Nankhatai is a traditional Indian-style shortbread made to celebrate occasions like Raksha Bandhan or Diwali (or any occasion that needs something sweet!). These cookies are known as sweet, buttery cardamom infused biscuits that gently crumble and melt in your mouth. It is as delicious as it sounds.
I have made these to celebrate Raksha Bandhan this year. Raksha Bandhan is a beautiful Indian occasion that celebrates a unique bond between a brother and sister. Raksha means protection, and Bandhan means ‘to tie’, so the annual celebration is initiated by the sister tying a special thread around the brothers wrist, and then sister receives a blessing and a commitment of love and protection from her brother. In many Indian families around the world, sisters have tied sisters, brothers have tied brothers, and best friends have tied each other, just to celebrate this incredible bond of love and protection from one another.
This year is particularly special as my son now has a sister, and it will be their first Raksha Bandhan together. I don’t have a brother, and my husband doesn’t have a sister, so it will be the first time our home will get to celebrate this sacred occasion.
The Secret Ingredient
I decided to use lavender buds for this recipe because I truly thought it would taste amazing in this. I am always looking for ways to make convention recipes unconventional. Lo and behold, lavender is the secret, missing magic in the BEST kind of nankhatai. You will love this!!
The Other Ingredients
Nankhatai is very easy to make. It’s just a combination of:
- All-purpose flour (or atta/whole wheat flour)
- Besan (chickpea flour)
- Sooji (semolina)
- Ghee (or unsalted butter)
I have added almond flour in this recipe for more flavour, crunch and nuttiness.
A Few Tips
Before you make this, it is important to know the following things so you can make the best nankhatai as possible! Indian food may have the simplest ingredients, but it is all about technique!
- You must mix the dry ingredients separately and the wet ingredients separately before combining them together. Thats how you ensure an even distribution of all the flavours.
- I ran out of ghee, so I used unsalted butter. I gently melted the butter over the stovetop so it turned liquid, and easier to combine with the flours.
- If you notice your dough mixture is too crumbly and not sticking together, add more ghee/butter. You need the dough to be firm enough to not fall apart when you round it into cookies and place it on the baking tray.
- When you take your nankhatai out the oven, you must let it cool down before you take it off the tray. When it comes out of the oven, it will be very soft, so just be patient as it cools down and hardens.
I hope you enjoy making this! Please don’t forget to let me know how it is by RATING or COMMENTING below! Thank you!
Lavender Nankhatai (Eggless Shortbread Biscuits)
- 2 Mixing bowls
- 2 Saucepans one small, one big
- 1 Whisk
- 1 Spatula
- 1 Baking tray
- Parchment Paper
- 1.5 cup unbleached all-purpose flour or atta/whole-wheat flour
- 1/2 cup besan chickpea flour
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup sooji semolina
- 200 grams ghee or unsalted butter If you’re using butter, it should be melted and cooled in liquid form
- 7 tbsps organic cane sugar or any sugar you prefer. This is in tbsps so you can adjust how sweet you want it. For me, 7 did it!
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp cardamom powder if you dont have powder, use 10 pods, open them up and take out the seeds. You can keep the pods for something else, but you only need the seeds for this recipe.
- 2 tbsp lavender buds as per the picture in my blog
- First, we need to make the lavender powder so it blends well in our dough. To make this, we need to roast the lavender buds (with the cardamom seeds if you're using that) in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Once the buds and seeds turn light brown, and you can smell the aroma, transfer it to a pestle and mortar. Grind it into a powder. Set aside.
- In a mixing bowl, add all the flours, sugar, baking soda, and the lavender and cardamom powder. Whisk it until it is all fully combined.
- If you’re using butter, get another saucepan over low flame, and melt it until it is fully liquid. Let this mixture cool (but it must still be liquid) before you add it to your flour. If you’re using ghee, you can use it directly and skip this step.
- Add the wet ingredients (ghee/butter) to your dry ingredients, and gently combine. You can use a spatula or you can use your hands. Whatever works.
- Pre-heat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius.
- Split your dough to make round dough balls. Nankhatai is usually small sized cookies, so you can guestimate using half the size of your palm.
- Over a parchment covered baking tray, place the small sized dough balls and flatten it with your hand to make it into a cookie. You can pick it up and reshape them with your hands if you want.
- I like to imprint the center of the nankhatai using my finger so I can place nuts, or extra lavender pods as toppings when it comes out of the oven. So if you'd like to decorate your nankhatai, do this.
- Once you have shaped all your nankhatais, place it in the oven for 15 minutes. Once the timer goes off, check the nankhatais, and if it is golden brown around the edges, you can take it out of the oven to cool. If it not completely golden brown, then leave it in the oven for another 5 minutes (you don't need to switch the oven back on again, the heat that is already in there will help cook it for the 5 minutes)
- Once the edges are golden brown, take out the tray from the oven, and let it cool for 15-20 minutes before you can decorate them with some extra nuts or lavender, or transfer them to a storage container. These cookies come out soft and tender when you first take it out of the oven, but it hardens after it cools, so just be patient,
- You can enjoy these while warm or store them in the fridge to eat whenever you like. I keep them in an air-tight container on the kitchen counter, but if it is extremely humid, its best to keep it in the fridge.