp Baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg powder

  • 1/2 tsp Cardamom powder

  • 1/2 cup Ghee

  • 3/4 cup Brown sugar

  • 2 tbsp Yogurt/Curds

  • 2 tbsp Cocoa


  • Use a hand mixer to mix the ghee & sugar into a creamy paste.Set aside.
  • Mix all the dry ingredients together & gently pour into the sugary mix & knead it with your fingers, after adding the yogurt.
  • Knead the dough for 5-7 minutes until it’s evenly smooth, then make small round balls with little amount of dough, gently pressing them between your palms so they stay thick in the center & thinner on the edges.
  • For the swirl version with cocoa, I took a small portion from the dough & added a tablespoon of cocoa to make a smooth mix & then rolled separate doughs into small tubes side by side in the ratio of 1:3 ( chocolate/plain dough) & then braided them together & rolled them in my hands to create those beautiful swirl patterns.
  • Preheat oven at 300 degrees for 10 minutes before placing the greased cookie sheet containing the Nan Khatai’s. Wait for 20 minutes when they start turning golden brown, remove from oven & set on a cooling rack.When they are sufficiently cooled down, serve it to friends & family cherishing the light within.


  • Cardamom Chocolate short bread would be an apt name since under the British influence it was a tea time snack, yet the Hindu tradition did not allow the use of eggs or the palm toddy hence it was popularly called ‘Biskoot’ by the Indian population who stored them in air tight containers for later use.This ‘Biskoot’ tradition is fast disappearing to be replaced with the dunkin’ Oreos or the constipation curing ‘phoren’ conglomerates.The festive season is the best time to stir up some traditional recipes from the motherland & when coated with cocoa , it tastes that much more sweeter !

Nutrition Facts

6 servings per container

  • Amount Per ServingCalories1449
  • % Daily Value *
  • Total Fat 91g 140%
    • Saturated Fat 57g 285%
  • Cholesterol 230mg 77%
  • Sodium 365mg 16%
  • Potassium 384mg 11%
  • Total Carbohydrate 169g 57%
    • Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
    • Sugars 161g
  • Protein 3g 6%

  • Calcium 15%
  • Iron 17%

* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

Happy Deepavali ! Let the celebrations, begin!

Sharing some links to my published blogposts on Deepavali celebrations for your interest :


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