Salt Biscuits/Cookies From Hyderabad, India: Authentic Cookie From Land of Nizam

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Irani cafes are the most famous for serving thousands of people every day in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad, in state of Andhra Pradesh, India. Both old and newest part of cities is famous for its Irani tea and its cookies / biscuits. Most predominantly you can see people sipping tea and enjoying the biscuits by dipping it in their tea and having it. It may happen between routine casual conversations or between serious political discussions. 
I been to Hyderabad and Secunderabad, but did not get a chance to try the famous Irani chai and Osmania biscuits and salt biscuits. I was busy running around main tourist attractions and got less chance to explore the cities as a whole.  But I saw few YouTube videos about Irani Chaiand Osmania biscuit and salt biscuits and coincidently find another You Tube video making them. So the chef in me got excited as usual, and I jumped at the prospect of making them.  Recipe adapted from Flavors of India Travelogue, from the Pista House Bakery and Sweets. Hyderabad.
I had already made Osmania biscuits and those were delicious, so I decided to make this salt biscuits/cookie. It is one of the most popular of my recipes next to Thai banana roti. I am really proud of that. I am updating some of the pictures on my post, but not re-posting it. I seen a trend of reposting the recipe in blog because the first time they didn’t get enough readers, I don’t like that idea. Trust me if somebody want to really try it, they will try it irrespective of number of comments.  
 My mom loved cookies with sugar and salt in them. Although all cookies have salt, these salt biscuits/cookies have salt in slightly higher amount, and you can feel the salt taste.  Her favorites were a biscuit called 50/ 50, and Krack Jack. At that time, my favorite was cream filled cookies, and not much demand for this salt biscuits, and my mom used to finish it. My father has a sweet tooth so he loves sweet cookies compared to the salt version. I was planning to make it for long time, but I needed custard powder as one of ingredients. In Indian store, I was able to find only Vanilla flavored one. At first it was hesitant to buy it, as it is flavored, but then not finding any other choice I bought it and used for this recipe. 
Due to my bread baking stint I have weighing balance in hand, so used that and made the cookies according to weight measures. In the video I have seen on You Tube they are using baker’s ammonia too; however I was not able to find them so I used baking powder. Instead of margarine, I used both vegetable shortening and butter. I added a small amount of egg to the recipe as mentioned in the original. If you are strict vegetarian and would no to egg, you can skip it. Both Osmania and Salt biscuits are soft but crispy cookies. It is easy to put together. If you like salty side in a cookie and love to have with a tea or coffee go for it. 
I am happy that my cookies looks similar to those sell in Irani cafes and bakeries, confirmed with this pictures from blog. 
Here goes the recipe. 
In a bowl of kitchen-aid stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment cream shortening, butter and sugar .Then add egg and mix everything well and set aside.
In a bowl sift flour, salt, custard powder, milk powder and baking powder and this flour mixture to egg –shortening and butter mixture and water to form smooth dough.
If you want you can freeze the dough at this point. When you are ready to bake bring it back to room temperature and bake.
Preheat oven to 375 F
Transfer the dough onto slightly floured surface, spread it into ¼ inch thick sheet, prick all over the dough surface with fork (if you have fancy device in your collection use it now). Cut it into thin rounds with a 2 ¼ inch biscuit cutter. Cookies should be thinner than Osmania biscuits.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until it become golden brown in color. 
 Enjoy with   Irani chai or  any tea with milk. 
                                                               Print Recipe
Salt Biscuits/Cookies From Hyderabad, India

Adapted from Flavors of India Travelogue : Recipe of Pista House Bakery and Sweets

Prep Time    10 minutes
Cook Time    15 minutes
Serves    40


Ingredients:

125g: Margarine/ Combo of butter( 5 ½ tablespoon) and
 vegetable shortening( 5 ½ tablespoon)
250g / 1 ¾ cup  All purpose flour/ Maida   
6.25g / 2 ½ teaspoon  Custard powder( I used Vanilla flavored Custard Powder)
6.25g/ 1 ¼ teaspoon Salt
6.25g/4 teaspoon  Milk powder
62.5g/ ⅓ cup Sugar
½ teaspoon Baking soda ( Use 6.25g of baker’s ammonia if you have in your hand)

            50 ml/ 5 tablespoon  Water
           ¼ th of Large Egg
Steps:

In a bowl of kitchenaid stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment cream shortening, butter and sugar .Then add egg and mix everything well and set aside.
In a bowl sift flour, salt, custard powder, milk powder and baking powder and this flour mixture to egg –shortening and butter mixture and water to form smooth dough.
If you want you can freeze the dough at this point. When you are ready to bake bring it back to room temperature and bake.
Preheat oven to 375 F
Transfer the dough onto lightly floured surface, spread it into ¼ inch thick sheet, prick all over the dough surface with fork (if you have fancy device in your collection use it now). Cut it into thin rounds with a 2 ¼ inch biscuit cutter. Cookies should be thinner than Osmania biscuits.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until it become golden brown in color.
Enjoy with   Irani chai or  any tea with milk.

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Comments

  1. says

    These are lovely. They are a class of their own, these salt biscuits served in Irani restaurants. Do you also make Osmania biscuits?

  2. says

    Swathi, I’m just so far behind with my commenting since Thurs. with our storms/winds/power outage…and still maintaining every day ‘life’ in general.

    I adore your crispy/clean slightly ‘sweet/salty biscuit/cookies. So perfect with an afternoon nice cup of hot tea! As I pinned it on Pinterest, and Google+ it; as usual, I got distracted on Pinterest, finding other pins to repin…so addictive, just like your awesome biscuit/cookies!
    Thanks for sharing the interesting story behind it, and the great recipe:)