Pumpkin Nakhatai

A delectably unique take on the traditional Nankhatai.

In the last 5 years Birmingham is the first town in which Maddy and I have settled in for more than a year. With that kind of stability you get a few more friends than you are used to (CHUCKLES!!). The moment these very friends realize you are a decent cook then you are pretty much toast because you are cooking and entertaining pretty much every week. On the flip-side I have a bunch of guinea pigs for testing my new recipes like this baked “Pumpkin Nankhatai” which is a twist on the traditional nankhatai commonly found in India.

First of all let me clarify that the Birmingham I mentioned is not the one that a majority of y’all are familiar with i.e. the one in the UK. The city I am talking about is actually in the good ol US of A. Surprisingly for such a small city it’s got a lot of Indians which means we have a decent number of friends. The problem as I mentioned above is that a lot of them know I can cook a decent meal. So I need to come up with a something new most of the time. The taco party I had for lunch one day was a hit and so was the idea for a chaat party.

This time when we invited over a friend and her daughter I decided to do something that I haven’t done before and that is BAKE. For some odd reason that I can’t fathom I had a can of pumpkin puree in my fridge. That gave me the inspiration for a dessert recipe. But the question was which one??? I started going through the usual suspects i.e. carrot pudding, gulab jamun, rasmalai etc trying to think of some way or the other to give these recipes a twist. But it was of no use.

Then it hit me… Pumpkin goes well in a cookie so the recipe that I decided to tweak was an Indian style cookie called the nankhatai and decided to make Pumpkin Nankhatai. Traditionally this cookie is a little harder in consistency than normal and served with your evening cup of joe. I honestly had no idea how the addition of pumpkin puree was going to turn out but I decided to go ahead any way.

All I did was to mix all the ingredients together and bake it. The dough however turned out to be a little soft which is why I had to let it chill in the refrigerator for a half hour. It was the final product which surprised me a little. The final cookie/nankhatai turned out to be softer compared to the traditional nankhatai. I suspect the culprit for that is the high amount of liquid in the recipe. The end result would have been different if I had just used pumpkin spice instead.

But the good thing was that the flavors turned out to be fantastic. The concentrated pumpkin puree meant the pumpkin flavor permeated throughout the cookie making it the ultimate star of the dish. A touch of cinnamon gave it an earthy flavor while the ghee added an Indianness (dunno if that’s a word but y’all get the point) to the recipe. 

I liked the way the recipe turned out but y’all can manipulate it according to your tastes…

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Pumpkin Nankhatai

A delectably unique take on the traditional Nankhatai.

Ingredients

  • 8 tbsp Pumpkin Puree
  • cup All Purpose flour
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • ½ cup Ghee/clarified butter
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon powder
  • ½ tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • Pinch of Salt

Instructions

  • Whisk the ghee and sugar in a bowl.
  • Add pumpkin puree and mix until smooth. Set aside.
  • Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon powder and salt in a large bowl.
  • Fold in wet ingredients into the dry ingredients with a spatula. The dough will be very soft. Cover the dough with cling wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350°Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Roll the dough into balls. Flatten each ball slightly with your hands. Make a cross design on top with a knife. Press crushed pistachio in the center.
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until the edges appear set .
  • Remove from the oven and let it cool completely.
  • Store in an airtight container & enjoy.

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