Naan Khatai is the Indian version of a spiced Shortbread. With a soft and crumby texture, this teatime treat is very popular in Indian homes around the world. Naan Khatai is derived from the Persian word Naan which means bread and Khatai from the Afghani word meaning biscuits. Since these biscuits are eggless they are made and eaten even during fasting periods in the Hindu calendar.
The humble Naan Khatai often found on a plate of Diwali treats was said to have originated in the 16th century in Surat, India during the Dutch Spice voyages. With the abundance of spices in India it is no surprise that this biscuit contains spices commonly used in Indian cookery. The story behind the Naan Khatai is that a Dutch couple had set up a bakery to meet the needs of the Dutch who stayed in the area. Often when people have moved to other parts of the world they take their recipes with them and try to create a taste of home using local ingredients to try and make the dishes that remind them of home and that is when new dishes are greeted. So, when the couple left India, they sold their bakery to an Iranian which would explain the Persian and Afghani meanings of Naan Khatai. The new owner tried selling these biscuits to the locals but they did not warm up to this new flavour, so instead he let the biscuits get stale and then sold them to the locals at a cheaper price and was perfect for dipping into their tea or coffee.
As I child and even know I love picking the almonds off the Naan Khatai, mum still scolds me for doing this. Almonds are rather expensive so getting a biscuit with an almond on it was a real treat. Watching the biscuits “grow” in the oven and the volume is need for the Naan Khatai (because of the Royal Baking powder) and smelling the butter made one rather hungry and craving these biscuits.Royal Baking Powder is a key ingredient in lightening the texture of this biscuit as Naan Khatai are soft and light with that melt in the mouth feel to it Opening a container of Naan Khatai one can instantly smell the fragrant spices used in this biscuit. Naan Khatai is a simple yet very delicious biscuit that is a firm favourite for both young and old.
Naan Khatai Recipe:
250ml ghee or butter
5ml nutmeg powder
3 teaspoons semolina
1teaspoon bicarbonate soda
pinch of salt
3 Tablespoon almond powder
1 1/2 Tablespoon Royal Baking Powder
5 cups flour (250ml ×5)
1 teaspoon elachi powder
Method : Preheat Oven (140 degrees)
1.Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
2.Add oil and mix well.
3.Add the semolina, bicarb, baking powder, spices and almond powder.
4.Add flour to make a soft dough.
5.Make into small even sized balls, press an almond into the centre
6. Place onto a greased baking tray and put into the oven for approximately 20min.
7.The colour must be light cream.
8. Store in an airtight container.
9.Best served with a hot cup of tea.
Do you have any family recipes you make for celebrations let me know in the comments.
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Ps . This post was done in collaboration with Royal Baking Powder and this is a firm family favourite.