Nan khatai with saffron & cardamom milk

by Roopa Gulati

Sweetly spiced south Asian biscuits

These sweetly spiced biscuits have a long history in south Asia and were brought over by the Mughals. Despite the popularity of mass-produced varieties, these locally made treats are still favoured at festival time.


For the biscuits:
50g self-raising flour
50g gram flour (chickpea flour)
60g semolina
½ tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground cinnamon
100g unsalted butter, room temperature
130g caster sugar
1 tbsp chopped almonds
1 tbsp chopped pistachios

For the saffron and cardamom milk:
A pinch of saffron strands
½ litre full cream milk
8 green cardamom pods
4-6 tsp caster sugar


Heat the oven to 160C. Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.

Sieve the flour and gram flour into a bowl and whisk in the semolina, a pinch of salt, and the ground cardamom and cinnamon. Set aside.

Cream the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the flour mixture and gently bring all the ingredients together. Using your hands, roll the dough into small walnut-sized balls and arrange on lined baking trays, leaving room for the biscuits to spread as they bake.

Slightly flatten the top of each ball and sprinkle each biscuit with the chopped nuts, pressing them into the surface. Bake for about 15 mins until golden. Leave to cool before storing in an airtight tin.

Make the spiced milk while the biscuits are in the oven. Grind the saffron strands to a powder using a pestle and mortar and mix with 3-4 tbsp warmed, measured milk. Leave to one side to steep for a few mins.

Split the cardamom pods and grind the seeds with 1 tsp sugar, or you can use ½ tsp ready ground cardamom seeds instead. Add the cardamom powder to the rest of the milk and bring to a simmer. Once it is hot, add sugar to sweeten, then add the soaked saffron milk. Serve straight away.

Recipe: Roopa Gulati