Cardamom Butter Biscuits with Crunch

Adapted from Indian Delights by Zuleikha Mayat

This traditional Indian biscuit is the one that is featured during Diwali and other celebrations. It is similar to a butter biscuit, but the semolina gives it a characteristic nutty crunch. It’s preferable that you use ghee (clarified butter) but you may use butter if you can’t find any. Cardamom fills the kitchen and infuses this biscuit with a gorgeous musky scent.

There are many variations of Naan Khatai – this is one my mother always makes.

Happy Diwali!

I will be  making these on Expresso Show in the morning at 6 15 am  – what a time eh!


Makes 30 or more

250 ml ghee or butter, softened

190 ml (3/4 cup) castor sugar

2 large egg yolks

1 & 1/3 t bicarbonate of soda

2 t baking powder

4 T condensed milk

1/2 t finely pounded cardamom (shells discarded)

4 T semolina

375 ml (2 & 1/2 cup) cake flour (more if needed)

Slivered or whole blanched almond for each cookie


1. Cream butter or ghee and castor sugar until pale, add egg yolks and beat in.

2. Add the remainder of the ingredients, except the flour. Beat until light and creamy.

3. Sift flour in. Mix gently until a smooth biscuit dough is achieved. Add a little more flour if needed.

4. Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius.  Form little balls and press gently (1 cm thickness and about 5 cm in diameter). You can make a larger, flatter cookie if you wish but it may brown too quickly.

5.  Place on greased baking trays, with a few centimeters between biscuits as they spread.

6. Press a slivered almond or whole, unblanched one in the centre of each biscuit.

7. Bake for 5 minutes at 190 and then turn heat down to 150 degrees Celsius and bake for 8-10 minutes. The orginal instructions say 20 minutes but that’s too long in my oven.

8. Allow to cool in tray for 3 minutes and then leave on wire racks to cool completely.

Store in airtight containers and enjoy with tea.



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