Nan Khatai – Indian Shortbread Cookies(Eggless)

Nan Khatai, Indian Shortbread Cookie

The year has flown by right before my eyes and are we just a week away from the New Year?

How did that happen? I haven’t ticked off half of the things I planned to do and the next is already knocking.This pace scares me sometimes.Can I say ‘slow down’?

Indian Shortbread Cookies, Nan Khatai Sinfully Spicy

Before we get to the new year though, there have to be some cookies – for Christmas!

While most of you must be having kitchen counters overflowing with cookie jars, oven & stovetops put to overuse during this time of the year, I need a place to hide. I havent done anything except roaming around the city to see Holiday decorations (you can see pictures on my Instagram profile) and buying stuff  for the house in the name of discounted shopping.We put up our first Christmas tree ever this year. All lit up and decked in red and gold ornaments, I like the warmth it brings to the house, particularly in the evenings.

Ingredients, Indian Shortbread, NanKhatai

It began with the neighbor asking what all cookies I m baking for the holidays. I literally wanted to run away from in front of her.

In all honesty, I havent baked anything sweet for last six months. The oven has been put to good use though – roasting vegetables, making pizzas or slow roasting meats. I scanned through the archives and this is what I baked last, in June. As much as I would like to continue this way, with the mood around, I could not keep myself from making these cookies and sharing with you all.

Indian Shortbread Cookies, Sinfully Spicy

There is no particular story as to why I chose to make these. Frankly,this is the only recipe which I m most confident about when it comes to cookie baking.Its one of thosebaby-steps kinda recipe for me before I started full-fledged baking . One of my aunt’s friend handed over it to her at school, she tried it, everybody at home liked it and then it remained forever in the family.

Nan Khatai, Indian Shortbread,SInfully Spicy

The versions of Nan Khatai available in India are as many as the number of states. It’s mostly the type of flour which differentiates them. Some recipes use only all-purpose flour, some use semolina or whole wheat flour, others chickpea flour and few others a mix of all. This recipe falls into the last category.

Currently, these are a favorite treats in the house. I like the dominant flavor of chickpea flour in here – when combined and slow baked with ghee & sugar, it is divine.Nutty & crumbly with hints of saffron & cardamom – they are quite addictive with a cup of masala chai or some unsweetened warm milk.

Happy Holidays Everyone & Wishing all of you a Wonder New Year!

Printable Recipe

Makes about 28-30 cookies


  • 1 cup ghee, softened but not melted (substitute with unsalted butter)
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar (or castor sugar, do not use granulated sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp saffron threads, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 cup mota besan or ladoo besan (coarse chickpea flour,available in indian stores)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sooji (fine semolina)
  • pinch of salt
  • Sliced almonds or any nuts of choice


  • You could use regular chickpea flour available in grocery stores in this recipe. I find that using coarse ground chickpea flour gives a far better texture to the cookies.


In a large bowl, using a spatula gently cream ghee and sugar till smooth. Mix in the saffron and cardamom powder. Set aside.

Sift besan, flour, sooji & salt.

Add the sifted flours to the ghee-sugar mix in parts stirring continuously till you get a soft dough.The dough will be sticky. Wrap up the dough in a cling film and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes or until firm. Once firm, take our the dough and knead it for 3-4 minutes. From the heat of the palms, the ghee will melt, refrigerate the dough again after kneading.

Line your cookie sheet with parchment.

Take out the refrigerated dough. Pinch equal portions of the dough. Roll each portion between your palms to make smooth balls with no cracks. Line the balls on the cookie sheet with at least 2″ space between them. Lightly press some sliced almonds on top of each ball.

Refrigerate again for 15 minutes. Meanwhile preheat oven to 300F.

Bake on the middle rack for 18-22 minutes watching closely. The cookies should not change color. When you see that the bottoms begin to brown lightly, remove from the oven and let cool on the sheet itself for 5 minutes. Transfer to a rack later and let cool completely.

Store in an air tight container at room temperature for upto 2 weeks.

Enjoy & Take Care!


  1. These look delicious! I love that the recipe calls for ghee!!

  2. Lovely cookies! They must taste wonderful and be really addictive.

    Happy Holidays!



  3. you still managed to bake these crumbly cookies but I dint bake a single thing this year. The nankhatais surely look delicious and pretty. Merry Christmas to you Tanvi.

  4. I have tried a couple of different ‘Nan Khatai’ recipes before and haven’t really liked them much. Yours does sound different so I should try baking them.
    Unlike you I have been on a super duper baking spree so while I am at it might as well just bake another batch of cookies ;)

    Merry Christmas to you and your family Tanvi!

  5. How lovely they look. Their shapes are so perfect. I made Coconut burfi from your recipe for Christmas instead of cake and I am eating Pav Bhaji for breakfast, again from your recipe as I write this. Both turned out really good.
    Thank you for all the wonderful recipes you’ve given us this year.
    Merry Christmas.

  6. perfect nankhatais. wish you merry christmas and happy holidays.

  7. Nankhatais looked so delicious. This is one of the easiest recipe ever. Gorgeous clicks as always. Merry Christmas to you girl!

  8. i’ve never seen nan khatai made with besan. That’s so interesting! Yours look amazing :)

  9. Nami | Just One Cookbook says:

    Hope you had a nice Christmas Tanvi! Your Indian shortbread cookies look beautiful. Well, your styling and photography is gorgeous too. It was fun and nice to see your post (and I hope to see more posts next year! ;)).

  10. Who can resist to this cuties, stunning..Xmas wishes.

  11. Season’s Greetings. I quite understand your wish to slow down over the holidays. The pace can get chaotic at times. These cookies look quite lovely..

  12. I know, it seems like this last year has just flown by! These cookies may help me more forward into the new year more easily though :)
    Happy New Year!

  13. Hi Tanvi! Came across your beautiful blog! Absolutely in love with these shortbread cookies! And eggless too! I know my vegetarian friends would so indulge in these! Merry Christmas to you and Happy New Year!

  14. wow these cookies are very nostalgic to me, reminds me of my childhood when i used to buy them from local bakery.

  15. Wow very nice cookies! And eggless is a bonus!

  16. Delicious cookies!

  17. Looks so tempting, nice clicks

  18. I love this type shortbread cookies – just butter, sugar and flour. And I can tell how delicate it would be with powdered sugar. I think I will try with just the all purpose flour and cardamom, I do not have saffron. But cardamom will smell the house so lovely, I can imagine.
    If it makes you feel better, I do not bake cookies at all during Christmas. This year, I was kinda of a Grinch and did not even put a tree up !Laziness took over me for some reason.

  19. Dalton Likins says:

    i really love to munch cookies and different types. they are quite handy snacks to bring about.:

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  20. Juliana says:

    Beautiful cookies, cannot believe that they are eggless…
    Have a great week Tanvi!

  21. I hope you had a happy new year, Tanvi! I agree, this year absolutely FLEW by. We had a big year, but still… kind of hoping 2013 lingers a bit longer :)

    Love the cookies, such a nice way to bring in the new year. They look so festive and light, perfect with my ritual 4pm tea.

  22. The cookies look scrumptious! Glad to find your blog. Love the pictures and styling.

  23. hi there,
    tried out your recipe and it was excellent. i have updated in my space.. check it in your free time

  24. I love nan-khatais, and love to bake them too. I have definitely modified them a little, for the taste-bud of my daughters.

  25. Oh YUM!

  26. Its YUMMY…Very delicious and everyone will love it.

  27. Hey I am in middle of this process now and got stuck with very sticky dough !! I did put in freeze but it’s still the same. I took all the measurements correctly !!?? Don’t know what to do ??

  28. I like your recipe with more protein in chick peas flour Good for tea time

  29. Shubha.m.v says:

    Came out very well. Everyone at home and friends relieshed.

  30. For me cookies just melted in container due to lots of ghee… dough was melting in my hand did not allow to roll…pls help

    • Don’t panic. Refrigerate the dough till it is firm. There is no rolling involved in the recipe. You just need to pinch small balls of the dough and put on cookie sheet once the dough is cold enough to handle.

  31. Sheetu says:

    I have tried these nan khatais more than 10 times now and everytime they come delicious. I did make some adjustments by swapping the quantity for maida and besan. Yummilicious. Thank you for sharing the wonderful recipes. Love your photography :)


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  4. […] The fresh aroma of ghee makes you forget about those extra calories The recipe is adapted from here. But i have made few adjustments with the proportion of the flours added. It tastes exactly the […]

  5. […] The fresh aroma of ghee makes you forget about those extra calories The recipe is adapted from here. But i have made few adjustments with the proportion of the flours added. It tastes exactly the […]

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