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Nankhatai: Spiced Biscuits for Tea

Nankhatai: Spiced Biscuits for Tea

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They’re perfect if you’re a chomper, a dunker, or a nibbler.

These biscuits were requested by a reader via my Facebook page a long time ago. Wicked me, I’ve only had time to make them now. Nankhatai are a type of Indian tea biscuit. They are most likely to be flavoured with some of the usual suspects- green cardamom, saffron, ground mace… I could go on forever, baby.

In my enduring quest to make you all fat and greedy, I’ve not skimped on the butter because there’s no such thing as a calorie-free biscuit. Nope. Not in any country. Although, I’m guessing that if there is, it probably tastes like rabbit bedding. I’ve kept the recipe pretty conventional, apart from the addition of desiccated coconut. So not very conventional, then…

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Remember to use saffron sparingly, the flavour is very intense and if too much is used, you may end up with a bitter-tasting potpourri-ish-thing-which-I-won’t-call-a-biscuit. Plus, it’s super expensive, so be kind to your pocket. Coarse semolina gives these biscuits a beautiful texture which I simply adore, and chickpea flour adds a divine nutty flavour.

Nankhatai are not supposed to be too sweet. My guess is that this is because Indians LOVE their tea sweet. Sweeter than Hello Kitty (sorry if you hate Hello Kitty but if you do… leave). So, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that Nankhatai are perfect with sweet tea (avec plenty of chai masala) to gently warm your tummies in the morning.

Note: All measurements are in grams and tsp/tbsp for accuracy.


(Makes around 35 small biscuits)

260g plain flour
25g chickpea flour
35g coarse semolina
215g unsalted butter, room temperature
110g icing sugar
¼ tsp baking powder
1 tbsp desiccated coconut
1 small pinch saffron
½ tsp cardamom ground
Pistachios to decorate


1. Beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.

2. Add the baking powder, saffron, cardamom.

3. Sift in the semolina, gram flour and plain flour. Bind into a soft dough.

4. Make around 35 1 inch balls and flatten them slightly.

5. Place on a greased, lined baking tray and ensure there is enough space around each piece of dough as they will spread while cooking. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 8 minutes at 160 degrees Celsius. Remove the biscuits from the oven and carefully place a pistachio in the centre, return to the oven and bake for a further 7 minutes until golden.

6. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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You can glaze these with a zig-zag of icing if you like the sweeter things in life. Or even better… Use chocolate. Bad influence, aren’t I?


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Wednesday 3rd of November 2021

Baked these today for first time, great texture and taste. Probably a little too sweet for me, but that's me - and also, you've omitted the desiccated coconut from the method but I guess it goes in with the flour, semolina etc.


Thursday 10th of November 2016

Hi could we know how to make puris for pani puri


Sunday 17th of July 2011

Nankhatai looks so lovely.. It's of my fav indian bakery biscuits. I haven't tried making those a home yet .. you are inspiring me :)


Wednesday 9th of June 2010

Awesome nankhatai. Bookmarked!

Carol Egbert

Friday 4th of June 2010

Even though its a biscuit it looks healthy.