Everyone loves a good Nan Khatai. And if you didn’t know there are a few different types. The soft melt in the mouth version made with Channa (chickpea) flour is the more popular. I lean towards the firmer version made with copious amounts of ghee and semolina.
Infused with saffron and elachi (cardamom), the buttery richness of this traditional Indian biscuit is offset by it’s substantial bulk. It can hardly be called just a biscuit. It is larger than a normal biscuit and the semolina adds a density which makes it slightly chewy and a bit filling. One is all you need alongside a steaming cup of elachi tea to satiate your sweet tooth and fill the hole in your stomach.
This recipe is one I would help my mother make as a teenager. Mixing ingredients by hand in large enamel basins as she would guide with step by step instructions. We would always make lots because it would made be for special occasions such as Eid or individually wrapped in colourful cellophane to be used in “kunchas” wedding parcels. We would often also fill Tupperwares being stowed as gifts in the luggage of family members heading for India. I think this is predominently a Kokni thing, lol. Nan Khatai has sentimental roots and you’ll understand why once you try making it. Do enjoy our family recipe shared below and please tag me on social media if you decide to make it.
Semolina Naan Khatai
500g Cake Flour
500g Semolina (Tasty Wheat)
250g Butter (lightly melted) or 1 cup of Ghee
1 Pinch Saffron soaked in 2 Tbsp hot milk
1 tsp Egg yellow food colouring
1 tsp ground Elachi (cardamom)
1/2 tsp Salt
3 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
Cream eggs and sugar till light and fluffy. Add melted butter or ghee and mix. Add Tasty Wheat and mix by hand. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix to a soft dough. It will feel too soft but will firm up. Cover with cling film and leave overnight.
Use a tablespoon to measure out and make balls rolling with your hands. Flatten very slightly. Dip the tops in sugar (optional) and place on a greased baking sheet leaving room for spreading. Top with a coloured or plain almond pressing it in firmly at an angle so it doesn’t pop out after baking. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 180˚C. Makes about 40-50.