Chilly Biscuits/ Spicy Crackers / Masala Cookies

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For all those here in the US, hope you had a good break and relaxed Thanks Giving weekend. We had a relaxing time as well away from the regular grind, did little bit of shopping but stayed mostly indoors.

I prepared these easy to make Chilly Biscuits/ Spicy crackers at home. I got this recipe from my Mom’s diary. She used to conduct her own cookery classes when we were younger and I am glad that I have those recipes and tried these at home myself. All her recipe measurements are in grams and I converted them into cups as I feel it is easy and more accessible.

Cookies spicy, savory or sweet are referred to as Biscuits in Bangalore (not to be confused with the American Biscuits that go along with gravy).

These crackers are referred to as “Khara Biscuits” in Bangalore Bakeries. “Khara” means hot/spicy in Kannada and they are the spicy counterparts to the ubiquitous sweet butter biscuits/ Benne biscuits/ Nankhathai. In Bangalore much before we had the modern Nilgiris, Butter Sponge etc most traditional Bakeries had their own version of these crackers. No bakery would be complete without the presence of Khara biscuit, Butter biscuit, Khobbari biscuits (coconut cookies), Salt biscuits.

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These biscuits are a good one to make if you are tired of eating sweet cookies and looking something spicy. It is easy to prepare, but two important things to keep in mind, is to use as less as yogurt/curd as possible and also to prick the cut dough before placing in the oven.

These look like mini version of Baked Nippattu and taste wise too, they are like distant cousins 😉


  •  1.5 cups Maida/ All Purpose Flour
  •  ½ cup butter (softened at room temperature) [Great tip from Soumya is to use vegetable shortening to make it even more crispy, my mom used Dalda/Vanaspathi]
  •  1 Tbsp combined (Ginger paste + little coriander leaves finely chopped+ finely chopped green chillies+ chopped curry leaves)[ please note that the combination of all this makes 1 Tbsp, NOT 1 Tbsp each.
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  •  3/4 tsp salt ( depending on taste) [updated to 3/4 tsp from 1 tsp]
  •  1 tsp sugar
  •  1.5 tsp yogurt/curd/dahi (thick)

Yields: 25 small crackers

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  • Sieve the sugar, all purpose flour, salt and baking powder.
  •  Add the softened butter to this in intervals, mix well and make bread crumb like mixture. Knead this as much as possible to make a dough.
  •  Add the Ginger paste + little coriander leaves finely chopped+ cut green chillies+ cut curry leaves and mix well. 
  •  Press well and use as much elbow grease as possible while mixing. Because of the moisture of ginger paste and chopped coriander leaves, you should be able to make (almost) stiff dough.
  •  Add 1 tsp of yogurt and mix well. Make sure that the dough is stiff (not soft like chapathi dough). 
  •  Add another ½ tsp yogurt only if required. Knead well for another 2-3 minutes and keep aside covered in a damp cloth.
  • Note: Taste a bit of dough to make sure the flavoring is  correct.
  •  Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Grease a cookie sheet and keep aside.
  •  Take a small portion of the dough and roll like a chapathi until it is ¼ inch thick.
  •  Using cookie cutter, cut into required shapes. Place it on the cookie sheet.
  •  Continue doing this until the dough is finished.
  •  This is a very important step. Prick the top with fork and brush with oil on each of them.
  •  Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
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  1. Soumya says:

    Ohh! u took me back to those B’lore streets and bakery’s…miss them.I do make them quite often. I use vegetable shortening instead of butter, they make it more softer and melt in ur mouth.

    thanks Soumya for the great tip. I will include that in the notes

  2. Divya says:

    I love these spicy biscuits and wanted to make it for so long.Thanks for this quick and easy recipe RC:).They look just like the ones we get in Iyengar Bakery:)

  3. Chakh...le...Re!!! says:

    OMG!! What a lovely snack. My hubby will go mad for this as he is a big fan of spicy cookies. Great great recipe and amazing click….I just want to grab that plate right away!!


  4. bedazzled says:

    commenting first time here .. tried the kara biscuits .. came out really well !! thanx !

    hey be-dazzled, welcome to my little place and thanks for trying them out. Glad you liked it

  5. Nithya Praveen says:

    Wow looks wonderful.The khara biscuit n benne biscuits are to die for:).I add onions to the similar recipe n pat them really thin n bake…we call it matki.This is a perfect snack:)

  6. Miri says:

    I love savoury biscuits – much more than the sweet cookies!

    Btw, just one thing – dalda/vanaspati is high on trans fats and is therefore not the healthiest of options…

    Agree bout the Dalda/Vanaspathi part. I hardly ever use it, but these are for like once in a while indulges 🙂

  7. bindu says:

    I tried this recipe today as I wanted to give some to my friend for christmas. The biscuits turned out too salty…not edible at all. 2 tsp salt for this recipe is way too much. I would have to reduce the salt the next time I bake these.
    Love the recipe…but I’m disappointed that my cookies are unedible and ready to be trashed.

  8. Ruchi says:

    I baked these biscuits yday. They were way too salty. Easy to make but my batch is just inedible with this quantity of salt. The ginger also gave a slightly off flavor, not very pleasant. The texture is good, so the recipe could work if we change the seasonings.

    I’m thinking I might grind them into crumbs, mix with some salt-less ingredients and use for a crust or topping of some sort…

    I’d suggest you check and update the recipe.

  9. redchillies says:

    Thanks Bindu and Ruchi for the comments. Sorry that it did not work out as expected. I had used unsalted butter for this. Not sure if that makes any difference. Also i have changed the quantity of salt in the list of ingredients. Thanks for pointing.

  10. renuka says:

    can you post a recipe on how to make kodubale
    with different kinds of flours ?.
    Also how does one make the karnataka recipe of the
    stuffed poori -stuffed with spicy filling/

  11. redchillies says:

    Renuka, Kodubale is one thing that I am not successful with; I have tried 3 recipes till now, but no success. If I do succeed then I will definitely post them.
    Now it is my turn to be surprised, I have not heard of karnataka style stuffed poori. I will need to google it 🙂

  12. Geeta says:

    Can I use whole wheat chapati flour instead of maida? Just trying to make it healthier 🙂 Pls let me know..

  13. Lavanya says:

    today i tried this recipe for the potluck……..taste came out well …i used dalda ,but i think the prescribed quantity was more…. biscuits were just melting in the mouth…….
    next time i’ll make sure to use less dalda/ butter.
    thanks for the recipe

  14. Anu says:

    hi, look like grt receipy.. i want to try since i don’t have ovan can i fry in oil
    & let me knw shud i deep fry or shallow fry..

  15. Sam says:

    Hi – I am looking to bake these for Super Bowl tomorrow and I was wondering approximately how many this recipe makes.


  16. Sam says:

    Sam here again, I decided to use a food processor to knead the dough and after it formed a ball, I was unable to roll it out. So I decided to form a log, put in the fridge for about an hour, then sliced it into 1/8th inch pieces and baked them. They were perfect. It was also a bit less work because I didn’t knead or roll them out.

    Thanks for the recipe.

  17. redchillies says:

    Hi Lavi, you can definitely try but I am not sure if they will taste the same. I suggest using wheat pastry flour first and then try with regular wholw wheat atta. Also if it works then please let me know.

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