proudly walked into the India Dukaan one evening to get a few ingredients, and casually
let drop that I had just made a batch of Nan Khatai, a very delicate and
not-too-sweet Indian shortbread cookie.
I go often to
the dukaan (Hindi for shop) for ingredients, not only because they have all the
Indian ingredients I need, but because the staff is the best ever.
If you need a
traditional recipe, they can help you. I have gotten so much assistance from
them - much like we get from teachers - that I wanted to go in, brag a little,
and have them be proud of me for my success.
you make them?" The owner asked. I repeated all the steps and ingredients,
and all was going well… until I mentioned nutmeg. He practically laughed and
said, "No, there is no nutmeg in Nan Khatai."
to walk me to the cookie aisle with maybe a half dozen different brands of ready-made
Nan Khatai. We looked at the ingredients on each package. Like mine, all of
them had cardamom, but no nutmeg.
It had me
questioning the source of the recipe. Let's just call it "The
Internet." I neglected to do my usual research of looking at 5-7 different
recipes for the same dish before feeling that I had located a truly authentic
My guess is
that the one I originally found was made by someone who's mother or grandmother
made them for her, and (just for fun, or to be perverse) she added nutmeg.
now is the traditional recipe for Nan Khatai, without the offending spice. My tarnished pride
1 cup all
2 tablespoons semolina flour
1/2 cup ghee
or butter at room temperature
pistachios, for garnishing
together the flour, semolina, baking soda, and a pinch of salt in a medium
In a large
bowl, cream the ghee and sugar with a hand-held mixer. The mixture should
become smooth, light, and creamy. Add the cardamom and beat again.
Add the dry
ingredients and gently knead to make a smooth dough. If the dough looks dry,
add a little milk while kneading.
into 16 pieces. Roll each piece evenly in your palms. Slightly flatten them –
they should still keep some of their spherical shape. Press a few pieces of
pistachio gently on the tops of each. Place the cookies in a baking tray,
spacing them about 2 inches apart. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator
for 20 minutes.
to 350°F while cookies are
chilling. Bake cookies for 10-15 minutes till they are lightly golden. Remove
and place them on wire racks.
store the nan khatai in an airtight container.