This is not a new post. It is a post that I have issued last year and I promised to bake this for Chinese New Year. There are two recipes, the first recipes uses ghee entirely where as the second modified recipes uses a mixture of butter and ghee and some corn flour to better the shape of the cookies.
You can either use recipe 1 or recipe 2 and that very much depends on your needs. Personally, I preferred to have recipe 1 for home consumption whereas for gifts as friends or relatives, recipe 2 is preferred.
Looking at these cookies, how shall you describe them? Probably, you will reply that the cookies appear to be flat, thin, rusky, fragile and very light.
What can you infer from these characteristics? These characteristics just indicate to foodies that the cookies are buttery and melt in the mouth!
Yes, these cookies really melt in your mouth meaning you do not even need to use your teeth during your ingestion. You can just put one cookie in your mouth, your tongue and saliva (description a bit gross) will help you to do the job, it melts and send it directly down to your palate.
This is definitely not a trendy cookie and its ingredients are rather uncommon in Singapore and Malaysia’s pastry. It is a cookie with long history and it has a proper name called “NAN KHATAI” or “Indian Short Bread”. Ghee, a type of clarified butter was used instead of normal butter. Semolina flour were added to the cookies and therefore at times it is also called “sugee cookies” though the name ”sugee cookies” can be overly general.
I have had this recipe for years, meaning more than 10 years. I have never take a step out to prepare this cookie. I remember one of my brothers loved sugee cakes and sugee cookies and that is the reason why I have this recipe with me. Yesterday, I have decided to bake this cookie.
I managed to get this recipe when I searched for another cookie called “melting moments”. This cookie were also prepared using ghee, shape into a small ball and dusted with powdered icing sugar. It is one of my favorite Chinese New Year cookie. Years ago, when I searched for melting moments recipe, Nan Khatai’s recipes appeared. Immediately, I am attracted to this cookie because of its light yellowish color. Analyzing the ingredient, I knew it will be a very tasty recipe. I printed out and kept it until today. I am very happy that the recipe is still on the internet and you can locate the original recipe here.
GHEE AND SEMOLINA FLOUR
The two most unique ingredients for the recipe were ghee and semolina flour. Both ingredients were used abundantly in South Asia Continent’s cuisines. Ghee is a type of clarified butter with a slightly higher fat content. Ghee is no simple fat, for me, it smells much more aromatic than butter, in fact it is more expensive than butter. A 150 g tin of ghee will cost SGD3.50 whereas a 250 g of butter will cost only SGD3-4 depending on the brands.
In my humble opinion, if you have tasted ghee, you may not like butter or margarine. I would attribute that the “melt in your mouth” properties of this cookie is due to the usage of ghee. Though the original recipe called for butter but I have insisted of using ghee and I can immediately tell that butter would not be able to produce this light texture after I took my first bite. It will be good if readers can read more about ghee in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghee.
Malaysia and Singapore’s Eurasian communities like to use semolina flour in their pastry. One of the most famous Eurasian festival cake is sugee cake and semolina flour was used. You can get it rather easily in most supermarkets that sell various types of flours.
According to “The Food Encyclopedia” published by Robert Rose Inc. 2006, it was written:
“ Semolina – a coarsely ground durum wheat flour where the bran and germ have been sifted out, very light in colour and texture, used for making pasta, gnocchi, cereals, couscous, puddings and soups. From the Italian semolina, a diminutive of semola, meaning “bran”, and similia, meaning very fine wheat flour”
WHAT IS REQUIRED
Recipe adapted from: Nan Khatai by Diana Desserts (servings: about 50 pieces of 2-3 cm diameter cookies)
100 grams of self raising flour
100 grams of semolina flour
50 grams of ground almond/ almond flour/almond meal
75 grams of castor sugar
150 grams of ghee or butter *
1 egg beaten
half a teaspoon of vanilla essence (optional)
Adequate almond flakes or toasted whole almonds for the cookies.
* For taste and aroma, use ghee. For better shaping, use butter
STEPS OF PREPARATION
Pre-heat your oven to 185 degree Celsius.
Have 2 baking trays ready and line with parchment or baking paper.
In a big mixing bowl, beat the ghee and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, beat until well mixed.
Add in semolina flour and self raising flour, use hand to fold in or continue using machine to “stir” until well mixed.
Put your batter in a piping bag and pipe the batter in the baking tray of your desired size. Leave adequate space for expansion. Put some almond flakes or almond chunks or whole almonds on top of the pastry.
Baked in the oven at 185 degree Celsius for about 15 minutes.
Cool the cookies completely before store in an air tight container,
This is an extremely nice cookie and in my humble opinion, it is even better than the traditional English short bread that I have prepared earlier.
It is able to melt in the mouth because of ghee which is a clarified butter but with a slightly higher fat content. If you look at the flat cookies, you will know this is a hard core version using ghee (not butter or margarine) and it will be very light. In fact, I have weighed the cookies and one cookie weigh about 6 grams. This is extremely light!
If you Google Nan Khatai, if the shape of the Nan Khatai is flat and like what I have prepared in this post, it is definitely made with ghee. If it had a very nice shape and all are of the same size, the cookies are most likely to be made from butter. I am quite insistent that readers used ghee instead of butter.
This is the cookie I strongly recommend and if there is any cookie that I want to sell during Chinese New Year or other festivals, this will definitely my top priority.
UPDATED ON 4 JANUARY 2013
This is the second batch of nan khatai cookies I made on 4 January 2014 and made minor adjustments as highlighted in red as follows:
- 150 grams of self raising flour
50 grams of semolina flour
75 grams of castor sugar
- 50 grams of ground almond or almond meals
100 grams of ghee
50 grams of butter
2 teaspoon of corn flour
1 egg beaten
half a teaspoon of vanilla essence
Adequate almond flakes or whole almonds for the cookies.
OBJECTIVE ASSESSMENTS OF THE SECOND BATCH
For home consumption, it is still better to use the first recipe as it is more aromatic and really melt in the mouth. However, shape is compromised and it may break rather easily due to its light texture. However it is extremely delicious.
For gifts for friend or relatives, the second modified recipe is recommended as it is more presentable and the taste wouldn’t compromise much at all. But, a sincere advise is not to use whole almond or cashew nuts as the texture of the nuts does not blend well with the melt in the mouth texture. Almond flakes is still recommended.
This recipe was included in Page 10 and Page 11 of the following E-book.
For more Chinese New Year related cookies, snack and steamed cake recipes, you can have a copy of “Easy Chinese New Year Recipes – A step by step guide” that was packed with 30 recipes, 60 pages at a reasonable convenience fee of USD3.50. The recipes covered various recipes from auspicious radish cake to nian gao to traditional kuih bangkit to trendy London almond cookies. Of course not forgetting both type of pineapple tarts. You can purchase by clicking the link above. You can either pay using Pay Pal or Credit card account. Please ensure that you have an PDF reader like Acrobat or iBooks in your mobile phone or iPad if you intended to read it in your ipad or mobile phone. Should there be any problems of purchasing, feel free to contact me at email@example.com and separate arrangement can be made.
For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 26 November 2014) here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts. Also follow me at INSTAGRAM or TSU, a new social network for some more personal sharing other than recipes.
You can also join the FOOD BLOGGERS AND FOODIES UNITED FACEBOOK GROUP to see more recipes. Currently there are about 21,500 members sharing various food photos . I am posting my daily home cooked food in the above Facebook Group daily. I would be more than happy if you can post in the Group for the recipes that you tried from my blog.
If you are a Pinterest user and you are interested to have more recipes, you can join or follow this Pinterest Board set up by me where there are more than 2600 recipes worldwide and pinned by various bloggers: FOOD BLOGGERS AND FOODIES UNITED PINTEREST BOARD.
- Classic Zucchini Slices (夏南瓜切片小吃）
- Old Timer Delights: Soft Coconut Sweets or Candy (古早味椰子软糖）
- Teochew aka Chaozhou Sweet And Savoury Dumplings (潮汕双拼肉粽）
- Macadamia Pitted Dates (夏果椰枣）
- Vegetarian Nonya Rice Dumpling (娘惹素粽）
- Fried Dace With Fermented Black Beans (豆豉鲮鱼）
- Classic Baked Sweet Potatoes (烤地瓜）
- Cheesy Pumpkin Soup (芝士金瓜浓汤）
- Sambal Haebeehiam Glutinous Rice Dumpling aka Chilli Dried Shrimp Floss Dumpling (辣虾米鬆粽子）
- Cheesy Portobello Mushrooms With Bacons (奶酪培根烤波托贝罗蘑菇）
- Red Yeast Rice Residue Chicken aka Hong Zao Ji (酒香红糟鸡）
- Cheesy Baked Prawns (奶酪烤虾）
- Baked Chicken In Garlic Cheddar Sauces (蒜香芝士酱烤鸡）
- Chinese Gozabi Dessert: Flour Tea aka Mee Teh (古早味面茶）
- Fermented Black Soya Bean Minced Meat (豆豉炒肉末）
- Homemade Sour Mustard or Sour Vegetable (家居自制酸菜）
- Red Bean Alkaline Dumplings (红豆碱水粽）
- Vietnamese Baguette aka Bánh mì (越南法國麵包)
- Matcha Red Bean Steamed Cake (绿茶红豆蒸鸡蛋糕）
- Parmigiana Eggplant or Eggplant Lasagne: Parmigiana di Melanzane (焗烤千层茄子)
- July 2017 (1)
- June 2017 (1)
- May 2017 (8)
- April 2017 (9)
- March 2017 (16)
- February 2017 (18)
- January 2017 (13)
- December 2016 (13)
- November 2016 (24)
- October 2016 (19)
- September 2016 (19)
- August 2016 (22)
- July 2016 (27)
- June 2016 (14)
- May 2016 (25)
- April 2016 (23)
- March 2016 (27)
- February 2016 (24)
- January 2016 (20)
- December 2015 (18)
- November 2015 (18)
- October 2015 (23)
- September 2015 (20)
- August 2015 (17)
- July 2015 (19)
- June 2015 (16)
- May 2015 (18)
- April 2015 (23)
- March 2015 (26)
- February 2015 (12)
- January 2015 (14)
- December 2014 (23)
- November 2014 (24)
- October 2014 (26)
- September 2014 (27)
- August 2014 (27)
- July 2014 (28)
- June 2014 (24)
- May 2014 (20)
- April 2014 (21)
- March 2014 (23)
- February 2014 (20)
- January 2014 (19)
- December 2013 (24)
- November 2013 (25)
- October 2013 (27)
- September 2013 (16)
- August 2013 (37)
- July 2013 (36)
- June 2013 (25)
- May 2013 (88)
- April 2013 (30)
- March 2013 (1)
- 4,070,390 hits