Khara is spice and the spice in this recipe is green chili and fresh cilantro/kotmir compliments it well. Slightly burnt chilies and cilantro gave these cookies an amazing taste. Play around with the spices & herbs to suite your palate.
About the recipe
Iyengar bakery is one the popular bakeries in South Indian city of Bangalore. One of their popular bakes is this khara biscuit. Blogging friend Champa shared this recipe sometime back and I am hooked to these savory biscuits. It is a keeper recipe.
Recipe is quite simple and easy. Rub some creamy butter sugar yogurt mixture into flour, season it with herbs and spices. Roll the dough into ¼” thick and cut into small biscuits using a cookie cutter. Bake for 15 minutes and a great teatime snack is ready.
Both fresh and dry herbs work great in this recipe. Sometimes I replace green chilies with pepper flakes and dry parsley. Black pepper is another option to try though I have not tried it.
- All-Purpose Flour – Measure using a cup or a weighing scale. For most bakes I prefer using a scale as I ended up with different weight of flour each time I measure flour using a cup. For this recipe, 1 cup = 128 grams of flour.
- Salt & Sugar – Though these are savory cookies, sugar balances the spice very well and do not skip it.
- Butter – Bring unsalted butter to room temperature, leave it out for 15-30 minutes. If you are pressed for time, go ahead with the preparation. If using salted butter, skip salt from the recipe.
- Yogurt – This dough is going to be stiff and adjust yogurt depending on the stiffness of the dough.
- Herbs & Spices – Chopped green chilies and cilantro is what I usually use. Sometimes I substitute green chilies with pepper flakes and dry parsley or curry leaves. Mint is a good Indian herb to use. You can try black pepper powder, rosemary and parsley.
Sift together salt and flour. Keep aside. In a big bowl, cream together sugar and butter, about 2-3 minutes with a hand held mixer (image #1 in the collage). Add yogurt and beat until it mixes into the butter.
Gradually add flour (image #2) and beat on low speed until flour mixes into butter yogurt mixture. At some point, you will need to use your hands and the handheld mixer will not do the job (image #3).
With your fingers, gently bring together the flour. Add chilies and cilantro (image# 4), and gently work with your fingers to bring the dough together (image #5, below collage). The dough will be crumbly and stiff. If necessary, add some yogurt. Mind you, the dough is supposed to be crumbly and stiff.
Divide the dough into two (image #6) and roll each portion of the dough into ¼” thickness (image #7) and cut into discs using a cookie cutter (image #8). Collect the scapes, roll it again and cut into discs. Repeat until you do not have enough scapes to roll out.
Transfer the discs into a parchment line baking sheet and bake on a middle rack in a preheated oven for 18-20 minutes. Mine were done in 18 minutes. Cookies will not turn brown but the bottom will be golden brown. Cool on a cooling rack.
Storage & Serving
Once cool, store in an air tight container. Serve these as a snack between meals, evening during tea time or even as a starter at parties. These stay fresh for at least 3-4 days in an airtight container and never lasted longer than that.
Tips & Variations
- Use spices and herbs of your choice. For this recipe, 1 tbsp of chili flakes, 1 tsp of dry herbs of your choice will work well. When using fresh herbs use 1 – 1 ½ tbsp of chopped herbs. If using mint, go easy on it. Curry leaves are a good choice for Indian flavor.
- For non Indian flavor, try black pepper or chili flakes with rosemary or parsley.
- Dough will be stiff and crumbly. That is fine. If the dough is very dry and stiff, add little yogurt to bring it together. Be gentle with the dough and use your fingers to bring it together.
- When you roll the dough, edges will be rough. That is ok.
- Temperatures of ovens varies from oven to oven. First time you bake the cookies, use the baking time as a guide to figure out the correct bake time in your oven.
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Detailed, Printable Recipe
Iyengar Bakery Khara Biscuits ~ Savory Shortbread Cookies
- 128 grams All Purpose Flour, that is 1 measuring cup
- 3 tbsp Butter, softened
- 2 tsp Sugar
- ½ tsp Salt
- 3 small Green Chilies, chopped adjust to taste
- 1 – 1 ½ tbsp chopped Cilantro
- 1 – 1 ½ tbsp Yogurt (start with 1 tbsp and use more if required. I use 1 ½ tbsp)
- Preheat the oven 325 F (160 C).
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or with aluminum foil. If using aluminum foil, lightly greased with vegetable oil or cooking spray.
- In a bowl sift together flour, salt and keep aside.
- In another bowl, cream together butter and sugar with a handheld beater or a mixer till creamy, about 2 – 3 minutes.
- Add yogurt and continue to beat until it mixes into butter.
- Gradually add flour and beat slowly until combined. You may not be able to combine all the flour with the beater and do not hesitate to use your hands. Do not apply too much pressure though. Work gently with your fingers.
- Add chopped chilies, cilantro and more yogurt if necessary and combine to form dough. Dough will be crumbly and not wet at all.
- Divide the dough into two and roll each portion of the dough into ¼” thickness. It was easier for me to work with 2 smaller dough portions than one.
- The edges of the rolled dough will be rough and that is ok.
- Cut into discs using a cookie cutter. Depending the size of the cookie cutter and how thick/thin you roll the dough, this recipe yields 8-12 cookies.
- Collect the scapes, form a ball, roll it again and cut into more discs. Repeat it until you do not have enough scapes to roll out.
- Transfer cookies/discs on to the prepared cookie/baking sheet and bake for 18-20 minutes. Turn the tray around halfway into baking. Mine were done in 18 minutes.
- Cookies will not turn brown on the top but bottom will be golden brown when baked. Cookies might feel soft when removed from the oven but will continue to bake and firm up as they cool.
- Cool on a cooling rack and store in an airtight container. Serve as a hors d’oeuvres at a party or as an evening snack.
- Spices & Herbs – Use spices and herbs of your choice. For this recipe, 1 tbsp of chili flakes, 1 tsp of dry herbs of your choice work well. When using fresh herbs use 1 – 1 ½ tbsp of chopped herbs. If using mint, go easy on it. Curry leaves are a good choice for Indian flavor.
- Non Indian Flavor – For non Indian flavor, try black pepper or chili flakes with rosemary or parsley.
- Bake Time – Temperature of an oven varies from oven to oven. First time you bake the cookies, use the baking time as a guide to figure out the correct bake time in your oven.
- Number of Cookies – for this recipe, you get 8-12 cookies depending on the size of the cookie and the thickness.
- Nutrition – Values mentioned are approximate values.
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This post was originally published in April 2015 as part of a Baking Marathon. Post is updated with new content and a few new images. You can check the other entries from that marathon by clicking the below button.