Nan Katai

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


Appears in

The Settler's Cookbook

By Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

Published 2009

  • About


  • 6 oz melted butter
  • 1 very large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 7 oz plain flour
  • 4 oz caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp cardamom powder
  • 2 oz semolina
  • Some strands of best saffron, infused in 2 tbsp hot water


  • Beat the sugar into the melted butter, then add the egg and vanilla.
  • Beat in the flour, semolina, baking powder and cardamom, then, using your hands, knead the dough. It should be soft but not sticky.
  • Grease a flat baking tray.
  • Break off small pieces and roll them into balls.
  • Flatten the top, then indent it with a finger like a dimple.
  • Place them on the tray, not too close.
  • Now colour the indentation with the saffron water, an orange spot in the middle, like a tikka on a married Hindu woman’s forehead (I am sure that is what inspired this strange ritual).
  • Bake at a medium temperature (350°F, 180°C, gas mark 4) until they are still pale but cooked, the colour of shortbread.