Sadhana Mahato is a fervent enthusiast for cooking innovative recipes that do not compromise on neither taste nor health.
Nourishment for the growing brains
It's always difficult and worrisome for parents to provide the best possible nutritional sources of food in a delicious form to their kids. As a parent or a guardian you want your loved one to have a healthy growth and a healthy life and children do not want to compromise on their taste buds as they love enjoying life. While both the sides are right in their own perspectives and in their persistence of choice, I have always learnt to come up with an answer that is not a compromise but which justifies both the essential debates - HEALTH & TASTE.
A little fact about the recipe
The recipe I'm about to share with you is called 'Nankhatai' in India which was introduced here in the 16th century by a Dutch couple in Surat to meet the needs of the Dutch residents. When the Dutch left India, a Persian took over the bakery they worked in and he invented this crunchy cookie and named it 'Nankhatai'. Later, the Gujarati (a caste belonging to the state of Gujarat, India) continued the tradition of making Nankhatai with their own personal touch and hence, since then, the cookies known as 'Surti Nankhatai' for originating in Surat, a city in Gujarat, is famous not only in India but is also exported worldwide due to its rich and exotic taste.
- For these cookies, you need 'Ghee' which you can find at the nearest Indian grocery store.
- Also you might need to buy Kashmiri Kesar or Saffron from the Indian store to give it a natural yellow orange color and flavor without any artificial additives to provide much better nutrition to your kids.
- To enjoy these cookies in their authentic form and taste, use powdered white sugar.
- You also need to buy fine gram flour from your nearby Indian store to give them an authentic richness and nutty flavor.
- Do not use any ingredients that are just removed from the refrigerator or have been just warmed up in an oven as this might kill the bacteria in the soda.
- In this recipe I have used the raw pistachios which are dark green in color and are very small bit sized to make the cookies colorful and attractive for any person to eat.
- Though I've said that this recipe works for kids, these work fine with any person belonging to any age groups as long as the ingredients & the quantities of each mentioned here are not advised for intake for patients having to follow certain restrictions and for people allergic to any of the ingredients mentioned.
- Always use cardamom seeds that are crushed coarsely with a pastel and also cardamom powder to make it very rich and flavorful naturally
Whole Wheat flour
Use finely grounded one
You can use this 1/2 cup if you like a more nutty and protein packed cookie
1/2 cup + 1tbsp
If you are more health and calorie conscious, use cow ghee
2 to 3 tbsp
cow milk will make these cookies healthier and use full-fat milk at room temperature
2 to 3 tbsp
You can add more if you prefer more sweetness. Also white sugar would impart more sweetness in less amounts than brown sugar or any unrefined sugars so adjust the sugar sweetness as per your choice and preference of sweetness
infuse them in milk and heat the milk for 30 seconds and let it cool down for 30 minutes till the milk turns a yellow-orange color before using it in the preparation
Cardamom seeds crushed
Method to make these cookies
- Take the ghee (at room temperature) in a medium to large mixing bowl.
- Add 2 tbsp of white sugar powdered (you can also use brown sugar, but white sugar accentuates the flavor of saffron)
- Add the saffron infused milk to this
- Add the cardamom powder
- Mix this preparation with a hand mixture till it turns creamy and smooth without any lumps of sugar.
- Now take the whole wheat flour and gram flour and sieve it in a wide bowl along with baking soda and salt.
- Add this to the wet mixture and add the crushed cardamom seeds to this.
- To this, add the chopped pistachios (if you don't have the raw baby pistachios you can use normal roasted or raw pistachios )
- Knead gently without putting a lot of strenuous effort so that the bacteria found in the baking soda are kept active.
- Knead into a ball and flatten it with your hands and flatten the dough very gently so that it doesn't form cracks.
- Try to seal the cracks that form (if any) with your hands and keep it thick so that you can have the real joy of eating a thick crunchy Nankhatai cookie.
- Cut it with a cookie cutter of your choice and place them on a greased tray with a little distance between them so that they can rise properly.
- Put them in a preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes at 180 degree Celsius (the time varies in different brands of oven depending on the power of heat produced)
- When they turn pink and are cooked, take them out to cool them on a wire rack.
- When they cool down completely, check if they are hard but buttery and crunchy as these cookies do not taste good if they're soft and chewy.
- If they are of the required texture store them in an airtight container or bake them for few more minutes (probably five to seven minutes)
- Enjoy the royal taste of rich cookies with a rich history ready to serve you pleasure in every bite.
- These cookies stay fresh for up to 10 to 15 days
- Adding gram flour is essential, do not skip it if you can get it from a grocery store as saffron and gram flour compliment each other to accentuate the flavors of the end product.
- We won't be using baking powder in these cookies as these cookies need crunchy hard texture.
- Do not add milk more than 3 tbsp in a cup of flour as these cookies should be crunchy and milk or water will make them soft and chewy.
- Do not add more salt as they may turn bitter.
- Never use honey in these cookies instead of sugar as the more the sugar is moist and unrefined the less it will make the traditional Indian cookie crunchy.
- You can also add salted pistachios if you like a little bit of salty caramelized taste in your sweet and rich cookies.
- Using ghee and whole wheat flour and gram flour will ensure and incorporate healthy fats, carbohydrates and protein respectively in your child's diet so do not replace them if you want to be health conscious for your kid.
- Do not use more than the prescribed amount of cardamom and saffron or else it will make the cookies pungent and bitter.
- You can add 2 tbsp of semolina in these flours by reducing 2 tbsp of whole wheat flour from the 1 cup if you want an extremely crunchy cookie texture.
- Last, but not the least, always make them with love and see the flavors burst into your finished recipe.