Nankhatai: Is India's Beloved Cookie Losing Its Takers?
Image Credit: Nankhatai: a forgotten Indian cookie

Whenever I go back down the memory lane of my childhood, the one thing that has to be there is nankhatai. I can memorize myself eating those delicious biscuits, wrapped in a newspaper and having the best time. But as soon I attained teen age, I realized that I could see only a handful of nankhatai carts on the streets. Besides, the trend of nankhatai at bakeries was also vanishing. As more time passed, the trend of branded biscuits started and we literally forgot what nankhatai was. But why does this nankhatai, which was quite popular at those times, lose its charm? 

Let us take back you to the history of nankhatai. At the end of the 16th century, some Dutch people had actually opened up a bakery in Surat for the local Dutch population. Before leaving India, Dutch handed over their bakery to Faramaji Pestonji Dotivala and this Parsi gentleman played very well with the flavours. At first, Dotivala began to sell old bread and puff and this gained much popularity. This dried version gained popularity and was later called as ‘Irani biscuit.’ 

Dotivala didn’t stop here. He then created so many varieties along with the nankhatai which was an interpretation of Surat’s local sweet ‘Dal’ and Afghan khatai. Nankhatai is a light and crisp eggless cookie made with all-purpose flour, semolina, and ghee. Within a few years, nankhatai got so popular and one could easily find one nankhatai cart on the end of a street. But as we started having more inclination towards other fancy biscuits, we certainly forgot about this utterly delicious and pocket-friendly nankhatai. 

                                      Image credits: Bhukkadbros/Instagram

If you have been to the streets of Delhi especially Paharganj even once, you can see a couple of vendors selling nankhatai for just Rs 20 or Rs 25. These small delights just taste delicious and their aroma totally grabs the attention. Nankhatai holds a special place in my heart and I hope it has a special corner in your heart too. Let us appreciate this forgotten Indian cookie by making it at home. Follow the steps and get this yummy nankhatai on your plate. Have a look. 


  • ½ cup sugar 
  • ½ cup semi-solid ghee 
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • ¼ cup besan 
  • ½ cup curd 
  • 2 tbsp semolina 
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • ½ tsp baking soda 
  • ½ tsp cardamom powder 


  • Take a jar and add sugar to it. 
  • Grind the sugar into a fine powder. Keep it aside.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. 
  • Take a bowl and add powdered sugar.
  • Now add semi-sloid ghee at room temperature.
  • Blend the mixture until smooth, creamy, and fluffy. 
  • Now take all-purpose flour, besan, baking powder, and baking soda 
  • Sift all of them and keep them aside. 
  • Now add curd to the mixture. 
  • Mix well and add the sifted dry ingredients. 
  • Also, add semolina and cardamon powder. 
  • Mix everything together with a spoon. 
  • Form a dough and add 1 to 2 tbsp if required. 
  • Make sure you don’t knead the dough like the one for roti. Just combine it to form a cookie dough. 
  • Form medium to large balls and lightly roll them. 
  • Flatten them and place them in the baking tray. 
  • Make sure you keep some space in between as the cookies would expand. 
  • You can top it with almonds or pistachios. 
  • Bake the nankhatai in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until light golden. 
  • When done, take it out and store it in an air-tight container. 

Try this nankhatai recipe at your home and take a step ahead for reviving this forgotten Indian cookie. Let us know how did it taste!