When I was but an ickle sapling….innocent, naive and full of angelic properties…I first learnt the taste of Bangalore’s bakery biscuits. Okay, so I may not have been angelic, or innocent 😉 and this was the time when Bangalore was still called Bangalore, Dad, on his frequent office tours to the city, brought back boxes of goodies for me. I still remember the coconut cookies from Nilgiri’s, jams, cakes and its assorted handmade chocolates, wrapped in crinkled coloured foil. How I loved them! But what I always remember are these savoury, slightly spicy, crumbly biscuits; Khara Biscuits from the famous B.B or Iyengar’s Bangalore Bakery.
I have never had the chance to visit the store myself, but I remember Dad bringing home a few boxes of their products. I’ve heard that today there are numerous Iyengar Bakeries in Karnataka, and all over Bangalore, and while each claim to be authentic, they’re more than likely to be replicas of the original store. I for one, have no proof of either, so I’ll just stick to my love for these biscuits, and move on.
Khara Biscuits are made with butter and all-purpose flour, a hint of green chilies, curry leaves and coriander. I have adapted the recipe slightly, by adding whole-wheat flour in a 2:1 ration with plain flour, substituting butter with Amul lite, and have also added some red chili flakes. Overall, it’s not quite far from the authentic version, and is quite crumbly, which makes me happy 😀
This recipe makes about 17 medium-sized biscuits; you can probably get 20 to 25 if using a smaller sized cookie cutter. The dough is quite buttery, and churns out shortbread-like cookies. If you’re working in a hot climate (like I did), it’s best to refrigerate the dough, use the bit you need at the moment and wrap the rest in plastic wrap and keep refrigerated. Or, you can work in an A.C room, like I did.
- Whole-wheat Flour – 1 cup
- All-purpose Flour – 1/2 cup
- Butter/Margarine/Shortening – 1 stick (115 gm) I used a 100 gm slab of Amul Lite
- Finely chopped green chilies – 1 tsp (about 2 chilies)
- Finely chopped curry leaves – 2 tbsp
- Finely chopped coriander – 1 tbsp
- Red chili flakes – 1/2 tsp
- Carom seeds/ajwain – 3/4 tp
- Baking powder – 1 tsp
- Thick yogurt – 2 to 3 tbsp
- Salt – 1/2 tsp (adjust if using salted butter)
- Oil for greasing
- Preheat oven to 160 C/320 F; line and grease a baking sheet with parchment/baking paper.
- Sift flour, baking powder, salt and use a light whisk to mix it well.
- Add the carom seeds, green chilies, red chili flakes, curry leaves and coriander leaves.
- Chop the butter in cubes and add to flour.
- Use your fingers to run the flour with the butter, until it resembles bread crumbs.
- Begin to knead it, and add yogurt 1 teaspoon at a time, and only as much as you need to bind together a stiff dough.
- Roll out discs, about 3 mm thick, and cut out round cookies.
- Prick each cookie with a fork in several places to stop them from puffing.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes; these cookies will not brown too much so 15 minutes is enough.