Today marks a very special day in the Hindu calender, Diwali. Diwali is known as the festival of lights, and is a wonderful time of year for Hindu families. Little lamps are lit in homes to usher in good fortune and happiness in the Hindu new year. Vast amounts of sumptuous food is enjoyed as part of the celebrations, including an array of sweets!
Nan Khatai is a simple little sweet one often sees around this time of year in Indian homes. I have tasted many, and tried many recipes. However, this recipe is one I have come up with myself after a good bit of tweaking and now stick to year in and year out. I love the balance of flavours, and I love the tenderness of the crumb in these delightful (and addictive) little biscuits.
Although simple, there are a couple of things key to ensuring perfection in making nan khatai. First, only use freshly ground cardamom - pre-packaged cardamom powder doesn't even come close to the beautiful aroma of freshly ground cardamom. It is the most exquisite scent! Secondly, don't overwork the dough. Last but certainly not least, let the dough rest. Really, it is much like making pastry. If you overwork the dough and fail to let it rest, you will end up with a very tough final product.
An original Diary of a Ladybird recipe
90g salted butter
35g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
1/2 teaspooon freshly ground cardamom
150g plain flour
45g white rice flour
1. Using an electric mixer, cream the butters, sugar and cardamom until pale and creamy.
2. Mix in combined flour until just combined, then tip out mixture onto a clean work surface. Squeeze together and shape into a disc, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Remove dough from the fridge and take teaspoon amounts of the dough and roll into balls and set aside. I keep in a spare plastic container with a lid. Refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes.
4. Place spaced apart on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake in a preheated oven at 160 degrees celsius. Bake for around 15 minutes or until just lightly golden.
And so to those of you celebrating, I wish you all a very happy Diwali! I hope you enjoy this recipe :)