This tea-time snack is a cross between a crumbly biscuit/cookie and cake, a good nankhatai is one that crumbles on the tongue, sweet but not too sweet.  This recipe has been handed down from our mum’s, their mums and their mums!   I remember the simplicity, 5 items each of equal proportion!!  Mostly in Kenya the ladies made bulk snacks, so a group of 4 – 7 would congregate at our house and make a stash of nankhatai, chevda, eggless biscuits etc., and the next day or a few days later they would repeat the process at another home.  Was lovely, they came, they laughed, they cooked, they ate and were home before we returned from schools or hubbys returned from work.


  • 1 cup fine semolina- sooji (if you only have the course one, pulse it in an electric grinder)
  • 1 cup gram flour – baisen
  • 1 cup caster sugar (or pulse normal sugar in an electric grinder)
  • 1 cup plain white flour
  • 1 cup ghee – clarified butter – at room temperature


  1. Switch on oven to GM5-6/200degrees
  2. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl; add the ghee a little at a time, using your hands make into a rough ball.
  3. or place all dry ingredients in the bowl of your blender/mixer, puls 3 to 4 times, then start adding the ghee and pulse until the ghee mixes in, mixture will be a bit flaky at this stage. Remove into a bowl and mix well with your hands. 
  4. Break off a 2inch piece of dough, roll in the palm of your hands, slightly flatten in the middle and place on a greased lined baking tray. Keep space between them as they will expand during the cooking process.
  5. Add further pieces until all of the dough is used up. 
  6. Using a knife make a criss/cross on top of each flattened ball, or add a dot of jam.
  7. Now place the tray in the oven and bake for 20 mins, they should be a light brown in colour, check and see if further cooking is required or remove tray. 
  8. Cool for 10 mins and gently remove into a plate to be served with a masala tea! Any leftovers must be stored in an airtight container.

Criss Cross

Partly Cooked


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About Me

I am Sabiha Khokhar, born in Kenya now living in London – a busy working mother, wife, published author and passionate cook. Despite having many interests in life, my greatest joy is FOOD!

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