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Naan Khatai ( Version 1 )- Marsay Family Favourite

This Naan Khatai is a delightfully Crispy, Buttery Cardamom Shortbread Cookie, that will make anytime tea time in your home. 

South African Indian families have been making many versions of Naan Khatai for generations.  And my family is one such.  I have a good few versions that my families enjoy, and this particular one has always been a firm favourite of mine, as well as with the rest of the family.  So I decided to kick-off with this version, aptly labelled version 1, as I will, in sha Allah (God Willing), share my other family favourite versions some other time.

What is Naan Khatai?  For the benefit of readers less familiar with this type of cookie, Naan Khatai is actually a Type of Shortbread Biscuit, which originates from the Indian Subcontinent.  “Naan” is a Persian word meaning ‘Bread’ and “Khatai” s derived from Dari Persian word meaning ‘Biscuit’, According to Wikipedia, Parts of Northern Iran and Afghanistan have a similar type of biscuit, called “Kulcha-e-Khataye”. 

Now back to South Africa and Our South African Indian Family’s Love Affair with these humble little biscuits.  Naan Khataai can, almost always, be found on every tea table.  Most especially during Festivals like Eid or Diwali, as well as wedding functions and other celebrations.   The one thing, or most important thing that South African Indian Families would go crazy for, apart from the taste of the naan khatai, is ‘HOW WELL THE NAAN KHATAI CRACKED’!!! WHY? I have no idea, except to think that they do look so unusually beautiful even with the cracks.  BUT, don’t let them cracks fool you, once you take your 1st bite of this version of naan khatai, you too will soon be hooked on them.

What is the South African Indian’s Obsession with HOW WELL The NAAN KHATAI HAVE CRACKED?

Pssst…All the traditionalist Naan Khatai Lovers, may want to look away now, as I turn this old school classic on it’s head.  HOW>>> By Making these naan khatai into WEDGES! YES, your read right.  It is a great alternative way to serve these cardamom flavoured shortbread cookies, HOWEVER BE WARNED, There won’t be any major cracks on it, slightly maybe, and The Wedges are a lot more chewier, than the individual cookies, which is light and crisp. I will drop my ‘HOW TO MAKE’ these in my recipe card.


This recipe has been what some of my aunts have always used, and I had lost the recipe along the way.  But thanks to Social Media, and dear Aunty Fawzia Safla and Aunty Rashida Akoonjee, who rekindled my love for this version of naan khatai,  So, be prepared to keep the weekend cookie jars filled, As I am sure your family will be enjoying these naan khatai, as much as mine does.  

Happy ‘Naan Khatai’ Baking Lovelies 

Love Marriam

Naan Khatai (Cardamom Shortbread Cookie) Version 1 - Marsay Family Favourite

Author: Foodeva Marsay (@foodeva_marsay)


250 Grams Butter 

1 Cup Vegetable Oil

1 and 1/2 Cup Sugar

2 teaspoon Baking Powder

1 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda

2 teaspoon Cardamom Powder (Elachie Powder)

Approximately 4-5 Cups Flour, Enough to make a soft Biscuit Dough


~ Ensure the Butter is soft before using.

~ Cream together the Butter and Sugar.

~ Add in the Vegetable Oil, beat well until light and creamy.

~ Now add in the Baking Powder, Bicarbonate of Soda and Cardamom Powder.  Beat until combined into the creamy batter.

~ Gradually add in the flour, until a soft biscuit dough is formed.  It needs to be soft, but not sticky on the fingers.

~ Preheat Oven to 170 Degrees Celsius, while you form the Naan Khatai into balls.

~ Form the dough into balls, usually golf ball sized, but you can make them as big or small as preferred. Do Not Flatten the naan khatai dough balls, these will spread as they bake.

~ Insert  into the dough balls, either Coloured Almond Flakes / Whole or Half Almonds / Pecan Nuts. Or you could leave it plain.

~ Place onto Baking Paper lined, or Non-Stick Spray greased, Oven Sheet Pans.  Bake until lightly browned. (+/- 10-15 minutes)

~ When removing from Baking Sheets, allow to rest for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then gently transfer the naan khatai to a cooling rack.

~ When cooled, pack into airtight containers.




*The wedge Style works for this Naan Khatai recipe, I have yet to try it on other versions.*

*This is a great alternative way to serve these cardamom flavoured shortbread cookies, HOWEVER BE WARNED, There won’t be any major cracks on it, slightly maybe, and The Wedges are a lot more chewier, than the individual cookies, which is light and crisp*

~ Follow the Dough Making Instructions as mentioned above.

~ Grease a Fluted or any Loose Bottomed Tart Pan. 

~ Evenly press in Half the batch of this Naan Khatai Dough into the Pan, It should reach Halfway up the pan sides. Ensure the Dough is spread out evenly, and smoothen/neaten the edges.  Also prick the surface of the dough.

~ Using a knife, cut out Wedge sizes, and top each sliced wedge with chopped coloured almonds or pistachio. (regular almonds can also be used.)

~ Bake in preheated oven, at 170 degrees celsius, until lightly browned.  If this browns too quick, lower the oven temperature.

~ Remove the Wedges, and immediately re-cut along the lines you cut before before baking. 

~ Allow to cool, then carefully remove the loose bottom of tart pan (Place the pan onto a seedy can or jar, then press down the Ring to remove.)

~ Using a flat Spatular, remove each wedge and cool onto a cooling rack. (If you feel the edges of each slice needs a little more baking, Then place wedges onto a baking sheet and return to warm oven for 3-5 minutes) 

~ Cool well before packing into tins/containers


*Kindly Share My Recipes As Posted, ©*

Naan Khatai- Version 1 ; Marsay Family Favourite

Looking to pair a Delicious Cuppa Chai with this Naan Khataai? I suggest you give this KARAK CHAI A try.

and.. this Four Ingredient Shortbread is another winner to fill up those cookie jars.

Before you go, PLEASE do remember to RATE THIS RECIPE POST below.  And do take a moment to subscribe to receive my emails from Foodeva Marsay when a new post is LIVE. 

Looking forward to hearing all your feedbacks on my various social media platforms💕

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Naan Khatai(Version 1) - Cardamom Shortbread Cookies
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