"Nankhatai" A.K.A. Cardamom Short Bread (Vegan & Sugar Free)

These delicious cardamom flavoured shortbread biscuits are believed to have been introduced in India by the Britishers. Perfect to snack on or, dunk into a warm drink, traditionally use white flour, clarified butter & powdered sugar. My adaptation of this very famous recipe uses wholemeal flour, a dairy free spread and Xylitol. Many variations and substitutions in the type of flours and sweeteners used exist. The recipe is quite forgiving as long as the rough ratios of flour: sweetener: fat stay the same. Almond slivers, cashew or pistachio pieces are commonly used as decorative garnishing but have been left out in this version.

We need,

  • Wholemeal Self Raising Flour (substitute with gluten free blend in case of allergies)  – 1½ cups
  • Fine Chickpea/ Gram Flour (Besan, from the Indian store) – 2 tablespoons
  • Powdered Xylitol – ¾ cup
  • Green Cardamom Seeds, roasted and finely powdered – 1 teaspoon
  • Dairy Free Spread (I used plain Nuttelex) – ¾ cup


  1. Preheat the oven to to 180º Celsius and line a flat tray with baking paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix the flours, xylitol and cardamom powder.
  3. Rub the non diary spread into the dry mixture till the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
  4. Knead into a smooth dough for a few minutes.
  5. Take 1 tablespoonful of the dough and roll into smooth round balls.
  6. Place these on the prepared tray.
  7. Bake on a fan forced setting for 15 – 18 minutes. The bottom of the biscuits should look golden.
  8. Remove the tray from the oven and let the cookies cool on the tray for atleast half an hour.
  9. Store in  airtight box once cooled.


These shortbread are very moreish and don’t last long. Enjoy!


I am an enthusiastic plant based home cook and baker who delights in sharing my creations on unsuspecting non vegans, when they least expect it! When not recipe developing, testing or making, I’m found organising and/ or writing, the two other passions of my life ❤️