Nankhatai or nankatai is a small cookie, believed to have originated in Gujrat, India. Similar in texture to the British shortbread and the French sablés, it gets its characteristic flavour from spices like cardamom, saffron and nutmeg. The high sugar to fat ratio is what gives the nankhatai a distinctive melt-in-the-mouth feeling, making it a teatime favourite along with a hot cup of masala chai.

NANKHATAI

Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

2 tablespoons chickpea flour/ besan

2 tablespoons fine semolina/ greo

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp powdered cardamom

1 cup white granulated sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

Almond or pistachio flakes

Method:

  • Grind sugar to a fine powder in a grinder. Add flours, semolina, cardamom, and baking powder and mix well.

  • Add butter and mix to form a soft and smooth ball of dough. Divide it into lemon sized balls and flatten slightly.

  • Top each with a flake of almond or pistachio and leave them for 20 minutes on parchment-lined cookie sheets.

  • Bake for 20 mins in an oven preheated at 180 oC. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for at least 10 minutes.

  • Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container. Makes 3 dozen nankhatais. 

There is no way I can post the nankhatai recipe without sharing that of masala chai. Again, this beverage earns its popularity from the blend of sweet spices – ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and pepper – traditionally used in Indian desserts. Dunk your nankhatai in a hot cuppa chai, take a bite, close your eyes, let the fusion of the delicate aromas rouse your senses… enjoy!

HOT MASALA CHAI

Ingredients:

1 cup full cream milk

1 tea bag or 2 tsp tea leaves

2 cm cinnamon stick

2 cardamom pods, crushed

1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger

1 clove pods/girofle

1-2 tsp demerrara sugar

Method:

  • Bring milk to the boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat and add the spices.

  • Add the tea bag and simmer for 2 mins so that the flavours have time to blend.

  • Remove the tea bag and strain the mixture into a cup. Add sugar to taste and serve hot.

Summer Rain & Hot Masala Chai