Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Recreation of a Childhood Favorite...

One of the biggest thrills I get from food blogging is the rediscovery of long-forgotten childhood favorites...I am sure a lot of us have these memories of foods tasted long ago, which we cherish for many years, either because of the unique nature/taste of that food or because of an event or circumstance associated with that food...I have such memories associated with an Indian cookie called "Nankhatai" because a lady, one of our neighbors, while we lived in Bombay, India(back when I was a kid), would bake it often and pass it onto us. At that time, we did not own an oven(baking was not a very commonly used cooking technique back then, for us)...so it was enthralling to taste home-baked goodies, hot off the oven. Plus, it was some cookie...light and crisp, almost airy and not overly sweet with a hint of nuts and cardamom...I truly loved it and I relished it many times back then...in fact, we shamelessly encouraged our neighbor aunty to make it more often!!!

After, we left Bombay and moved to Calcutta, it was forgotten and I probably never tasted it again..we had an oven at home then, still....until recently, when I was so thrilled to find recipes for it in various food websites. I was amazed to find the variety of ways to prepare this cookie...some recipes had all APFlour..some had a combination of APF and semolina flour and yet others had a combination of APF, semolina and chickpea flour...whew!!!

So, what is this "Nankhatai"? It is a shortbread-like cookie flavored with cardamom or nutmeg, a medley of nuts and was originally prepared using eggs and flour by the Parsi population in India, though later on Indian Hindus popularised an eggless version. I found a detailed video on the vahrevah blog with many interesting variations on the recipe which is what I followed, though I did make some changes to it, notably by reducing the quantity of sugar needed and ended up with a crunchy, mildly-sweet yet flavorful end-product...just like I remembered it!!! Here is to finding many more forgotten food faves...I know my family enthusiastically agrees with that thought...:))

Here is an interesting(read, detailed:)) history of this famous Nankhatai on the indiacurry website...in case you would like to know more about this delicacy(I did and I found more than I ever expected to know:)) This lovely, forgotten favorite goes to Priya's CWS - Cardamom Seeds event.

Recipe for Nankhatai:
Prep/cook time: 20- 25 mins.
servings: 14-16 pieces
1 cup all purpose flour (plain flour or maida)
1/4 cup fine sooji or semolina
1/2 cup gram flour (besan)(optional) if used, increase sugar to 2/3 cup
Pinch of baking soda (a little less than 1/8 teaspoon)
1/2tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon green cardamom seeds coarsely powdered (ilaichi)
crushed pistachio, almonds for topping
few saffron strands
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup sugar
1tsp yoghurt
Note: all ethnic ingredients are available at Asian/Indian grocery stores

preheat oven to 325 f

mix dry ingredients separately

mix wet ingredients well together

combine both...make soft dough ball...put in fridge for few mins...then shape into discs...press the mixture of almond-pistachio on each cookie

bake for 15 mins...will appear soft when removed from oven then will crisp up.


  1. Scrumptious Indian cookies, just love this fabulous nankhatai..thanks for sending Meena..

  2. Delicious tempting looking nankattais. Love to have them as a tea time snack

  3. Can I grab a few??? :-) Lovely tea time snack item.
    Hamaree Rasoi

  4. Nankatai looks yummy, love these cookies...

  5. Cookies looks so good...nicely clicked too..

  6. Cookies looks great dear very flavour rich cookie..

  7. hmm nice ...
    Can I add your blog to my blogroll. :)


  8. This is one of my favorite too :)

  9. Ohh wow looks inviting cookies..comeout perfect Meena!

  10. Meena,

    Nankhatai looks really crispy and yummy.

  11. I love them..and they look so yumm, Meena..

  12. Crispy and delicious nankhatai..

  13. Good one Meena, a surely childhood favorite :)

  14. i too use to love these but its been a while since i tasted it..looks so perfect

  15. Hi Meena,

    u made this so special by adding pistachios... crispy too..great! readymade naankhatai are without nuts..

  16. I love recreating food that has recipes attached to it. These cookies look fantastic! I love that they are flavored with cardamom...what a great spice!

  17. They looks delicious and I love about anything with cardamom and pistachios also. I'd like to have one now!

  18. Wowww... simply superb.. thanks for sharing dear!!

  19. Cookies looks great dear...nice crispy and tasty...I would love to have them for an evening snack with tea :)

  20. Wanted a good recipe for our indian cookies.I've bookmarked urs.Thx for sharing it.

  21. What a fun story. I'm sure you really liked that neighbor. She probably really liked making these yummy cookies for you too.

  22. Hi Meena! hru doing dearie??? Wow, this is really new dish to me! Pass me some pls...wanna try...hehe ;)

  23. Perfect Crispy Indian Cookies,Love it
    Drop in sometime to my blog

  24. this reminds me of my childhood too... Indian cookies is what it's called. Looks great.

  25. As you said, I get nostalgic with all those childhood food, quite often...coz of blogging. Never heard abt this dish, looks splendid, must be tastee one for sure.

  26. yummy cokkies, your blog template also simple and beautiful.

  27. Wow those cookies look so delicious!


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