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Nankhatai Recipe- Diwali Special

Nankhatai is a shortbread cookie from India. It is very close to ‘Pecan Sandies’ in United States. It is made from flour, sugar, clarified butter and nuts.There is interesting history behind origin of Nankhatai. Nankhatai originated in Surat, a large port city in Gujarat.

IMG 0008 950x633 Nankhatai Recipe  Diwali Special Near the end of 16th century, Dutch explorers Van Houtman and Van Neck started to make trading posts in India for trade in spices. Surat was one of the occupied port city. Dutch set up a bakery in Surat to produce bread for their on consumption. When the Dutch left India, they handed over the bakery to one of the their trusted employees named Dotivala. He was to continue baking bread for the Dutch being left behind. The bakery became ‘Dotivala Bakery’. The demand for bread kept declining as more and more Dutch left India.

IMG 0040 Nankhatai Recipe  Diwali Special  Sura (sap from the Palm tree, or toddy) was used as yeast to ferment the dough. Hindus would not eat this bread because of Sura. The left over bread would become dry and crispy and sold to poor at discounted prices. Local masses liked the taste of this inexpensive dried out crispy bread, and ate it by dunking in Chai (Hot tea). Enterprising Dotivala changed the shape of the bread, and dried the slices in the oven. This oven dried bread is called ‘Irani Biscuit’.

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Popularity of Mughalai Cuisine led Dotivala to wrap his products in a false cloak of Persian Cuisine by giving them Persian names. ‘Irani Biscuit’ is obvious example. In Persian, Nankhatai means ‘bread of Cathay’ or Chinese bread.

There is a very large Gujarati population in Bombay. The Nankhatai were transported to markets in Bombay where it became popular teatime item. It was eaten by dunking in the sweet hot tea latte (Garam Masala Chai). IMG 0046 Nankhatai Recipe  Diwali Special

Finally, Dotivala had created a business with a line of biscuits that suited the Indian taste. Dotivala did not have to rely on Dutch for its economic success.

Nankhatai had six ingredients: Flour, Ghee, Sugar, Palm toddy, Eggs, and Almonds. Some historians assert that the name Nankhatai reflects the recipe where Nan stands for bread, and Khat meaning six refers to the six ingredients.Hindu population did not care for either the eggs or the palm toddy. The North Indians started to produce their own version of Nankhatai without any leavening at all. Without any leavening, the recipe started to resemble the European shortbread cookie. During Raj, the cookies were popular among the English, it reminded them of shortbread cookies. The British also imported their own shortbread cookies from England. IMG 9984 950x633 Nankhatai Recipe  Diwali Special

Ingredients

1 cup All purpose flour  IMG 0063 2 950x727 Nankhatai Recipe  Diwali Special ½ cup sugar½ cup ghee½ tsp baking soda1 tsp cardamom powder

Method

Sieve all purpose flour, baking soda and cardamom powder. IMG 9892 950x633 Nankhatai Recipe  Diwali Special Blend the sugar and ghee till smooth. IMG 9894 950x633 Nankhatai Recipe  Diwali Special

IMG 9897 Nankhatai Recipe  Diwali Special Add the sieved ingredients to the sugar-ghee mixture. The dough should be kneaded well for at least 7-8 mts. If the dough is not stiff enough to roll out into balls, add a few tbsps of cold milk and chill for a few minutes. IMG 9899 950x633 Nankhatai Recipe  Diwali Special Pinch dough and shape into small balls and slightly flatten. Garnish with almonds or pista. IMG 9906 950x633 Nankhatai Recipe  Diwali Special Place on a greased tray. IMG 9909 Nankhatai Recipe  Diwali Special Pre heat oven for 15 mts, bake at 180 C for about 20-22 mts. Once baked, the cookie will feel soft on touch. Remove from oven and cool and the cookies will harden. IMG 99141 950x633 Nankhatai Recipe  Diwali Special

IMG 9920 950x633 Nankhatai Recipe  Diwali Special Cool the nankhatais and store in airtight container. IMG 9926 950x633 Nankhatai Recipe  Diwali Special

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Ref: IndiaCurry.com

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Categorised as: Appetizers | baking | Breakfast | Dessert | Food | Food Photography | Indian Cuisine | Maharashtrian | Snack & Starter | Vegetarian


9 Comments

  1. Ekta says:

    What’s all purpose flour ???

  2. dassana says:

    the story is so interesting. i did not know these facts about the nankhatai. gotta make some soon.

  3. Homepage says:

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  4. KP says:

    these look beautiful. Is there any reason you baked in cupcake pan? Can I bake in cookie sheet?

    • cravecookclick says:

      Hi there, thanks much. You can definitely bake them in a cookie sheet. I didn’t have one thus I baked in the cupcake pan:)

  5. Anita, I tried these and they turned out yummy. I added some Kesar to the dough and that made the nankhatai very fragrant. My dough was very soft after kneading so I had to refrigerate it for about 20 mins. Thanks for this easy and awesome recipe.

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