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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Nan Khatai

Probably nan khatai are the first cookies I ever baked in my kitchen and so, they are special to me. Over the years I have tried various versions, liking them all even without realizing they had Parsi connection. This time around I tried this semolina-almond version which yield crispy, crumbly delicious nan khatai that are quite addictive. For the uninitiated, nan khatai are shortbread biscuits that are believed to be originated in Surat, a city in western India during 16th century. The word nan khatai is said to have derived from a Persian word 'naan' meaning bread and an Afghani word 'khatai' meaning biscuit.
According to the ebook Eat, Pray and Live, some of the Parsi cooks who worked for the Dutch in Surat had learnt to bake soft bread by fermenting the dough with toddy, which is supposedly the beginning of the legacy of Parsi bakeries in Surat. Parsis were inspired by the eggless Scottish shortbread, to create nan khatai, one of Surat's famous confections.The Surat bakers realized that the recipe was suitable for Gujarati vegetarians who did not eat eggs and adapted to suit the local populace by adding nuts and cardamom. Here is another interesting read about how nan khatai came to existence.

Ingredients: (Yield 18 - 20 cookies)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup semolina (I replaced half of it with ground almonds.)
2 tbsp. ground almonds (Optional)
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
A pinch of baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp. slivered almonds for garnish

* Sift together flour, semolina, cardamom and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Add ground almonds to the same bowl if using and mix to combine,
* Cream butter and sugar in another bowl until light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture in small increments and blend until a dough is formed. If for any reason, the dough turns out hard / dry, moisten it with little milk. (I didn't need any milk.)
* Preheat the oven to 350 deg F / 180 deg C. Grease or line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
* Divide the cookie dough into 18 - 20 portions and roll each portion into a smooth ball. Flatten them slightly with the palm of your hand and decorate with almond slivers. Gently press the almond pieces so that they stick to the cookie.
* Arrange them on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them an inch apart since they expand while baking.
* Place them in the preheated oven and bake for about 15 - 20 minutes or until they turn light golden in color. (I baked them for about 20 minutes, turned off the oven and left them in the oven for another 6 minutes or so.)
* Let them cool on a wire rack and store them in an airtight container.

This is my post under 'Parsi dishes'. Check the blogging marathon page to see what my fellow marathoners are cooking for BM#52.



Pavani N said...

Perfectly made Parsi nankhatai Suma. Lovely clicks.

Mayuri Patel said...

tempting nankhatai. Look good.

Sandhiya said...

I thought of making Nan Khatai for so long..Your post tempted me again. Perfectly done and lovely clicks..

sneha datar said...

A great tea time snack.

Priya Srinivasan said...

So perfectly done! feel like grabbing a few from the clicks!

Srivalli said...

Wow Suma your Nan Khatais have turned out so good..very lovely texture on top!

Varadas Kitchen said...

They looks so good. Tempted to make some.

Harini-Jaya R said...

They look so beautiful with the cracks on top!! Love all the versions of nan khatai.