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A plate of nan khatai in the front. On the back is a cooling rack with nan khatai on top of it, and a teacup with a saucer.

Nan Khatai (Khalifa style) | Cardamom flavored shortbread biscuits

Nan khatai are cardamom flavored shortbread style biscuits or cookies from India and Pakistan. Made with ghee, flour, chickpea flour (besan) and almonds, they have a buttery melt in the mouth flavor and light crumbly texture. Perfect with a cup of chai. This particular recipe is based on the Khalifa style nan khatai from Pakistan.
Course Afternoon Tea, Dessert, Hi Tea
Cuisine Indian, North Indian, Pakistani
Keyword Cardamom Shortbread Biscuits
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 22 biscuits
Calories 100 kcal


  • 1 ½ cups / 190g all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoon / 60g chickpea flour / besan
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup / 150g sugar finely ground – see note 1
  • ½ cup / 80g almonds roasted and crushed
  • 6 cardamom pods husk removed, and seeds crushed into powder
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
  • ¾ cup / 190g ghee clarified butter
  • 1 egg yolk whisked
  • Whole almonds crushed almonds, and crushed pistachios, for garnish


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C/ 350°F (160°C fan forced).
  2. Separate the cardamom pod husks from the seeds. Crush the seeds into a fine powder in a mortar and pestle.
  3. Dry roast the almonds in a small frying pan till light golden brown. Let them cool, and then roughly crush in a mortar and pestle or a manual nut grinder.
  4. Place the flour, chickpea flour (besan), baking soda, baking powder, finely ground sugar, roasted and crushed almonds, ground cardamom seeds, and cardamom powder in a bowl. Mix well.
  5. Add the ghee (clarified butter) and mix well. The dough will first be crumbly and then come together into a rough ball. I prefer to use a rubber spatula in the beginning, and once the ghee (clarified butter) is mixed through, I use my hands to gather the dough into a ball. The dough does not need to be kneaded.
  6. Use a cookie scoop or your hands to scoop out about 2 tablespoons of the dough, and then roll into a ball. Place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, making sure that there is about 1 ½ inch space between each nan khatai. Brush the tops of the nan khatai with the whisked egg yolk.
  7. Garnish with almonds, and/or pistachios. You can either put a whole almond, or crushed almonds, or crushed pistachios, or a mix of crushed pistachios and almonds. Press the nuts a little so that they press into the dough. It is also possible to bake them plain and skip the garnish.
  8. Bake the cookies for about 12 – 15 minutes, until edges are firm and the top is light golden. Place on a baking tray, and cool completely. The cookies will be a little soft when they come out of the oven, but they will harden in few minutes.
  9. This recipe makes 22 – 24 nan khatai. Calories are based on a serving size of 1 nan khatai per person.

Recipe Notes

1. It’s important to use finely ground sugar as it would dissolve into the ghee (clarified butter) easily. I pulse regular sugar 2 – 3 times in a spice grinder till it turns into a fine powder, and then use it. You can also use finely ground sugar or caster sugar. If you use powdered sugar, you will need to increase the quantity.