Monday, August 5, 2013

Nan Khatai (Indian Eggless Short Bread Cookies) - Perfect for tea time!

Baking cookies at home was a distant fantasy when I started implementing my culinary skills about 5-6 years back. It was all about cooking and not baking at that time, mostly various curries like Chicken, Mutton, Fish or Eggs (Yes, I swear by Meat, I apologize if it offends anyone). Vegetarian food slowly made its way to my Kitchen since the nuptials about 2.5 years back as we wanted something simpler for Dinner to be eaten with Chapati’s (Indian Roasted Flat Breads).

I could dish out full course meals but the Oven was still new to me. It has been my companion for the last 2 years I should think. However, it took me a while to differentiate between the Convection, Grill and the other functions of my Microwave Oven (You are right, I do not own a conventional Oven or an OTG for that matter, all I have is a Microwave Oven with the Convection function and I bake all my goodies there .. to be honest I do not have much space left in my Kitchen to accommodate another Oven)

Our Parents visit us once a year as we stay away from home and this is a time of the year we look forward to. My Parents are here with me now and the other day when I baked some Tutti Frutti Biscotti’s and the dough went a little out of control, Maa (My Mum) had to intervene to get it back in control and that’s when she realized that there were Eggs in the dough & did not like the idea at all; though she enjoyed the Biscotti’s, she was not thoroughly satisfied.  She dedicated the entire afternoon thinking about a replacement of Eggs in that batter and by evening she started giving me ideas of unsalted Butter, Clarified Butter (Ghee), Whole Milk & Curd to be used in the batter.

My Tutti Frutti Biscotti

Once Weekend arrived, I wanted to give a shot at the Eggless Cookies and decided to bake the best Indian Eggless Tea Time Cookies - ‘Nan Khatai’ - My entire family loved them and I shamelessly admit I liked these better than cookies with Eggs in them. Some study about these told me they were handed down by Dutch Colonizers as early as the 16th Century to Parsi entrepreneurs who owned Bakeries in Surat, the Capital City of Gujarat India. Hence we can summarize that’s where they belong, the State of Gujarat.  These short bread Cookies are generally smeared with Desi Ghee, however, you can replace the same with Unsalted Butter and use only a little bit of Clarified Butter (Ghee) for the whiff like I did.

My friend from work, ‘P’ helped me with the recipe who had shared her secret Punjabi Chhole Masala recipe earlier which can be found here. I did make my own changes and adjustments to her Nan Khatai recipe and here is what I did:

Here is what you will need to make about 32-34 Nan Khatai’s:

All Purpose Flour (Maida): 1 Cup
Semolina (Suji): ½ Cup
Gram Flour (Besan): ½ Cup
Granulated Sugar: 1 Cup
Unsalted Butter: 3/4th Cup
Clarified Butter / Ghee: 1/4th Cup (If you want to skip unsalted Butter, use 1 cup of Ghee)
Ground Green Cardamom – ½ tsp
Pistachios: flaked 1 tbsp

How to make Nan Khatai’s:

Cream the Butter and Granulated Sugar in a large bowl with a wire whisk till fluffy

Add the dry ingredients, All Purpose Flour, Semolina, Gram Flour and Ground Green Cardamom and knead this mixture into medium soft dough. (A tsp or two of whole Milk can be added to the dough in case it does not come together; mine did come together nicely, however, you can keep a little Milk handy)

Cover the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes

Pre-heat the Oven to 200C / 392F** in the meanwhile

Line the Baking tray with a parchment paper

Make small roundels from the dough and place them on the parchment paper an inch apart

Add a few strands of the Pistachio flakes on top for garnish

Change the Microwave Oven to the Convection mode once preheating has completed. Put it to 180C / 356F in the Convection mode and bake the cookies for 30 minutes or till golden and crisp**

**(Exactly what I did in my Microwave Oven, all Ovens are different so adjust as per your Oven)

P.S: I have not posted here in a few months; hence lost the habit of watermarking. I am posting this with the hope that the pictures will not be stolen, thanks in advance!

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