Nan Khatai

Manju Malhi shares her recipe for the definitive Indian biscuit, served with chai all over India
By Manju Malhi
Nan Khatai
  • Rating:
  • Serves: Makes 16 biscuits
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • 80 g caster sugar
  • 80 g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 3-4 drops of vanilla essence
  • green cardamom, seeds ground
  • 155 g plain flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
  • 50 g fine semolina

Tips and Suggestions

countless variations of this biscuit recipe exist, with a variety of ingredients, but they all contain semolina and plain flour. Many decades ago, women would prepare their biscuit dough at home and take it to a communal oven or bakery for the baker to bake. The cooked biscuits would then be delivered back to them.

For an authentic Indian experience, Manju suggests serving the biscuits with tea made from chai ka masala and deep-fried shingaras.


1. Preheat oven to 190C/gas 5 and lightly grease a baking tray.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer or using a wooden spoon, cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla essence and cardamom.

3. Add the flour and semolina and mix into a firm paste. Knead gently for 5 minutes.

4. Keeping your hands dusted with flour, take golf ball-sized pieces and flatten into circles about 1.5cm thick, or roll out the dough and use a biscuit cutter.

5. Put the biscuits on the prepared baking tray at least 2.5cm apart and bake for 12-15 minutes or until light brown. Cool on a wire rack.

6. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

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