Easy Eggless Nankhatai
Tender, sweet and delicious, Nankathai are extremely effortless to make and can be made so quickly that they will be ready before you know it. These delicate. melt-in-the-mouth Nankatai look gorgeous too and can be gifted to your loved ones on special occasions and festivities.
These traditional Indian cookies are flavoured with green cardamon (Elaichi) powder and have a crumbly and gritty texture imparted by addition of semolina (Rava/Suji).
Check out this Eggless Nankhatai recipe in a quick video with step-by-step instructions and precise measurement and see for yourself how easy it really is to make perfect Nankhatai at home.
Quick, easy to follow video with step-by-step instructions of how to make Nankhatai at home:
Just a handful of ingredients
This easy Nankhatai recipe needs just a few ingredients that are already available in your kitchen pantry.
Ghee / Clarified Butter: This is one of the most important ingredients in making Naan Khatai. Remember to use room temperature ghee that has a semi-solid consistency. It should neither be solid nor be liquid. If melted ghee is used, after combining all the ingredients the dough might become very soft and sticky, making it hard to shape Nankhatai biscuit. If you live in a very hot place and room temperature ghee is in the melted form, just keep it in the refrigerator for some time till it becomes semi-solid and then use it.
Also, do not alter the amount of ghee mentioned in this eggless recipe. Right amount of ghee is what will make this homemade Nankhatai deliciously crisp and crumbly (Khasta). Reducing the amount of ghee will definitely affect the texture and these Eggless Nankhatai won’t be as soft and melt-in-the-mouth as they should be!
Rava / Suji / Semolina: This is another must have ingredient for making Nankhatai cookies. Small amount of rava / semolina is what gives Nankhatai its gritty texture. Without suji/rava Nan Katai just won’t taste the same. But remember to ONLY use fine semolina/suji. If you don’t have fine rava at home, just grind the coarse rava in grinder till it becomes fine and then use it.
Besan / Gram Flour: This is the ingredient that separates Nankathai from all other forms of cookies and makes it more Indian. Gram flour / besan adds its own flavour and texture to these Indian cookies.
Baking Powder and Baking Soda: Some Nankhatai recipes do not use Baking Powder and Baking Soda but l like using these two ingredients as they do help in making these Indian Nankhatai light and tender.
Green Cardamom (Elaichi) Powder and Salt: Nankhatai just won’t be the same if you don’t flavour them with Green Cardamom (Elaichi). Classic aroma of Green Cardamom (Elaichi) is very inviting and it is this ingredient that converts these cookies from normal cookies to flavoured, aromatic Indian cookies.
Just a pinch of salt goes a long way in this Nan Khatai ki recipe and enhances the sweetness of Nankhatai.
Sifting and Whisking
Sifting the dry ingredients is important for this Maida Nankhatai recipe. It will remove any lumps from the Nankhatai ingredients, especially the gram flour, as well as aerate them. This process will also help to evenly combine dry ingredients and make them easier to mix with ghee sugar mixture.
Combine and whisk ghee / clarified butter and powdered sugar well till its light and fluffy and almost looks like whipped cream. Whipping will incorporate air into the mixture and make these Indian Butter Cookies light and tender. Electric whisk will make this job really quick and easy, but if you don’t own an electric whisk, you can also use a normal whisk.
Combining the right way
After you add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, combine them with your hand to form a dough. Initially mixture will feel crumbly but DO NOT add any extra liquid like milk or water and DO NOT knead. Eventually the mixture will come together to form a dough.
Getting perfect size and shape
When shaping these Indian Homemade Biscuits, first you will have to roll crack-free balls and place them slightly apart on lined baking sheet as they will expand while baking.
These Eggless Shortbread Cookies look really nice when they all are of the same size and shape. So, if you want all Nankhatai to be exactly similar after baking, weight each ball. Each ball should weigh around 25 grams.
If you are not so keen on the looks and are just making these Khasta Nankhatai to eat at home or are in a hurry, make balls that are roughly the same size. But if you are going to gift this Nankhatai Sweet to someone or are making them for a party at home, spend some more time weighing the balls and all the Nankatai that come out of the oven will be really eye catching.
After placing the balls on baking tray, make small dents on the balls and place some slivered nuts in the dent. Apart from looking good and keeping nuts in place, dents ensure that Nankhatai start cracking from the centre while baking.
Letting Nankhatai Dough Balls Chill
If you want nice, plump Nankathai, cover the dough balls on baking tray with cling film and chill them in refrigerator for half an hour. By doing this, the ghee / clarified butter in the dough will solidify. And when these chilled dough balls go from fridge directly into hot oven, the ghee in dough balls will take longer to melt and hence Nankhatai in oven won’t spread as much, as compared to dough balls that go from room temperature into the hot oven.
This step is completely optional in this easy cookies recipe. Again, as mentioned above, if you’re just making this easy Nankhatai recipe to eat at home and don’t really mind how these Indian Shortbread Cookies look or if you’re in a hurry, skip this step. By omitting this step Nankhatai in oven will spread slightly and will be thinner, but will still taste fine. But if you want your Nankhatais to particularly look good, then do not miss this step.
Baking and Serving
This Nankhatai recipe with semolina gets baked really quickly so do keep an eye on them while baking as each oven varies and so time needed to bake will vary too. Remember to rotate the baking tray half way through baking so they get baked evenly all over.
You will know that this Nankhatai recipe in oven is done when Naan Khatai are very light golden on top, golden brown on bottom and have cracks. If you try moving them, they will easily move on parchment paper.
After this best Nankhatai recipe are out of oven, DO NOT lift these Indian cookies. These easy Eggless Nankhatai biscuits are extremely soft at this stage when they are just out of the oven. If you try to lift them, they will crumble and fall apart. Let these Indian Homemade Biscuits cool down for 5-10 mins on the baking tray itself.
After 5-10 mins when these Khasta Nankhatai are easier to handle, move them on to a cooling rack so that they cool evenly from all over and don’t have moisture collecting below them and giving them a soggy bottom.
Delicious, crisp and tender Eggless Nankhatai are ready to serve after they have cooled down completely. You can store completely cooled Nankathai in an air-tight container for 10-15 days, but as they taste so good, they won’t last that long, at least not in my house!!😊
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Eggless Naan Khatai:
• Why are my Nankhatai not as crisp, soft, crumbly and flaky as they should be?
Ghee/clarified butter is what makes Nankhatai crisp and flaky. DO NOT alter the amount of ghee / clarified butter mentioned in this traditional Nankhatai recipe. Also, do not replace ghee with any other form of fat like butter or oil.
Make sure ghee has a semi-solid consistency, it should neither be solid nor be liquid. If you live in a hot place and ghee is naturally in a liquid state at room temperature; then place it in the refrigerator for a while till it reaches semi-solid consistency.
• Why are my Nankhatai flat and thin and not plump?
For making plump Nankhatai, after placing dough balls on baking tray, wrap the tray with cling film and keep it in the refrigerator for 30 mins. After 30 mins immediately place chilled dough balls in the pre-heated oven. This will ensure that ghee/clarified butter inside the Nankhatai dough solidifies when it goes in the fridge and then when it enters the hot oven, ghee takes longer to melt and spread as compared to room temperature ghee, and hence these Indian cookies won’t spread as much causing them to be thin and flat, but will instead stay nice and plump.
• How can I have all Nankhatai of same size and shape?
Even if you eyeball Nankhatai dough into same size balls or use same size/shape measuring spoons to make the balls, they sometimes might not make Naan Kathais of same size and shape after baking.
If you are going to gift these Indian cookies or want to present them at a party and want all Nankhatai to look similar and have same size and shape, best way to achieve this is to weigh the dough balls. Each ball should weigh around 25 grams. This will ensure that all Nankhatai are the same size and spread equally after baking.
• Can whole wheat flour be used to make Nankhatai instead of maida/plain flour?
Yes, you can replace maida/plain flour with whole wheat flour, but the taste and texture of these Indian Shortbread Cookies will definitely vary. They won’t be as soft and crumbly as they are with maida/plain flour.
• Can Nankhatai be made without oven?
Yes, you can easily make these Indian cookies recipe even if you don’t own an oven. Just use a large Kadai / Sauce pan and place Nankhatai dough balls on a plate that fits inside this kadai/pan. Line the plate with parchment/butter paper or smear some ghee on the plate before placing the dough balls.
Add some salt in the kadai/pan and let it preheat on hob for 10 mins on high heat. After its preheated, lower the heat down, place a stand or a bowl in the salt so that the plate gets slightly lifted above the salt; then place the plate, cover with a lid and bake for 20-25 mins on LOW HEAT only. Do not bake on high heat as Nankhatai might burn. It’s that easy to make this Nankhatai recipe without oven.
• How to make Nankhatai in Air Fryer?
Pre-heat the Air Fryer to 160°C / 320°F. Place a parchment paper / butter paper in the Air Fryer basket and place Nankhatai dough balls in a single layer, slightly apart. Air Fryer Nankhatai at 160°C / 320°F for 10-12 mins or till they turn light golden on top, golden brown on bottom and have cracks.
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Step-by-step instructions with photos for Nankatai:
• Sieve plain flour (maida), semolina (rava/sooji), gram flour (besan), baking powder, baking soda, green cardamom (elaichi) powder, salt and keep aside.
• In a bowl add clarified butter (ghee) and sugar and mix well. Whisk till it turns light and fluffy.
• Now add dry ingredients, mix well and combine to form a dough. DO NOT add milk or water and DO NOT knead. Just combine with your hands. Initially it will be crumbly but eventually it will come together.
• Then make 20 equal sized balls. If you want Nankhatai to be exactly the same size and shape after baking, weigh the balls; they should be around 25 grams each.
• Place the balls slightly apart on a baking tray lined with parchment / baking paper and gently make a small dent on top of each ball with your finger.
• Place some slivered Pistachios (Pista) and Almonds (Badam).
• Cover the baking tray with cling film and chill it in the fridge for 30 mins to ensure that Nankhatai stay plump and don’t spread too much while baking.
• After 30 mins remove the cling film and bake in a pre-heated oven at 170℃ for 15-17 mins or till Nankhatai are very light golden on top, golden brown on bottom, have cracks and can easily move on parchment/baking paper. Turn the tray half way through so they bake evenly all over.
• Let Nankhatai cool down for 5-10 mins on the tray as they are extremely soft and might break if lifted.
• Then place the Nankhatai on cooling rack and let them cool down completely.
• Serve or store in an air-tight container after they have cooled down completely.
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