Nankathai – Indian Cardamom Shortbread Cookies

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Is it just me or is the sound of a kettle turning on the most comforting noise in the world. Hearing the water begin to boil away just makes me mentally go “ahhhhh”. The emoticon with the smiley rose cheeks? Yeah that face happens too. I’m sure it’s synonymous with the idea that I’m about to have a big fat hug in a cup. (That’s tea for people who speak normal english). 

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You’ve come home late, you’ve come home early, you’ve heard good news, you’ve heard bad news, you’ve made cake, you’ve not made cake. Any…scratch that…every scenario sounds/feels/tastes better with a cup of tea. Fellow tea lovers, can I get an amen?? When I went to university in the states, I quickly discovered that “putting the kettle on” is not a thing over there. In fact, kettles aren’t even widely available in shops. I know! Bunch of crazies. My thoughts exactly.

I think this love for tea (and kettles it would appear) stems from the British and Indian in me…two nations of tea lovers! And what better way to compliment tea than a biscuit or “biskoot” as pronounced in the motherland. Which brings me to today’s recipe of the utterly moreish, buttery, crumbly and fragrant nankathai. We are talking melt in mouth factor x 1000 people. Mum and I have been developing this recipe for years trying to make it better every time and you know what, I think this one is actually THE ONE. If you have tried the old recipe on the blog I urge your to re-make with this recipe. Try! Go now! Oh and come back and let me know your thoughts. Please :).

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Nankathai
Yields 20
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Ingredients
  1. ½ cup gram flour
  2. 1½ cups plain flour
  3. ¾ cup icing sugar
  4. ¼ tsp green cardamom seeds, ground into a fine powder
  5. 1 tsp baking powder
  6. 1/8th tsp bicarbonate of soda
  7. ¾ cup ghee
  8. almond slithers for garnishing
Instructions
  1. Line a baking tray and preheat oven to 180ºc.
  2. To a bowl, add the gram flour, plain flour, icing sugar, cardamom powder, baking powder and bicarb of soda. Mix well.
  3. Add the ghee and mix together using a whisk. When you see the ghee has mixed through, put the whisk down and scrape off any excess mixture back into the bowl.
  4. Now, hold the bowl with one hand and using your free hand, knead the mixture into a stiff but smooth dough. Note, it does take a few minutes before you see the mixture come together and begin to take the form of a dough but it will happen - keep at it.
  5. Divide the dough into 20 sections. (you can make more or less depending on what size you prefer. My photos reflect a yield of 20). Roll into smooth balls.
  6. Place them on the lined tray and flatten with your fingers slightly. Place an almond slither on each.
  7. Place the tray in the preheated oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. They should be light golden in colour. Remove from heat and allow to cool. (Do not touch before they cool otherwise they will crumble!)
  8. Serve or store in an air tight container.
Notes
  1. Tip - Very lightly oiling your hands can help with forming and kneading the dough!
Adapted from Sanjeev Kapoor's Khazana
Adapted from Sanjeev Kapoor's Khazana
Monica's Spice Diary - Indian Food Blog http://spicediary.com/

Indian Sweet Semolina Cardamom Pudding (Suji Halwa)

sweet semolina suji halwa
Suji Halwa (or sweet semolina pudding) is the one dish you need to know as the temperature starts to drop. It is the perfect escape on these Autumnal evenings… so join me as I switch on the X-factor, put on my Onesie and scuttle to the kitchen! This dish is particularly dear to me as it is the first dish my Mum taught to make when I was 11.

Suji Halwa has a warmth and sweetness that is delicately tempered by the spiciness of crushed cardamom. I usually make this dessert when I’m craving something truly comforting and easy after dinner, as it takes less than 10 minutes to dish up. Despite the homely memories, this dish is actually traditionally served as an offering in Sikh and Hindu temples. Once blessed by the priest, it is distributed amongst the congregation… and the kids (the big ones included) keep going back for more!

It gives me great pleasure in sharing the recipe to this very simple, but heart-warming pleasure with you! Enjoy… and don’t forget to send me your thoughts, and tweet me your efforts (onesies ’n all)!

Serves 6 

Ingredients:
1/4 cup semolina
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 cups water
1 tsp green cardamom seeds, crushed
Almonds, sliced for garnishing

 

How To:

  • Heat pan and add butter.
  • Now add the semolina. Cook on medium heat, stirring quickly and continuously. Cook until the semolina is deep golden brown in colour (This should take about 5-7 minutes).
  • Now add the water, sugar and cardamom and begin to mix quickly with a whisk on a high heat.
  • Continue to whisk for 4-5 minutes. You  should see the mixture begin to thicken. Cook until it begins to come away from the sides of the pan and a pudding type consistency forms.
  • Turn off heat and remove from heat.
  • Garnish with sliced almonds.

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Naan Kithai (Indian Shortbread Cookies)

Naan Kithai are traditional Indian buttery cookies, flavoured with cardamom and are delicious. I’ve never been a huge baking enthusiast (probably because I usually view baking as a time consuming project), but I love making these, firstly because they taste amazing and go perfectly with my daily staple of cardamom tea and secondly, because the recipe is really simple and it only requires 10 minutes baking time in the oven. We have served them at The Spice Club with our after dinner tea/coffee and they go down a treat. I’ve been asked for the recipe so many times that I have decided to get it down on paper! Comments appreciated! Let me know what you thnk..

Makes approx 30

What we need:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup oil
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup plain flour
1/3 cup semolina
1/2 cup gram flour
Pinch of baking soda
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
Sliced Almonds to garnish

How we do:

  • Place sugar, butter and oil in a bowl and cream together
  • In a separate bowl, add semolina, gram flour, plain flour, baking soda and cardamom powder together and mix well.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter, oil and sugar
  • Bind together until a soft dough is formed
  • Divide into 30 portions and shape them into balls
  • Put a little indentation into the middle of each portion, add a slice of almond to each and place on lined baking tray
  • Bake in oven at 150C for 5 minutes. Turn the baking tray around and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • They should be a very slight golden colour. Remove tray from oven and allow to cool before touching them.
  • You’re done. Enjoy!