I love dunking biscuits in tea but I get a bit sick of sweet biscuits, so these Indian khara biscuits are perfect for a savoury dunking experience. Indian vegetarians don’t eat eggs – their baked goods tend to be ‘eggless’ but not vegan, as dairy is used. Some Indian cooks use vegetable shortening in these biscuits – which makes them crispier – but I’m not a big fan of shortening. If you want a vegan version, I would suggest using a light olive oil instead of butter.
These are a great afternoon tea snack and particularly good when paired with spiced sweet chai. They’re simple to make, keep well in a tin for up to a week, and are incredibly difficult to stop eating. You can mix and match the spices and herbs a bit: some recipes use whole cumin seeds but I prefer the tart, savouriness of ajwain seeds. If you don’t have green chilli on hand, you could substitute black pepper but I do love the green flecks of coriander and green chilli in these shortbreads.
Adapted from Red Chilli
- 1½ cups of plain flour
- 115 grams (1 stick) of butter (cut into cubes and softened)
- 1–2 tablespoons of finely chopped green chilli, coriander and curry leaves
- ¾ teaspoon of ajwain seeds or cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1–2 teaspoons of thick yoghurt
- Oil for brushing on shortbreads
- Preheat oven to 160°C (320°F).
- Line two baking sheets with baking paper.
- Sift or whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Add ajwain seeds and stir through.
- Rub butter through flour, then mix through finely chopped herbs and green chilli.
- Gradually add yoghurt a teaspoon at a time and gently knead the mixture together until it coheres into a stiff dough.
- Roll out dough until about 3 mm thick. Cut into desired shapes, place on baking sheets, prick shortbreads with a fork and brush tops with oil.
- Bake in oven for 10–15 minutes until lightly golden around the edges. Be careful not to overcook the shortbreads.
- Remove shortbread from trays and allow to cool on racks.