Nankhatai - Indian Ghee Cardamom Shortbread / Cook Republic


  • Author: Sneh
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Bake Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 18-20 1x
  • Category: Baking, Cookie
  • Cuisine: Indian, Vegetarian
  • Diet: Vegetarian


  • 195g plain flour, sifted
  • 20g semolina
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Pinch of salt
  • 85g powdered sugar *
  • 125g semi-melted ghee **


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Sift flour into a medium bowl. Add semolina, baking powder, cardamom, salt and sugar. Mix gently.
  3. Add the melted ghee and mix with a wooden spoon. Gently gather the mixture with your hand and knead into a soft dough.
  4. Take a tablespoon of the dough and roll it into a ball (flat at the bottom and rounded on top) about 2 cm high. Place on the prepared baking tray. Repeat with the rest of the dough, placing the dough balls 5-6cm apart.
  5. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 18-20 minutes until cooked and a shade darker.
  6. Remove from the oven and cool completely before storing in an air-tight glass jar.


Make sure your ghee is not completely liquid. I like to place solid ghee in the microwave for 30-40 seconds to get softened-partially melted ghee.

* Powdered sugar is icing sugar, not icing mixture (which has a thickener mixed with the sugar). Use icing sugar or powdered sugar. I use raw sugar and blitz it a couple of times in my food processor/blender to make powdered raw sugar. It is slightly brown and adds a wonderful caramel note to the naankhatai.

** Ghee can be replaced by butter. Follow the same partially-melted method for butter as well.

The dough should be pliable, just firm enough and prone to slight crumbling (see pictures). This is the perfect dough consistency for this shortbread.

Baking on a silicon mat provides the shortbread with more grip as they bake preventing them from spreading out, allowing for nice high cookies.

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