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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Nānkhatāi - Diwali - Pink Saturday









From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...All of today's pictures are linked to Diwali, the Hindu holiday that celebrates the return of Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity. The holiday is much like our Christmas with odd bits of Independence Day and Halloween thrown in. Please understand, I mean no disrespect. Lanterns are lit, families gather and gifts are exchanged during this joyous celebration of light. Firecrackers are used to frighten away evil spirits that might threaten the return of the goddess and children go door to door seeking a reward for the entertainment they provide. The cookie, called a Nānkhatāi, is an eggless shortbread that has a sandy texture. It is sold during the holiday by street vendors who specialize in sweetmeats and other treats. The pigeon is another story. The bird is not a mutant. He is one of many that have been tinted for Diwali. Why? I'm clueless and have been unable to find anyone who can give me a sensible answer. The design being created on the street outside the fence is called a rangoli and it's meant to welcome visiting deities. It, and thousands like it in other Hindu homes, will be lit at night with myriad small lanterns that will give streets the appearance of being swarmed by fireflies or glow worms. It is quite a sight. While I was able to sample most of the foods associated with Diwali, I missed these cookies and wanted to try them once I returned home. I made them today and I must say I'm not thrilled with the results. The cookie is fine, but, with so much good shortbread around, it merits only a lukewarm review. I decided to post it with reservations because it is a Indian dessert and I wanted to conclude my tour of India with something sweet. I'll let you be the judge of its merits. Here's the recipe.

Nānkhatāis...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Culinary Annonations

Ingredients:

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup refrigerated ghee (clarified butter) or unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (maida)
1/2 cup semolina flour (rava)
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom [or 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg]
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons chopped nuts for topping

Directions:
1) Line a cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F.
2) Sift confectioners' sugar into a mixing bowl. Add refrigerated ghee/butter and cream mixture until fluffy. Add vanilla and mix to incorporate.
3) Sift flour, semolina and baking powder into another bowl. Whisk in cardomom. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture in two parts. Once a cookie dough forms, transfer it to a cold working surface and knead a few times. Break dough into 20 equal-sized portions and shape into flattened rounds. Make a thumb impression in center of each and press in a few pieces of nuts.
4) Bake cookies for about 20 to 25 minutes. Check at 20 minute interval to ensure that cookies do not brown or develop any deep color. Be aware that these cookies will crack slightly. That is as it should be. Cool on wire racks. Store airtight. Yield: 18 to 20 cookies.

You might also enjoy these recipes:
Semolina and Almond Salwa - eCurry
Gulab Jamun - Phem Fatale
Strawberry Busundi - Food Lyrics
Milk Cake - The Vegetarian Way
Pumpkin Kulfi - Eggless Cooking
Rasmalai - The Inner Gourmet

This post is being linked to:
Pink Saturday, sponsored by Beverly at How Sweet the Sound.

38 comments :

Ginny said...

Well, even if they aren't the greatest, the cookies look really good in the picture! So the bird is dyed, I wonder if this kills or makes it sick later? Lakshmi, that is Padma from Top Chef's last name!

My Little Space said...

Bookmarked this for later use! And thanks for sharing such lovely recipe. Isn't it fun spending the Diwali in India! ^_^
Blessings, Kristy

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

I love shortbread so I think I will give this a miss! Lovely photos. Take care. Diane

Jagruti જાગૃતિ said...

Hello Mary..nice to see on your blog Diwali post...and nankhatai recipe...my altime faviourte ,,looks so wonderful..I've posted on my blog too this recipe!

EliFla said...

Thanks for explaining to us the meaning of Diwali....and even for sharing this recipe...have a very nice weekend!!Hugs , Flavia

Rita said...

Kove that you share so much thta you learned while on you excursion. Great looking cookies.

Susie Jefferson said...

I doubt I'd ever make them, but they certainly LOOK great! Living in West London, we have a massive Indian and Pakistani population so Diwali is celebrated big style. Plus we have Bonfire Night (it was the same day this year) so as you can imagine, the fireworks were something out of this world! We were hanging out the window for hours, looking up at the sky.

How fabulous to have Been There - I've always wanted to visit.

Happy Pink Saturday!

From the Kitchen said...

The dyed pigeon makes a striking photograph. It brings to mind little dyed chicks that used to, and maybe still do, abound here at Easter. I think I'll just keep to my shortbread recipe. In fact, I wish I had some to go with my coffee and interesting visit with you this morning.

Best,
Bonnie

Jeannie said...

It's the season to start collecting cookies recipes! Those cookies looked good even though you are not very excited about it! You experienced Diwali in India! Must be fun!

Joanne said...

I ate far too many diwali treats this year since my roommate is Indian but none of these cookies! I shall have to make them and then maybe we can have a SECOND diwali!

Brenda said...

Mary, I've so enjoyed reading your posts from your magnificent journey. And your pictures!!! I hope one day to be so lucky. Thank you so much for sharing.

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

I'm loving these exotic recipes! I have a softspot for shortbread (particularly as we ease into this Christmas season) and so I don't think I can ever be lukewarm towards a recipe similar to it

Tasha said...

I've loved reading about your adventures and the recipes that you discovered. These pictures are, as always, beautiful and I enjoyed learning about Diwali. It sounds so festive!

Barbara said...

When I was a child, I remember they dyed baby chicks different colors for Easter. Makes me cringe when I think about it.

Liked hearing about the Hindu holiday, Mary, and the cookies. I've never baked with semolina flour; wonder if I'd like that texture. Was it then flavor or texture you didn't care for?

PeggyR said...

Those sound yummy!

kitchen flavours said...

Your cookies looks lovely. Diwali in India must be really beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

Pondside said...

I love the flavours of cardamom and nutmeg. These cookies sound a little bit like a Lebanese cookie called mamoul that is often stuffed with date.

Lucie said...

How lucky you were to be there for the celebration! The cookies sound great--cardamom is a wonderful addition with a cup of tea!

The Words Crafter said...

I've missed being here! These photos are wonderful and the cultural information is, as always, fascinating!

StephenC said...

Your wonderful adventure never seems to flag. I don't make cookies, but enjoy your travelogue anyway.

viridian said...

Thanks for sharing.
Happy Pink Saturday!
http://viridianpostcard.blogspot.com/

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

The cookies look beautiful. Sorry you found them to be a bit disappointing... Thanks for sharing a bit about Diwali with us.

Elsa said...

I love the pictures and the details of the holiday. The cookies are gorgeous as well.

Buttercup said...

I love this post. I was in India for Diwali five years ago and enjoyed being part of the celebration.

JG said...

I have enjoyed reading about your travels. The recipes and photos are fascinating! Thanks you for sharing, Mary!

The cookies look so good with the topping.

Judy said...

Your photos are exquisite and your post very informative. I am interested in Indian culture and food and enjoyed reading this.

aipi said...

Nankhatais look perfect..buttery n melt in mouth kind..my family favorite!

US Masala

Biren @ Roti n Rice said...

The cookies do look good even if they are not the best tasting. Thanks for sharing all your lovely pictures on India :)

Shivani said...

Hi Mary, it seems you have enjoyed your India vacation in Diwali festival. The photos are too good. Nankatai, perfect bite with a cup of tea or coffee.

♥Sugar♥Plum♥Fairy♥ said...

Wow, Mary , u learned so muc about India , there is stuff i dont even know about and u do!!
AM sorry u didn like the Nankhatai's but they look good!!
The nankhatai's found in Goa are really good , they are powdery , yet hold together and totally melt in ur mouth!
A traditional recipe, as far as my knowledge goes , doesnt have the semolina, i know that a few do , but i love the one without!
I plan to begin posting goan recipes after the holidays and this one is definately on the line:-)

BelladonnasJoy said...

Love the pink pigeon, very pretty!

♥ Kathy said...

The cookies look delicious but I'm fascinated by the pigeon. I've just spent about 30 minutes trying to find out why they did that but couldn't come up with a real answer. It's beautiful though!

Maggie said...

Absolutely wonderful!

Sorry for the late visit- I think of busy Saturdays as a "Pink Weekend" since it takes me that long to visit everyone!

Happy belated PS!

In shoes we trust,
Maggie Mae@
"Do these shoes match this purse?"

Monet said...

Thank you for providing us more beautiful pictures...and more history/culture. Even better? A wonderful sweet treat to make at home. Your posts over the past few weeks have been so special! Thank you for sharing your adventures with us.

Sushma Mallya said...

one of my fav,and you have done it so beautifully...

Sweet and Savory said...

Mary, I love your photos and the inforation, you shared with us. I learn something, each time, I visit here.

Faith said...

Thanks for sharing more on Diwali, Mary! The cookies are lovely, what a wonderful celebratory food!

Three-Cookies said...

I have never heard of this cookie before. I have made polenta cookies similar to shortread and they are really addictive, but not short. I add little bit of golden syrup for extra crunch and flavour. You say your cookies were not short. I am wondering whether its because of butter. Ghee is 100% fat and butter is 80% fat, 20% butter.

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