Nankhatai is a shortbread biscuit. You can call them Indian cookies. Not only nankhatai, but we have also made other all-purpose biscuits. I will list all of them for your reference here.

So, let’s start making & baking these Indian-origin nankhatai biscuits. While doing my research, I found some interesting details. Here they are:

Nankhatai: The Word Meaning

The word Nankhatai is derived from the Persian word Naan. It means bread, as we all know. In the same way, the word Khatai comes from a Dari Persian word. Khatai means biscuit.

In Afghanistan and Northeast Iran, nankhatai biscuits are called Kulcha-e-Khataye.😝 वाह, क्या नाम हैं – कुलचा-ऐ-खटाई वाह.😛 They call it dry sweet kulcha. All these details are pretty amazing.😊

Now that we know the word meaning of nankhatai, let’s dive into history. Yes, history. There are some exclusive details I would like to share about this shortbread cookie. Continue reading.

The History of Nankhatai

The source of this information is Wikipedia. Therefore, according to Wikipedia,

Nankhatai is believed to have originated in Surat city in the 16th century. It was the time when the Dutch and Indians were the important spice traders. A Dutch couple set up a bakery in Surat to meet the needs of local Dutch residents.

When the Dutch left India, they handed over the bakery to an Iranian. The bakery biscuits were disliked by the locals.

To save his business he started selling dried bread at low prices. It became so popular that he started drying the bread before selling it. With time, his experimentation with bread ultimately gave birth to nankhatai.

This is how these Indian cookies came into existence. Isn’t it cool?

Since we are talking about the history of nankhatai, it will be an injustice to Surti Ghari. There are few historical details about surti ghari too. Visit our authentic surti ghari recipe page to read.

Being a Gujarati (and surti for more than 35 years), I feel proud of the food culture. I am pretty amazed to know that discovery of 2 popular food items was in my hometown. A moment of pride!

Okay, now back to the recipe.

Let me walk you through the ingredient list first. Once we are done with the ingredients, we will learn the making process.

What Do You Need For Nankhatai?

The essential ingredients in Nankhatai are all-purpose flour, chickpea (gram) flour, semolina, ghee & sugar. Moreover, you can bake nankhatai using wheat flour, which is popularly called the wheat flour nankhatai.

In today’s recipe, we will be using maida, aka all-purpose flour. In short, we will bake our nankhatai using all-purpose flour. Now let’s check the ingredients.

3 Types of Flour – Maida, Rava & Besan

We will use all-purpose flour, aka maida, gram flour and semolina. Maida is our base ingredient. Hence, the quantity will be more. On the contrary, gram flour means besan, and semolina means rava (suji), less in quantity.

Rava gives a crunchy taste, whereas besan, along with maida, tightly binds other ingredients.

Ghee (Clarified Butter)

Ghee is an essential ingredient in making this surti shortbread. Do not use butter or cooking oils. There’s a reason why ghee is used. Therefore, do not find a substitute for ghee.

Sugar Powder

Use powdered sugar instead of granulated one. Sugar powder will immediately melt & mix, giving you the perfect dough. Once again, do not substitute sugar with other items. Just like ghee, sugar is also an inevitable item here.

Nutmeg Powder – 1 tsp

Okay, this one can be replaced with elaichi, aka cardamom powder. However, nutmeg (jaifal) is immensely aromatic & flavorful. I often use it in kheer recipes.


Do not use water. Use only milk. It gives a milky & silky texture to the dough. Additionally, milk makes the dough dense. Milk helps make excellent nankhatai compared to merely exemplary nankhatai. Understand the difference.


To garnish the shortbread cookies. Almonds can be a great substitute if you want to replace pistachios. Go ahead and try.

Nankhatai Baking Temperature

  • Preheat the oven for 10 minutes at 170º C.
  • Bake them for 20 minutes at 170º C.

The above temperature settings are for OTG. I have a Bajaj OTG. For microwave & big ovens, the settings could differ.

The baking temperature will altogether differ if using wheat flour. Nankhatai made using wheat flour requires a little more time to bake than maida.

So, that was it with the recipe. You can also check our other cookies here: