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. Divya says:

    I tried this recipe twice – once using Shortening and the second time using butter. I found the ones made with butter better in terms of flavor and taste. Using butter as an ingredient also made the dough easier to knead. But 1 tsp of salt made it a little salty, the first time. SO the second time, I added 3/4 tsp of salt instead and it came out perfect. Thank you Redchillies for the recipe.

  2. keerthana says:

    I tried this recipe and it came out very tasty.So am going to do this again today.My DD loved it.Thanx for posting this recipe.Never thought I would try this at home cos I usually buy this from a bakery(when i was in India).I added little bit of crushed cumin seeds.Keep posting such fantastic recipes…

  3. Aravinda says:

    Hello there! I tried this recipe, but, I think my dough was a little soft almost like chapatti dough. And after baking, the cookies ended up sticking to my mouth. Was the dough consistency the main problem or is there anything else i might have gotten wrong?

  4. redchillies says:

    Thanks Aravinda for trying. I hope the butter/margarine was not completely melted while making the dough, it should be at room temperature. The dough for this is pretty stiff like a thick chapathi dough.
    Also if they were sticky, I wonder if they were not completely baked or that the butter/margraine was not enough. Please note that 1/2 cup butter is equal to a stick, so that is lot of butter 🙂 Hope this helps.

  5. Ashwini says:

    I tried the Biscuit as per your recipe and it came out really amazing!!!
    I had tried this khara biscuit earlier too but every time the biscuits used to come out hard.. but your version of recipe truly made a magical difference… thanks for the recipe and keep up the good job!!

  6. Savitha says:

    Hi.. I tried this recipe, and in 20 minutes,350 degrees, the bottom and the corners turned black. But the centers were good. If i reduce the time, will the center be still good cooked?

  7. RedChillies says:

    Hi Savitha I wonder if the baking tray was place way on the top? Make sure it is in the center. Next time you can keep an eye starting at 16 minutes and look for discoloration and you can take it out.

  8. naz says:

    i would love to try but is their any method to bake without oven 🙁
    please let me nw so i can try

  9. Sugandha says:

    I tried this recipe today…even after 21 minutes of baking the biscuits did not get a dark colour…but given that I am a beginner I did wanted to follow the recipe fully..maybe next time I should leave it longer?

  10. redchillies says:

    Sugandha, thanks for the feedback. I assume the pre-heating was done correctly. It may depend on the oven also, but maybe next time leave it a minute or two longer.

  11. Suma says:

    Thanks a lot for the recipe. Tried it today and cookies came out just like the ones made in bakeries.

  12. Sowmya says:

    Hi. Thanks for the recipie.i have done these cookies with 50 percent vanaspathi and 50 percent ghee. Came out well.
    My mom dosent have an oven.i did this at her place by keeping a laege ladle full of sand on the gas..once it got heated up.. placed the plate with cookies on it and covered it with a see thru top with a small vent. Took 20 to 30 mins to bake..and they came out wonderfully well!!

  13. Sidana says:

    I made these for my cookie platter as holiday gifts for friends and they turned out PERFECT! I used vegetable shortening and the cookies turned out to be ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ pieces of goodness! My friends enjoyed these too the most.
    Thanks for the recipe.

  14. SP says:

    Hello there –

    tried these yesterday and the taste was divine…however, i think the butter was too much? The dough refused to bind, was very very soft and crumbly, and i couldnt roll it out. Not sure if i should have added more flour at this stage, but i went ahead and shaped the biscuits and baked it…it baked great, but very very very soft and crumbly, hard to even pick up from the plate. The taste was still super thought:) any ideas as to what went wrong? was it too much butter (followed the measurements, though!)

  15. Vandana says:


    I tried this recipe today. At 3/4 tsp salt, it was too salty. I think you need coarse salt compared to the fine salt I used.

    I used vegetable shortening, so even though the dough was soft at room temperature, I could work with it. If you use butter, like all cookie recipes, you should refrigerate the dough frequently to roll out and cut. If the butter melts, it becomes hard. The colder the butter, the better the crunch.

    It baked well at 20 minutes. On the lighter side, not as golden brown. The taste was good.

  16. SP says:

    Hello – just wanted to send an update to my earlier comment – i tried these again, with much less butter and they turned out great!!!!

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