One of the fondest food memories of mine are about the bakery man who would come with a Tin Canister loaded with baked goodies – Khari biscuits & Nankhatai. He would go door to door asking regular customers, if they needed a refill of their favourite evening time snack and attracting new ones, with the aroma wafting through every time he opened the box to make a delivery. During the later years however, they stopped coming door to door, but the local bakery was never far away and we kept getting the regular supply of the delicacies.
Staying out, here in London makes me crave for these things & as usual I tried to recreate them at home. But I didn't always think they could be made at home. To be honest I did not consider making them at home until I saw some of the blogs with crunchy & delicious looking cookies and then I started my search for a perfect recipe.
My quest for the perfect Nankhatai has taken me to several websites, seen me cutting out many magazine & newspaper articles for the recipe. Since this all started when I could hardly call myself a baker, many unmentionable incidents have happened. The only one which was sort of a success, found its way on to this blog here. ‘Sort of a success’ because the end result was not exactly a Nankhatai but the ‘cookies’ were delicious and the only reason it could have been so was that I had had a little experience with baking by then but more importantly because I followed a trusted recipe.
I then happened to come by this one, on a site that I frequently visit,either for new recipes or to confirm the classic ones that I make. I wondered why I had not checked this website earlier for the Nankhatai recipe. The basic ingredients seemed to be the same, but the list did have some items which I have not tasted in the normal Nankhatai, so I just skipped them. Even the procedure looked quite familiar to what I had been trying for such a long time. I gave it a try nevertheless & while I was sliding in the baking tray in the oven, I knew that this time I have found the perfect one.
Makes approx 25-30
- 2 cups Plain flour (Maida)
- I cup Sugar
- 3/4 cup Clarified butter/Ghee (I used butter)
- 1 Tblsp Milk (Adjust according to need)
Pre heat the oven to 180 deg C.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together sugar & Clarified butter (butter in my case) until light & fluffy.
Add the flour in batches and keep mixing using very little milk.
Knead the mixture well and then make make small balls and flatten them, shaping them.
Arrange them on a baking sheet and bake for 15 min or until they start turning slightly golden.
Let them cool completely before storing them into an airtight container.
My Notes: While this was the closest I came to the Nankhatai sold in the shops in Bombay, I felt that they were a bit like Shortbreads.
But apart from this one small thing, they turned out delicious & were gone within no time.
The original recipe also had cardamom, saffron & nuts in it. But I don't remember getting that cardamom flavour in the Nankhatai I have had all my life in India, so I skipped it. Also since I did not want any kind flavour to it, I skipped the saffron & nuts as well.
I was very happy with the results here & concluded that this is as close as I will get to the Nankhatai at home!