Healthy NANKHATAI | Jaggery version | Old-fashioned Shortbread cookies | Easy way | with and without Oven | Home-available Ingredients

Homemade cookies should always shine with the best healthful ingredients. When unhealthy ingredients are added to get the exact taste and texture as in the commercial cookies, the word Homemade would have to die there itself, isn't it? My version is an attempt to make a healthy Nankhatai with no compromise in the taste factor. 

Naan means 'Bread' and Khatai means 'Biscuit'. NANKHATAI - an old-fashioned shortbread cookie or biscuit which our ancestors used to bake when there was no electric oven. NANKHATAI hails from the Indian subcontinent which is most popular in the Northern parts of India. The recipe is a no-fancy thing which uses simple home-available ingredients that can be baked to perfection with and without oven.

Traditional Nankhatai:

  • There are numerous variations in Nankhatai among which Nankhatai with all-purpose flour, white sugar and shortening are the most common. Long before, it had been the combination of all-purpose flour, chickpea flour and semolina in any ratio. Nowadays, people skip chickpea flour and use only all-purpose flour to make these cookies.
  • They are tender and crunchy which don't get bigger in size while baking since we don't use any leavening agent in it.
  • Usually, some patterns are made and the cookies are topped with the chopped nuts. As the original size is retained, the patterns would be seen even after the cookies get baked.
  • If the chickpea flour ratio is high, the cookies would be yellow with the noticeable baked Besan flavour.
  • If the chickpea flour is less or skipped completely, the cookies would be pale white keeping the soft texture and the crunchiness.

But, just think of the unhealthy combo of all-purpose flour, white sugar and vegetable shortening. Can't we make it healthy? The answer is simple. My version excels with the healthy star ingredients like Whole wheat flour, Jaggery powder, butter and ghee in addition to chickpea flour and semolina.

When I first attempted this ancient time cookies with the healthy alternatives, I spent some time in making patterns over the cookies and later gotta know that those are of no use as the patterns get disappear while baking. So, they don't need to get pattered as they grow bigger because of the property of Jaggery.

On further trials, I found the perfect ratio to get the perfectly crunchy Nankhatai which I'm sharing today. Thereafter, Nankhatai has been the often-made cookies in our home as the ingredients are very simple and they are pretty easy to make and bake. The taste would be incomparably good with the perfect crispiness which makes it lovable by the kids and the adults alike. Though the traditional Nankhatai taste is completely changed by the Jaggery, it tastes uniquely delicious with the full healthiness assured. 

I use half butter and half ghee to make the cookies rich and flavourful. You can use full butter or full ghee to make these cookies. I suggest avoiding shortening in the Homemade Nankhatai as the one we make with butter and ghee excels in lending the perfect crunchiness we want.

Unlike the traditional Nankhatai, this healthy Nankhatai is brown in colour because of the usage of Jaggery. Also, Jaggery version cookies would grow little bigger while baking and so, the cookie size would get increased a little.

Two ways to make Nankhatai:

  1. The butter should be taken in the room temperature for this method. Beat the butter until fluffy. Add in the jaggery powder and beat until creamy. Add in the flour mixture, gather the dough and make cookies.
  2. The second method is the easiest one in which the flour and the Jaggery powder is mixed first and then gathered into a dough adding the melted form of butter and ghee. This doesn't need more time and effort as in the first method to get the butter fluffy and creamy.

I tried both the ways and found that both ways yield equally good cookies. So, I stick to the second way as it is easy to make with less time and effort.

Things to Know to Get Perfectly crisp Nankhatai:

  • The semolina added should be of the very fine variety and they turn the cookies into a super crispy treat.
  • There is no need for sifting the ingredients. Make sure, the Jaggery powder used is of good quality and is with no lumps. If Jaggery powder seems to be lumpy, powder it in a mixer jar before adding.
  • There is not any need to freeze the dough. These Nankhatais could be made as soon as the dough is prepared.
  • Do not over-knead the dough as it makes the cookie dense and hard. Be gentle with the dough to get the super crispy cookies.
  • Do not over-bake the cookies as they turn dry and rock hard.
  • Adding a little milk to the dough makes the cookie spread and attain the perfect texture. Adding more milk would spoil the cookies. Or you could completely skip the milk in the recipe.

Furthermore, the depicted batch yields 40 to 45 NANKHATAI which you can bake with and without oven. In the post, both Microwave baking and Stovetop baking is explained. The prepared healthy Nankhatai could be stored in an air-tight container for up to 10 days or more.

For other healthy cookies without all-purpose flour and white sugar, explore the following links:

⏲ Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Baking Time: 15 to 20 minutes per batch
🍴 Yields: 40 to 45 Healthy Nankhatai


An eggless, crispy & crunchy, healthy version of Nankhatai prepared with Whole Wheat flour, Jaggery powder and Butter.

What to Use? [1 cup=200 ml] 
  • Whole wheat flour - 1 cup
  • Chickpea/ Besan flour - 1/2 cup
  • Semolina - 1/4 cup
  • Jaggery powder - 1 cup
  • Melted butter - 1/3 cup
  • Ghee - 1/3 cup
  • Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Milk - 1 tbsp (optional)
  • Pistachios and Golden raisins - a few (for topping)
Steps Involved:    
  • Mix whole wheat flour, chickpea flour and semolina in a mixing bowl.
  • Add in the jaggery powder, cardamom powder and mix well.
  • Add in the melted butter, ghee and gently knead the dough.
  • Add a little milk and gather the dough.
  • Make a small ball, flatten it, press at the centre with the finger and place some pistachios & raisins.
  • Make all the cookies similarly and arrange in the baking tray.
  • Bake the cookies for 15 to 20 minutes on stovetop or oven. Keep an eye on the cookies while baking as the time varies a little for each oven. For stovetop, it took exactly 17 minutes for me. When the bottom of the cookies starts to showoff brown colour, take the cookies out.
  • Cool the cookies down and store in an air-tight container.
Visual Treat: 
 Video link for "Healthy NANKHATAI " post: 
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For comforting the easy understandability of the recipe, the step by step detailed procedure, along with the picture is shown below:

Step-by-Step Procedure with Pictures

How to Make?

  • Take a cup of whole wheat flour in a mixing bowl. 
  • Add in half a cup of chickpea flour to the same mixing bowl.
  • Add in a quarter cup of semolina to the same mixing bowl. Make sure the semolina is very fine. I have used Chiroti Rava for the recipe.
  • Add in a cup of Jaggery powder to the same mixing bowl. If the Jaggery powder seems lumpy, grind it in the mixer jar before adding.
  • Add the cardamom powder to the bowl. The cardamom powder enhances the flavour profile of the cookies.
  • Mix the flour mixture, Jaggery powder and the cardamom powder well with a spatula so that they mix very well.
  • Add in 1/3 cup of melted butter. If skipping ghee, use 2/3 cups of melted butter and mix. 
  • Add 1/3 cup of ghee to the flour mixture. Ghee enhances the flavour profile of the cookies and hence I suggest adding them.
  • Knead gently to gather the dough. Over kneading will make the cookies dense and hard.
  • Add a little milk and gather the dough. The milk helps in spreading the cookies giving the perfect structure and texture to the cookies. Adding too much of milk would make the cookies chewy.
  • The dough would look like this once you gather.
  • Start making small balls out of it.
  • Flatten the balls and press with the finger in the middle.
  • Top the cookies with Pistachios and golden raisins.
  • Arrange the Nankhatai in the greased baking tray or over the wax paper.
  • Bake the Nankhatai in the pre-heated oven for 18 to 20 minutes at 180-degree Celcius.
  • For Stovetop baking,  preheat sand or salt for 10 minutes on high flame.
  • Grease the baking tray with butter and spread some wheat flour over it.
  • Arrange all the cookies in the baking tray keeping them at a distance.
  • Bake the cookies for 15 to 18 minutes on medium flame or until the bottom showoff brownish colour.
  • Take all the Nankhatai out and let them cool on the wire rack.
  • Once cooled completely, they turn perfectly crisp and crunchy.  
  • Store healthy Nankhatai in a dry air-tight container for 10 days or more.

Visual Treat:

Video for " Healthy NANKHATAI "


  • Over-kneading the dough and Over-baking lead to dense and hard cookie.
  • Stick to the ratio properly for the perfectly crispy healthy Nankhatai.
  • Any chopped nuts can be used as the topping or you could skip them as well.

Crispy, Crunchy & Healthy Nankhatai!


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