Naan Khatais have a special place in my heart. Because they are a part of my beloved grandmother’s (Who passed away this year.God grant her peace) childhood in Delhi(India). I used to stare at her in fascination when she used to talk about the monkeys who used to snatch things from unsuspecting victims. For example once my great-grandmother fried(they didn’t have ovens,therefore didn’t bake) a batch of naan khatai and left it in her veranda to cool. Since they were already tired of monkeys snatching stuff, she was keeping a close eye on that batch of naan khatais. However somebody called from inside the house and she turned her back towards the tray to answer the person. And when she turned back. ……….. no tray,no naan khatais.
A pair of monkeys was sitting there munching naan khatais with the tray in their hands. And these monkey-cum-thieves stole about everything they saw. And they were damn smug about that. When people make movies depicting monkeys imitating people, they aren’t using special effects. Monkeys not only imitate humans but they also make fun of them after stealing their stuff. I recently asked a friend in Delhi about these guys.And she says, that the population has decreased due to authorities being on a monkey-chase. However they are still there. I feel thankful that the only monkeys we have are the ones in the zoo or in a circus. I wouldn’t like them steeling my naan khatai or other cookies for that matter.
The other memories of naan khatai involve my mum and the aunts. The way they used to sit on the ‘takhat’ (kind of like an extended bed minus the mattress, so it was hard) at my grandma’s house and gossip around their cups of tea, samosas and naan khatais. I would sit there (being a huge sucker for gossip) and would dunk my naan khatai in my mother’s tea. And let it there for longer than neccessary. So the naan khatai would break and settle at the bottom of the cup. And somebody would have to get her another cup of tea. So, baking these always brings about the best memories of my life. These large gatherings occur rarely now, now that grandma isn’t there to hold us all together!
Bake Time: 25-30 minutes
Makes: approx 12 cookies
- Unsalted butter or Ghee – (1/2 cup, 4 oz) at room temperature
- Powdered Sugar – 1/2 cup
- Cardamom Powder – 1/4 tsp
- All Purpose Flour – 1 cup
- Baking Powder – 1/4 tsp
- Salt – 1/8 tsp
- Sliced pistachios- For garnishing
- In a mixing bowl, combine powdered sugar and softened butter/ghee.Mix well with a spoon.
- Add Cardamom Powder and mix well.
- In a separate bowl, sift All Purpose Flour with Baking Powder and Salt.
- Knead Flour mixture with Butter Mixture to form a soft dough.
- Wrap dough in plastic wrap and leave it for 10 minutes in the fridge.
- Now heat the oven to 300 degree F or 150 degree C.
- Divide the dough into 12 equal portions.
- Roll each portion into a smooth ball with no cracks and place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper .(Or sprayed with non-stick vegetable oil spray).Leave ample space between dough balls.
- Garnish each ball with sliced pistachios.
- Bake on the middle rack for 25-30 minutes (keep an eye on them– naan khatai should remain white).
- Remove the naan khatais from the baking tray and cool on the cooling rack.