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Tuesday 23 October 2012

Baking for Beginners: Coconut, Cardamom and Lime Nankhatai Biscuits

Nankhatai: the plosive bang of those three sharp syllables, so deeply satisfying to say that it sounds like it should be a swear word. It isn't, though; it's an Indian biscuit, and probably the easiest bit of baking you'll ever do. The dough takes minutes to make - and using oil instead of butter means you don't even have to wait for it to come to room temperature. Any neutral oil is fine, like sunflower or vegetable.

They're so simple: just three ingredients, plus any flavours you like. The basic biscuit is simple enough that it can take on any extra flavours you fancy. They should have a powdery, cracked top and go beautifully with a cup of chai (or just builders' tea) in the afternoon.

Coconut, Cardamom and Lime Nankhatai (makes about 16)

You will need:
  • 120g plain flour
  • 80ml oil
  • 160g sugar
  • 5-6 cardamom pods
  • Zest of one lime
  • 50g dried coconut
Make it!
  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas mark 5. Line a tray with baking paper.
  2. Split the cardamom pods and grind the seeds to a powder.
  3. Put the flour, sugar, cardamom, lime zest and coconut in a bowl. Gradually add the oil and mix to a soft dough. You may not need all the oil, so add slowly until it comes together.
  4. Divide into small balls and place on the tray. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the tops are cracked and the biscuits are golden brown. 
  5. Leave to cool on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.


  1. My mouth is watering and I have ingredients in the cupboard. 10 o'clock in the evening is a perfectly reasonable time to start baking, right?

  2. I tried making these without the coconut but alas it didn't work. That'll serve me right for trying to cut corners.

    1. I'm going to try omitting coconut from a different biscuit recipe this evening... I hope I have more luck!

  3. My mixture was very dry even though I added all the oil, did you use caster or confectioners sugar?
    They turned out nice but might reduce the amount of sugar next time


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