No Indian household serves only chai. Nankhatai and Irani Biscuits are the quintessential Indian tea-time biscuits that almost every Indian loves. With the delicious flavour of cardamom and a melt-in-mouth texture, both these biscuits have equal popularity in the county. However, very few people know that the famous Irani biscuit traces its origin to Nankhatai.

Jennifer Bain, the famous food editor of ‘Toronto Star’ states in her article “Nankhatai Cookie’ that the popular Khatais have six ingredients- flour, eggs, butter or ghee, sugar, almonds and toddy. The article also states that the Khatais are basically Persian and are sweet as well as savoury. The author further states that they date back to the 16th century when the Dutch explorers ran a bakery in Surat. The bakery was later sold to a local employee and he started serving the poor locals. The seller then suffered losses as the locals didn’t buy the biscuits because of their alcoholic content. Most of the locals were vegetarian and didn’t touch the cookies as they had eggs. To meet the consumer’s requirements, the bakery soon started baking the cookies without eggs and alcohol.

After noticing the popularity of Nankhatai, the Gujarati businessmen thought of experimenting with the authentic Nankhatai and giving it a Mughlai twist. Keeping the ingredients almost the same, these businessmen changed the packaging technique and gave the classic Nankhatai a Persian name- ‘Irani Biscuit’. As the biscuits gaining wide popularity, the businessmen began transporting them to various parts of Western India. Gradually, bakers also started adding more butter and ghee to increase their fluffiness.

Despite the emergence of various brands of biscuits and cookies, Nankhatai and Irani Biscuits have not lost their glory and popularity. Already salivating? Go, make some kadak chai and gulp it down along with some Nankhatai and Irani Biscuits.