Whole Wheat Pistachio Cookies / Pista Nankhatai

Pista nankhatai, Pistachio cookies, easy nankhatai recipe, pista flavoured Indian shortbread, rakshaBandhan special recipes, Indian cookies recipes


Pistachio cookies or Pista Nankhatai (Indian short breads), a delicious way of celebrating the special bond of brother-sister on Rakshabandhan! These cookies delicious yet healthy, made of whole wheat flour and homemade white butter. In search of a good nankhatai recipe for this Rakshabandhan, I remembered an almost-forgotten, roughly jotted down recipe given by my aunt-in-law. She often used  1/2 cup of homemade ghee and half cup of sugar for each cup of flour to make delicious nankhatais for her kids. Here I  tried to flavour it with pistas, replaced  refined flour with whole wheat flour and got equally aromatic and delicious nutty cookies.The other options to modify these cookies would be use almonds/ cashews or just keep them plain with a hint of cardamom flavour.

The store brought nankhatais would often give me an after taste of vanaspati/dalda (margarine). My white butter yield with ghar ki malai ( fresh cream collected at home ) ended my search for unsalted butter, not to mention the buttery flavour it adds to the bakes! 

Recipe for Pista nankhatai / Pistachio cookies ( yields around 16-18 no. medium sized cookies)

  • Whole wheat flour (atta) – ¾ cup
  • Custard powder- ¼ cup
  • Baking soda- ½ teaspoon
  • Granulated sugar- ½ cup
  • Butter ( unsalted)- ½ cup ( read note)
  • Pistachios – ¼ cup
  • White Cardamom- 2 pods
  • Milk – 2 to 3 teaspoons
  • Green food colour ( I used gel colour)- a tiny streak (optional)

Note: I used homemade white butter which has lot of moisture, hence used more than ½ cup, that is around ¾ cup. You can also use ½ cup of store brought salted butter ( in that case the cookies will have a slight salty after taste which is fine) or even ghee.


  • Dry roast pistachios, reserve one tablespoon for garnishing. In a mixer jar blend granulated sugar , cardamom and pistachios to a coarse powder.
  • Add all the dry ingredients- flour, custard powder, baking powder, sugar-pistachio powder in a bowl. With a whisk mix well. ( You can also replace whole wheat flour with all purpose flour/ maida)
  • Add butter ( at room temperature), mix well. You can add green food colour at this stage.
  • Add few teaspoons of milk to make it into a tight dough.
  • Take small spoonful of dough, make roundels, slightly flatten between palms.
  • Chop the remaining pistachios, press a small pinch of pista onto the flattened roundels.
  • Bake in a pre heated oven at 180 degrees, for 12-14 minutes, till slightly browned.
  • Cool them on a wire rack, store in air tight jar.

Check out my last year’s post on Raksha Bandhan – Tooty frooty cookies/ Karachi Bakery style cookies

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Hi , I’am Neelima and welcome to my space!! I’am a full time practicing dentist. Cooking had always been my passion, and baking which had started as a fascination is now crossing over to be an obsession.

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