Naan Khatai is a desi cookie, invented in our very own India. People can still fondly remember the simpler times when hawkers would bake them on coal heated pans. Some of our grandmothers or great grandmothers still reminisce about how they used to prepare these at home. This is because this simpleton cookie has been around for over 5 centuries! Even our forefathers have relished these at some point of history.
Why we call it Naan Khatai?
Naan Khatai has two different words ‘Naan’ and ‘Khatai’…Naan is derived from the Persian word which stands for flatbread where Khatai is an Afghan word for the biscuit. Biscuits have been a favourite snack in Iran and Afghanistan, where it’s called Kulcha-e-khataye. Kulcha too is a flatbread, like a naan.
Where Naan Khatai originated?
Nankhatai is believed to have originated around the sixteenth century in the city of Surat, Gujarat in Western India. During that time, there was a great deal of cultural and trade exchange occurring between the Dutch and the Indians. The food, textile and handicrafts trend shows a great deal of influence of both the culture. With the inundation of a large number of Dutch workers in the port city of Surat, Dutch couple discovered a business opportunity started operating bakery shops.
Accidental discovery and success of Naan Khatai.
After some time, when the Dutch left the nation, a Dutch couple sold the bakery to an Iranian, who began making biscuits and savoury rolls for nearby individuals in the city. Sadly, those rolls didn’t end up well liked by the locals due to the different palate preferences.
To recover from the loses, he began selling the dried bread used to make the rolls at low costs. The dried bread had an extraordinary, unique taste and became a hit among the local people. Encouraged by the response, rather than making biscuits and rolls, he began preparing dried bread for selling. As time went by, based on the customer preferences and periodic modifications, it became what we know today as the Naan Khatai.
With the modern fusion, today there are numerous versions of this delicacy available for consumption across the nation. At Sapra Biscuits, we have the Besan Naan Khatai, Mango Kaju Kahati and Chocolate Pista Kahati in addition to the classic Naan Khatai.
The humble yet delicious Nan Khatai is a tea time snack loved by people of all age group from kids to elders. In north India, if you venture out in the winding by lanes of Chandni Chowk, Old Delhi, you can spot hawkers selling freshly made Naan Khatai on their cart made in the traditional way, over coal pans.