Persian Chickpea Flour Cookies (Nan-e Nokhodchi)
Sweets made with besan have always been my favorite. So when I encountered this cookie a few years ago, during spring at a specialty store featuring chickpea flour, I was thrilled. I was even more excited by seeing the ingredients, they were similar to what we use in making Besan ladoo and Besan burfi. The recipe was so much easier. Since then, I have been making these cookies every Baisakhi. These chickpea flour cookies with pistachios are melt in mouth Persian treat, traditionally known as Nan-e Nokhodchi.
These one bite cookies are extremely fragrant, buttery yet light. I always eat a handful of them before they are fully cooled. They’re just too irresistible. The recipe is simple, but the technique is key. I’ll break everything down below, so read on.
This recipe calls for chickpea flour, not the raw chickpea flour but roasted. You must be able to find roasted chickpea flour in any Middle Eastern grocery store. If not, you can roast the flour at home. I shared the method in my mirchi pakora post , when I mentioned I use roasted gram flour for making cookies and to thicken soups and curries. If you haven’t read, don’t worry, I ‘ll write it again. Because the dough must be very smooth and fine textured, the flour is sifted three times before being combined with the fat, sugar and aromatics. I highly suggest to use ghee (clarified butter) as it gives these cookies a nuttier and more intense rich flavor. You could always make it with only oil too but the taste and texture will not be the same. There is no need to melt the ghee; in fact it works better if not.
Some recipes will say to add all-purpose flour or egg to bind the dough. But I used 100% besan/Gram flour (that’s why they are a bit yellow). The icing sugar contains corn starch, it facilitates the kneading process and also contributes to the tenderness. When the flour is added and mixed in the whipped ghee or butter the mixture has to be crumbly. You achieve a soft dough only after kneading it for about 5 – 7 minutes. Then shape the dough into a ball, wrap it with plastic and rest for at least 1 hour (to harden a bit) or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
After chilling the dough, do not flatten or roll at once. The ghee gets very brittle when cold. This means that if you try to roll cold fridge dough, it will crack and crumble. To avoid this problem, allow the dough to warm up slightly before you roll it out. Warming time depends for how long you chilled. I usually keep it for about an hour just so that its easier to roll and cut. Before rolling out your cookies, sprinkle the counter lightly with tapioca starch or rice flour. Roll out the dough into a thickness of about a 1/2 – 3/4-cm. And cut with your favorite cutter(s)! These cookies are very fragile so use small and simple shaped cookie cutters. Dip the cookie cutter into rice/tapioca flour to prevent it from sticking to the dough.
Carefully cut the cookie with cutter and drop it onto the cookie sheet ( sometime you may have to tap with your finger on the cutter to push the cookie out). You don’t have to use parchment paper or no-stick cooking spray. Make sure to space the cookies at least one inch apart. They won’t spread but it’s just easier to lift the cookie with spatula without knocking the others. Bake the cookies in a preheated 300°F oven until bottoms and sides are golden, for about 20 -30 minutes.
Make these petite cookies to celebrate the joyful and festive occasion of upcoming Baisakhi or for your kid’s, (or an adult’s) party . They’d be gone in seconds!
These cookies freeze beautifully!😉
Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Melt in mouth petite Persian cookies with cardamom and rose water.
- 3/4 cup icing sugar
- 1/2 cup desi ghee
- 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
- 1 tsp rose water(optional)
- 2 cups roasted besan / gram flour
- 3 tbsp. ground pistachios for garnish
- Tapioca or rice flour for dusting
- To roast sift besan or chickpea flour in a heavy bottomed pan. Cook, stirring continuously on medium heat, until it begins to turn a light tan color and smells nutty. Remove from heat and continue stirring for another minute or two to prevent scorching (the pan will still be hot). Let cool to room temperature and store in an airtight container.
- Combine the ghee, cardamom powder, rose water(if using) and icing sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl using hand mixer.
- Whisk on medium for 2-3 minutes until light and creamy.
- Sift roasted gram flour into the bowl and beat on low.
- Transfer the crumbly mixture in a bowl and knead it into a dough, until it is soft and pliable for 5-7 minutes (if the dough is falling apart and not binding add a tsp of ghee or oil).
- Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and set in refrigerator for 1 hour to harden. (you can leave it for up to 24 hours).
- Preheat oven to 300 F.
- Roll out the dough on a dusted work surface with plastic wrap on top, until it is ¾-1 cm thick. Cut out cookies using a 1-inch cookie cutter and place the cookies on the baking tray, spaced 1 inch apart (be careful the cookies are fragile at this point). Re-roll and repeat until all the dough is used up.If you do not have a small cookie cutter, roll dough into small 1" balls and flatten the cookie into a disc and place on baking tray.
- Garnish with chopped pistachios on top of each cookie (press lightly with your finger).
- Place cooking tray in middle rack and bake for 20-30 minutes, until the cookies turn a light golden color.
- Remove cookies from oven and let it cool on tray completely before transferring into an airtight container.