Coconut Nankhatai

Coconut Nankhatai

Nankhatais are shortbread biscuits, originating from the Indian subcontinent, popular in India and Pakistan. The word Nankhatai is derived from Persian word Naan meaning bread and "Khatai" from an Afghan word meaning Biscuit.

In Afghanistan and Northeast Iran, these biscuits are called Kulcha-e-Khataye. Kulcha is a type of bread similar to Naan.

Nankhatai is believed to have originated in Surat in the 16th century, the time when Dutch and Indians were the important spice traders. A Dutch couple set up a bakery in Surat to meet the needs of local Dutch residents. When the Dutch left India, they handed over the bakery to an Iranian. The bakery biscuits were disliked by the locals. To save his business he started selling dried bread at low prices. It became so popular that he started drying the bread before selling it. With time, his experimentation with bread ultimately gave birth to Nankhatai.

Cococnut nankhatai is an eggless light and crispy cookie that can be served with an hot tea or coffee. Adding desiccated coconut gives nice flavour of coconut. These light and flaky shortbread, flavoured with or without cardamom and/or vanilla will just melt away in your mouth.

Nankhatai are also known as Indian shortbread cookies or biscuits. They are made from all purpose flour, sugar, ghee or butter. Sometimes whole wheat flour or semolina/rava/sooji can be used.

My mother used to make yummy nankhatai and I learned this from her. These are my favourite cookies since childhood. Sometimes she made coconut nankhatai, sometimes plain, sometimes with nuts/dry fruits, sometimes vanilla flavoured and many more types. I have lovely childhood memories associated with nankhatais.

You can make nankhatai in bulk and then can store it in an air tight container and can enjoy for next few days.

  Recipe Servings: -
  Cooking time: 20 Minutes


  • All Purpose Flour (Maida) - 1 cup
  • Desiccated Coconut - 1/4 cup
  • Powerded Sugar - 1/2 cup
  • Green Cardamom Powder - a pinch
  • Unsalted Butter or Ghee - 1/2 cup
  • Baking Powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Almonds (finely sliced) - as required (optional)
  • Salt - a pinch


  • In a bowl, sieve together all-purpose flour (maida), baking powder and green cardamom powder. Add salt and mix till well combined.

  • Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, mix together ghee/butter with powdered sugar till it gets fluffy and light and white in colour.

  • Now add desiccated coconut to it and mix well.

  • Add the flour mixture (the dry ingredients) to it and mix well. Make a soft dough using soft hands.

  • Mix till it forms a soft and smooth dough. The dough will be little sticky.

  • Cling wrap the dough and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

  • After 30 minutes take the dough out from the refrigerator and make equal small size balls of walnut shape from the dough.

  • Flatten each balls slightly with your hands and if you want you can make a criss-cross design on top with a knife. Press some finely sliced almonds in the centre if you want.

  • Place the baking tray lined with the cookies back in the refrigerator again for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 180° Celsius for 7 minutes.

  • After 20 minutes, take out the baking tray and bake at 180° Celsius for 16-18 minutes or till the nankhatai/cookies starts turning light brown in colour.

  • Please note that every oven has a different settings so time can vary a bit, so keep an eye on the nankhatai when baking them.

  • Once done remove the coconut nankhatais from the oven and let them cool completely.

  • Store in an air-tight container and enjoy with tea or coffee or as such.