Eggless East-Indian Nankhatai Cookies

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Simple and easy to make these Indian Nankhatais are a perfect treat for Christmas but are loved throughout the year. Ready in a short while, this melt in the mouth eggless biscuit leaves you wanting more!

Nankhatai is a traditional and popular Indian biscuit that is loved by everyone as much as the Maharashtrians love Shankarpali. There are many variations of the Nankhatai made from different flours all over India.

This recipe is for our traditional East Indian version that’s usually made around Christmas time along with kulkuls and neoris. You can make them any other time of the year as well, whenever you are in the mood for some delicious shortbread cookies. A perfect tea-time snack, just like gulab jamun cookies, this biscuit melts in your mouth and leaves you craving for more. To know how to make these delicious Nankaties at home, continue reading below…

What Ingredients Do You Need For Nankhatais?

All you need to make Nankaties or Nankhatias is maida (refined wheat flour), powdered sugar, cow ghee, food colour, and vanilla essence. And tooti frooti, or cherries for the topping!

How To Make Nankaties?

It is a very simple process, in a thali (flat steel dish) mix the maida and powdered sugar. Then add in the ghee and vanilla essence.

Take required quantity of maida in a plate.
Maida in a thali
Add powdered sugar to it.
Maida and Sugar in a thali
Pour ghee and vanilla essence to the flour.
Add ghee and vanilla essence

Mix these ingredients well and form into a dough. Cover with a damp cloth and allow the dough to rest for about 2 hours.

Knead the mix together until it forms a dough.
Form into a dough
Cover the dough with a damp cloth and leave it aside.
Cover with a damp cloth

While the dough is resting you can prep the cherries. Cut the cherries into tiny square pieces (this is the traditional shape) or even long slices if you prefer. An easier option is to use tooti frooti, this looks a lot more colourful.

Dice the cherries into small pieces.
Dice the cherries

After 2 hours, you can start to form the small balls for each nankhati. The traditional dough does not have added colour, but if you want to make it more Christmassy you can add a few drops of colour, like our green nankhatais below. Top each nankhatai with a cherry piece or tootifrooti and place it on your baking tray.

Pre-heat the oven for about 5-10 minutes. Place the trays in the preheated oven and bake at 200 degrees Celsius for about 20 mins.

Set it on a baking tray with cherry on top.
Put a small cherry on top
Divide the dough, add colour to half and form into small balls.
Form into small balls and place the cherries on top
Balls of dough topped with tutti frutti on a baking tray.
Nankhatais ready to be baked

Once done, remove from the oven and allow them to cool. You can always test one or more to check if it tastes right, as we often do 😉

Don’t worry if the Nankhatais are soft when you take them out of the oven, they will harden once they cool like all cookies do.

Put the Nankhatai tray in the oven to bake.
Baked Nankhatai
Freshly baked cookies on a tray.
Freshly baked cookies on a tray

And your Nankhatais or Nankaties are ready to be served!

Place the Christmas Nankhatai on a plate to serve.
Christmas Nankhatais
Nankhatais made with tutti frutti topping and some Christmas decorations.
Nankhatai ready for Christmas
Delicious Nankhatai on a black surface with some Christmas decorations.
Nankhatais for Christmas
Homemade Nankhatai topped with tooti frooti on a black tray.
Homemade Nankhatai for Christmas

What’s Perfect About This Nankhatai Recipe?

  • It is simple and easy to make and bakes in just about 20 mins.
  • You need just a handful of ingredients to make these light airy cookies.
  • Using cow ghee makes them healthier than other cookies.
  • The biscuits last for almost a month at room temperature. So you can make as many as you want in advance.
  • They’re the perfect gift for friends and family.
  • Nankhatai are a great teatime snack any time of the year.

Cooking Tips And Tricks

  • Add food colour to the dough if you prefer colourful Nankhatai.
  • If you don’t want to roll them into balls or squares, you can use cookie cutters to shape them.
  • Use powdered sugar, so you do not have to worry about the sugar melting.
  • You can use butter instead of ghee if you want to.
  • If you want something else powdery, try the custard powder cookies. If you want something chewy, try the kwarezimal almond cookies.
  • Is it better than a Romany cream? You decide and tell me!

FAQ’s About Nankhatai

How long can you store Nankhatais?

You can store in an air-tight container for 3 to 4 weeks at room temperature.

Can I make the dough in advance?

Yes, if you want, you can make the dough a few days in advance, wrap it in clingfilm and refrigerate till you’re ready to bake them.

Can I use dry tutti frutti for the topping?

No, it is better to use the wet tutti frutti.

Can other toppings be used?

Yes, we usually use the cherries for Christmas. For any other time of the year, you can also use sliced almonds, cashewnuts, or pistas.

Other East Indian Recipes You Might Like

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Homemade Nankhatai topped with tooti frooti on a black tray.

East Indian Nankhatai (Eggless Shortbread)

Simple and easy to make, the eggless Indian Nankhatai is a perfect treat for Christmas time or any other time of the year!
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Resting time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 35 mins
Course Christmas, Dessert, Snacks
Cuisine East Indian, Indian
Servings 35 Cookies
Calories 116 kcal
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  • 500 g All Purpose Flour (Maida) (Refined Wheat Flour)
  • 250 g Powdered Sugar
  • 250 g Ghee (Indian clarified butter) (Or Butter)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
  • 50 g Cherries (or Tooti Frooti)
  • 3-4 drops Food color (Optional)


For the topping

  • Cut cherries into small squares for long slivers and keep ready.
  • You can alternatively use tutti frutti as an optional topping.

For the Nankaties

  • In a thali (flat steel dish), mix the maida (flour) and powdered sugar.
  • Then add in the ghee and vanilla essence and knead into a dough.
  • Add food colour if you prefer colourful biscuits.
  • Cover with a damp cloth and allow to rest for 2 hours.
  • Shape the dough into small balls and top with a piece of cherry or tooti frooti.
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes.

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  • If you like colourful Nankhatai, add food colour to the dough.
  • You can use cookie cutters to shape them.
  • Use powdered sugar, so you do not have to worry about the sugar melting.

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Nutrition (Per Serving)

Calories: 116kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 18mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg

Disclaimer: Nutrition Information per serving is estimated by a third party software based on the ingredients used, and is for informational purposes only. It will vary from product to product, based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients. Please consult the package labels of the ingredients you use, or chat with your dietician for specific details.

Pinterest image of baked Nankhatai on a plate ready to served.
Pineterst image of How to make Nankhatai at home.
Pinterest image of Nankhatai cookies on a black tray.

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