What is a Nankhatai that Gujarati People Eat?

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Nankhatai holds a special place in the hearts and taste buds of the Gujarati people. This delectable treat is a popular delicacy that has been savored for generations in Gujarat, India. Its irresistible aroma, melt-in-your-mouth texture, and unique flavors make it a beloved snack in Gujarati households. In this article, we will delve into the origins, cultural significance, and traditional recipe of Nankhatai, providing you with a comprehensive understanding of this delightful Gujarati delicacy.

Nankhatai: Definition and Origins

Defining Nankhatai

Nankhatai is a type of eggless shortbread cookie that originated in India. It is characterized by its crumbly texture and sweet, buttery taste. Traditionally, Nankhatai is made using all-purpose flour, ghee (clarified butter), powdered sugar, and a blend of aromatic spices, such as cardamom and nutmeg. These ingredients come together to create a cookie that is both soft and crunchy, leaving you craving for more with every bite.

The Historical Origins of Nankhatai

The exact origins of Nankhatai are somewhat uncertain, but it is believed to have been introduced to India during the colonial era. The name itself has Persian roots, with “nan” meaning bread and “khatai” referring to a biscuit. Over time, Nankhatai underwent various adaptations to suit Indian palates and regional preferences. Today, it has become an integral part of Gujarati cuisine, loved by people of all ages.

Traditional Gujarati Nankhatai Recipe


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup ghee (clarified butter)
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • Chopped pistachios or almonds for garnish (optional)
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  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, powdered sugar, baking powder, cardamom powder, and salt. Mix well.
  3. Add the ghee to the dry ingredients and gently knead until a soft dough forms. Avoid over-kneading as it may result in a tough texture.
  4. Divide the dough into small portions and shape them into round balls. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet, leaving some space between each cookie.
  5. Press a pistachio or almond piece onto the center of each dough ball for garnish, if desired.
  6. Bake the Nankhatai in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, or until they turn golden brown around the edges.
  7. Once baked, remove the Nankhatai from the oven and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack.
  8. Store the Nankhatai in an airtight container to maintain their freshness and enjoy them whenever your heart desires.

Nankhatai: Cultural Significance in Gujarat

Nankhatai holds deep cultural significance in Gujarat, being an integral part of festivals, celebrations, and auspicious occasions. Its presence adds a touch of sweetness and joy to these special moments, making it an essential treat in Gujarati households. During festivals like Diwali, Nankhatai takes center stage as families come together to prepare and share these delightful cookies. The act of exchanging Nankhatai symbolizes love, unity, and the spirit of togetherness.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: How long do Nankhatai cookies stay fresh?

A: When stored in an airtight container, Nankhatai can stay fresh for up to two weeks. However, they are often consumed much sooner due to their irresistible taste!

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Q: Are there any variations of Nankhatai in Gujarat?

A: Yes, there are several regional variations of Nankhatai in Gujarat. Some people add semolina or chickpea flour to the dough for a unique texture, while others experiment with flavors by incorporating ingredients like saffron or rose essence.

Q: Where can I find Nankhatai in Gujarat?

A: Nankhatai is widely available in local sweet shops and bakeries across Gujarat. You can also find homemade Nankhatai during festivals and special occasions.


In conclusion, Nankhatai is a beloved Gujarati delicacy that has stood the test of time. Its rich history, scrumptious taste, and cultural significance make it a treat like no other. Whether you savor it during festivals, enjoy it with a cup of tea, or share it with loved ones, Nankhatai is sure to bring warmth and sweetness into your life. So, why not try your hand at making this delightful cookie and experience the joy it brings to Gujarati people and beyond?

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