Sahlia, MasterChef winner 2017, shares her recipe for biscuits. These are dangerously crumbly, sweet and full of crunchy toasted almonds. 

Khatai biscuits arranged on a plate

‘Khatai’ biscuits were a popular breakfast biscuit in my grandmother’s home.

They would arrive in cardboard boxes from the local bakery and were eaten with hot cups of sweet tea in the morning. They were always dangerously crumbly, sweet and full of crunchy toasted almonds. I can best describe them as a sort of Eastern almond shortbread. 


  • 110g ghee (clarified butter) 
  • 100g icing sugar 
  • 100g almonds
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 200g plain flour 
  • 1 ½ tablespoons gram flour 
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom powder 
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 level teaspoons baking powder
  • Salt 


  1. Place the almonds on a roasting tray and toast them in a 180 degree oven for around 10-12 minutes until they are a deep golden-brown colour. Allow the almonds to cool and then chop them up into small, irregular shaped pieces. 
  2. Take another bowl and add the plain flour, gram flour, cardamom powder, baking soda, bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of salt. Keep these dry ingredients aside. 
  3. Place the clarified butter in a large bowl and then place this bowl into the freezer for 15 minutes so that the ghee hardens slightly. Cream the icing sugar into the ghee until the mixture is pale yellow. 
  4. Now add the chopped toasted almonds and dry ingredients to the creamed ghee/sugar mixture together with one egg yolk. Bring the mixture together with very little ice-cold water. The whole mixture will be quite short. 
  5. Dust your surface with a little flour and roll out the mixture with a rolling pin until it is approximately 1cm thick. Use a round 5cm cutter to make around 15 biscuits. Use a palette knife to carefully lift the biscuits off the work surface and place them gently onto a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper. 
  6. Transfer the baking sheets to the fridge for at least 30 minutes to cool.
  7. Use a pastry brush to brush the remaining egg yolk over the surface of the biscuits. Bake at 150 degrees for around 30 minutes. Allow the biscuits to cool before serving with a mandatory cup of tea. 


Recipe by MasterChef winner Saliha Mahmood Ahmed, author of 'Khazana' - Best New Cookbook Observer Food Monthly Awards 2019. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter.

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