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Nankhatai – Lemony Pistachio Indian Shortbread

Nankhatai – Lemony Pistachio Indian Shortbread

Lemony Pistachio Shortbread or Nankhatai – A Crumbly Christmas Cookie

These shortbread, or Nankhatai as they are called in India, are buttery and melt-in-mouth crumbly cookies.
By Sanjeeta Kk

Lemony Pistachio Shortbread or Nankhatai – A Crumbly Christmas Cookie
Lemony Pistachio Shortbread or Nankhatai – A Crumbly Christmas Cookie

These shortbread or Nankhatai as we call them in India are buttery and melt-in-mouth crumbly cookies. The recipe is quite simple with just three main ingredients to go in it, flour, butter and sugar with all the three in almost equal proportion. I added Pistachio powder in the cookie dough and a few drops of lemon extract which gave a wonderful nutty taste with a delightful citrus flavor to them.

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Nankhatai – Lemony Pistachio Shortbread

  • Author: Sanjeeta kk
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 1x


A melt0in-mouth crumbly cookies or lemony pistachio Nankhatai


  • 1 cup All purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup semolina
  • ¼ cup fine Pistachio powder
  • ¾ cup or little less butter/ghee
  • 1 tbsp. yogurt/curd
  • 1 tbsp. coarse pistachio powder to garnish
  • A few saffron strands (optional)
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • A few drops of lemon extract or ¼ tsp. lemon zest


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C for 10 minutes.
  2. Add flour, semolina and pistachio powder in a large vessel and mix well.
  3. Take another vessel and add butter/ghee, powder sugar, baking powder and yogurt in it. Whisk all the ingredients for 10 minutes till the mixture is light and fluffy.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry flour mix, add lemon extract or lemon zest, saffron strands if using and knead all into smooth and soft dough.
  5. Take out small piece of dough and roll it into small balls, flatten it slightly and press a little of coarsely ground pistachio powder in the center.
  6. Make all the cookies in the similar way and arrange them in a baking tray leaving a little gap between each cookie.
  7. Bake the lemony shortbread at 180°C for about 15 minutes or till the sides start to turn golden. These goodies will be mostly white in color when fully baked.


If you wish to skip the yogurt in the recipe, increase the butter in it to form a soft dough.
While rolling the cookies you will find lots of cracks in it, ignore it if it does not hamper the baking process and retain the shape.
If you wish to make saffron Nankhatai, just dissolve a few strands of saffron in warm milk and add it to the dough.
Try a variation of orange Nankhatai using orange extract or orange zest.
Chickpea flour is also added to the flour mix to make Nankhatai, replace semolina with chickpea flour (besan).
These cookies stay good for many days and make a perfect gift option.

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins


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