Try this recipe for nankhatai, then check out more delicious Maunika Gowardhan recipes, including her Keralan chicken and cashew curry, vegan biryani and sweet potato tikki.

For more Indian sweets, try our spiced coffee kulfi and raspberry and rosewater kulfi.

Recipe author Maunika Gowardhan says: "My mother and I bought [nankhatai] regularly when we lived in the city. They are perfect served with hot masala chai."


  • 125g atta or plain wholemeal flour
  • 2 tbsp gram flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • a pinch sea salt flakes
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • 70g ghee or softened butter, (see cook's notes, below)
  • 70g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp of slivered or chopped pistachio kernels, to garnish


  • STEP 1

    Heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Mix together the atta, gram flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom powder in a bowl.

  • STEP 2

    Put the ghee and sugar in a separate large bowl. Whisk until pale, creamy and fluffy. Add the dry ingredients to form a soft, dough-like mixture (add a splash of water or milk if you need something to help bring it together).

  • STEP 3

    Divide the dough into 12 equal portions, roll into balls and put spaced apart on the baking tray. Top each biscuit with pistachio slivers and press down lightly. Bake for 14-16 minutes, swapping the trays around halfway through cooking, until lightly coloured. Cool completely. Serve with mugs of masala chai, if you like.

Cook's notes

This recipe uses Indian wholemeal flour (also called atta), which includes the husk. It’s delicious, great for digestion and full of goodness. Buy it at Indian grocers and online – or you can use plain wholemeal flour instead. Ghee gives so much flavour to this bake, so do try to use it if possible.

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