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Nankatai (Indian cookies)

yields approx. 30 cookies.


  • 2 cups all purpose flour,
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (grind into fine powder),
  • 3/4 cup clarified butter/ghee (semi-solid, but not melted),
  • nuts - cashews, pistachios to decorate cookies,
  • ground cardamom,
  • some strands of saffron dissolved in warm milk.
  • 1 tsp milk.


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F/180° C.
  2. In a blender (or by hand mixer or just with hands), whip together powdered sugar and clarified butter until light and fluffy.
  3. Remove the mixture into a mixing bowl. Add flour in batches, mixing alternately.
  4. Knead the mixture well with hands for 10 minutes. (Alternatively use the hand mixer with its dough attachment for kneading.)
  5. Add ground cardamom and saffron disolved in warm milk and mix properly to form a soft dough.
  6. Make small balls of 1.5 inch diameter and press each between your palms to flatten. Smoothen out the edges.
  7. Arrange all the cookies onto a baking sheet. Dip nuts such as cashews, pistachios or chironjis into milk lightly and stick one or two on top of each cookie.
  8. Bake cookies for 15 minutes or until slightly golden. Nankatais are soft while hot but turn light and crisp once cool.
  9. Store Nankatais in an airtight container.

1)While forming the balls, if the dough appears dry, beat additional 1 tsp butter a little bit with a fork/spoon and add it to the dough.

2)This recipe does not need use of baking powder or soda. Rather, cookies puff up nicely if the mixture of butter and sugar is beaten until fluffy and cookie dough is kneaded well .