Monday, November 9, 2009

Nan Khatai - Cardamom Shortbread Cookies

I am thrilled to have another amazing guest post from The Mad Chemist aka Trish her blog is full of tasty treats and great international food, she's lovely and this is a perfect cookie with all the tea I have been drinking back home!


Nan Khatai - Cardamom & Shortbread Cookies

When Rebecca asked if I might wish to do a guest post on her wonderful blog Chow and Chatter I was very flattered indeed. Her blog is full of healthy tips and recipes and the warmth and encouragement she exudes both on her site and in visiting fellow bloggers is such a blessing. My thoughts quickly turned to panic as I wondered just what could I, a simple, eclectic cook and baker, share with her many readers. Then I realized that I needed to chose a ‘dish’ that would represent what I hope my blog itself represents… food that reminds us of home, food that creates warmth and memories; that transcends cultures and continents and brings us together across the miles. I believe that this is what Rebecca also stands for…her travels and various places she has called home, her family and embracing of new things gives her that understanding that we have seen in her comments on her posts and our blogs.

Okay…so now down to business. Let me just explain why I chose this rather ‘simple’ and humble cookie. I grew up with tea and shortbread….not that I am in any way British, although there may be some connection to the ‘tradition’ through my Canadian roots. But it seemed that in the 60’s a ‘melt in your mouth’ shortbread was something to aspire to …and ladies serving tea and coffee with their fine china would invariably serve one type or another of this delectable item. The famous cornstarch and icing sugar recipe is one that I grew to love and perhaps was one of the first cookies I learned to make. I was especially pleased when as a young bride my husband requested shortbread cookies and I made them often, blushing with his praise. Still, although he too grew up with shortbread cookies, I knew I was ‘missing’ something…they were not quite like the ones he remembered having growing up in East Africa. It wasn’t until I met my MIL years later, and she gave me this wonderful cookbook of more ‘traditional’ cooking, that I realized the difference. I’d love to share this cookie recipe with you today taken from ‘A Spicy Touch” by Noorbanu Nimji…a great cookbook given to me years ago. This cookie tastes wonderful - with a hint of cardamom with the sooji or wheatlets giving it wonderful texture.


  • 1 cup of butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 egg at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup wheatlets (sooji)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking pwd.
  • ½ tsp cardamom pwd. (if you know me then you will understand that I always double my spices so I used 1 tsp.)
  • 8 tbsp ghee
  • Yellow food colouring or a few candied cherries


  1. Cream the butter and icing sugar.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla and beat well.
  3. Add the wheatlets and mix. Stir in the flour, baking powder and cardamom.
  4. Add ghee gradually to make a dough which is soft enough to make into balls. Make walnut-sized balls and flatter on a greased (or parchment lined) cookie sheet. ( I like to use the bottom of my crystal glass to flatten my cookies as it leaves a sunburst design on the cookie top.)
  5. You may cut a cross on each cookie with a knife. Then…mix yellow food coloring with a little water and using your fingertip, dip into the colour water and make a dot on each cross. Alternatively, place 1/8th of a cut candied cherry on center of each cross and push in slightly.
  6. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on pan only a few minutes and then remove to cooling rack. These cookies tend to brown very quickly on the bottom….as do all types of shortbreads.

Oh, I so hope you enjoy them. Thanks Rebecca….for having me over for tea and cookies.

Jasmine and me drinking tea at Grandma's sweet memories, we just need one of these goodies with it!


  1. Never try to use ghee for cookies. This cookies look yummy, gonna bookmark it. Thanks!

  2. These look scrumptious! Love the cardamom. I've never heard of a 'wheatlet' though.

  3. Thanks for the opportunity to post here on your lovely blog. I love the photo of you and Jasmine...making memories at Grandma's...what could be more perfect. Enjoy your visit Rebecca...thanks for continuing to post and keep us thrilled with the pics!

  4. They look beautiful. Perfect treat. All the extra flavor in these cookies is very interesting to me. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I love that idea for "stamping" the cookies!

  6. Wonderful cookies! I love what you used to make the imprint on top!

    What a nice guest post! :D

  7. The nan khatai has been one of my favorites since chilhood, and yours just looks so inviting dear.My MIL also makes amazingly beautiful nan khatai but a low cal version using oil.

  8. Trish, I loved the introduction to your post. Connecting through food - world peace and understanding starts at the dining table, I think, grins.

    Oooh, your cookies look so good and perfect. I see you too use the bottom of a glass to make the imprint. I don't have a glass with a patter and will have to look for one of those little cookie stamps, I think.

    Going to have to google wheatlets.

  9. Those cookies look great. There is nothing wrong with a simple cookie.

  10. I first tasted cardamon in the Middle East in 1982 .. and have loved it in coffee and pastry alike!

  11. These cookies look and sound wonderful, but I have no idea what a wheatlet is.

  12. Trish, this is one of your finest posts. Most Indians grow up with Nankhatai as an after school treat or a tea time snack. But I do not remember my mom ever making it at home. She would buy it from the bakery once a month.
    I do remember some women in the neighborhood making it but not having an oven would call a traveling tandoor guy who would park his hand cart in front of their house. They would bake their nan khatai and the whole street would smell of the wonderful aroma.
    For all those who are asking about wheatlet, it is also known as cream of wheat or farina.

  13. Those cookies sound delicious. I like the cardamom addition.

  14. A Typical work of Beauty by Trish !

  15. fun guest post, these look wonderful!

  16. I once tried looking for cardamom powder in an Indian store but not available. Wld love to try these cookies once I get to buy the powder. They usually come in pods.

  17. 'Travelling Trish' other blogs that is:) Those cookies look wonderful and I love cardamon. But wait..wheatlets in cookies?? Oh well I'm game to try does sound delicious.
    Great for my Christmas tray!

  18. wow! great idea!!! these look really yummy

  19. oh I love the comments and learning from you all, and I now can visit some new blogs from them,

    thanks again Trish for the sweet guest post

    love Rebecca

  20. Ooh, cardamom cookies - yes, please! One of my favorite spices, so delicate and distinctive. Thanks for this recipe, Trish and Rebecca.

  21. These cookies look so yummy! Thanks for sharing.

  22. Sounds delicious. Will have to try making these!

  23. Hope you had your Gran's chocolate cake! Have fun!

  24. my lil space: oh check out Trishs blog for more treats
    Murusaki thanks for stopping by
    Kitchen butterfly oh I sure did lol

  25. Sooji or wheatlet is Semolina flour.



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