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Kulcha is an Indian flatbread made with leavened dough and generally served with matar or chole (chickpea) curry. It is made with refined (APF) flour, dahi/water, yeast/ baking soda etc.
Kulcha is greatly famous in north India. While I was doing my graduation from a college in Punjab, I have seen many roadside vendors selling this amazing Kulcha matar. They would cut the kulcha in half from centre, one side still attached, and then would stuff it with the spicy matar preparation, green and red chutneys with onions sprinkled on top… wow that taste still lingers on my tongue.
Kulcha or Naan?
Kulcha and naan are easily confused to be the same bread, but they are not. Although both are made from leavened dough, still their taste and texture differ considerably. Naan is thinner as compared to kulcha and is traditionally made in tandoor oven. They are rolled mostly to oval shape and then cooked over direct flame in tandoor. The shape however, is not a major difference.
However, Kulcha on the other hand are baked. They are also made on tawa but not over the direct flame. The bakery style kulchas are thicker than Naan and are spongy. In fact kulchas are baked/cooked twice. Once, in bakery, they are baked and when we bring them home, just before eating they are cooked on tawa with extra ghee or butter.
So Kulcha is soft, spongy from centre and is cooked twice. Whereas, Naan is soft and crunchy, thin flatbread which is cooked only once.
In many places, the term kulcha is used interchangeably for stuffed naan. Like, Aloo Kulcha or Onion kulcha. There’s actually a very fine line of difference in between these two breads, so people often confuse with their names. Well, whatever you call it, it is undoubtedly a very delicious bread to go with chana masala or matar.
Kulcha – Yeast or Soda?
It is widely believed that the main difference between kulcha and naan is the addition of the leavening agent of yeast and baking soda. It is thought that in naan yeast is added and in kulcha baking soda is added.
I differ a little here. I have made Naan and kulcha both with yeast and baking soda. Baking soda gives you an instant version of these flatbreads, whereas if you add yeast in their dough you’ll obviously have to wait out till the dough rises. So, yes you can add baking soda, yeast or even a portion of old fermented kulcha dough, as leavening agent in kulcha.
Important Tips for Kulcha
I am sharing with you the recipe of instant Kulcha with maida or refined flour (APF). So let’s talk about some important tips for making a perfect kulcha.
1.Refined flour – In this recipe and in all the recipes where dry ingredients are to be mixed with wet ingredients, as I have always said, that a little more or less of wet ingredients can be required other than mentioned in the recipe. The reason is, that sometimes the flour you are using is old and sometimes new, sometimes the place where you are living in, is very hot, cold or humid. So, because of the weather differences and the quality of the flour, you might need 1-2 tbsp of liquid more or less and that is absolutely fine.
2. Texture – You should always particularly pay attention to the texture and consistency of the dough or batter that we make. Is the dough hard? or soft? or soft at first and then kneaded to hard? All these are important points to note, whenever you are following a recipe. This helps you greatly in making a perfect bread. And it is same in this case also. Kulcha dough should be made perfect to get a wonderful kulcha on your plate.
3. Bake or cook – As I mentioned above, that bakery style kulchas are baked ones. You can bake them at home very easily. I have made these kulchas, on tawa. If you all would like, then I would definitely share some baked kulchas recipe too.
4. Dahi – In this recipe, I have used baking soda as leavening agent, and so I have used some amount of dahi or curd in the dough for letting the soda work nicely and helping the dough to get the prefect rise. Otherwise also, dahi gives a softness to the dough which enhances the flavour of the kulcha.
5. Cooked Twice – Bakery style kulchas are cooked twice. First they are baked, you can however cook them on tawa also. At this stage they can be stored in fridge or outside for a few days. And just before eating they are warmed up a bit with or without ghee or butter on tawa.
In this recipe, I have cooked them once only because we were going to eat them immediately. That’s why, I have cooked them till a good brown color. We like kulchas like this. You can obviously make them a little less brown. I will tell you in the ‘method’ section below, how you can just cook them without much browning and store for later use.
Some other interesting recipes;
Recipe Video of Kulcha
- Maida (refined flour) – 2 cup
- Dahi (curd) – 1/4 cup
- Baking Soda – 1 tsp
- Baking Powder – 1 tsp
- Salt – 1/2 tsp
- Ghee or butter – 2 tbsp
- Water – as required
- Kalonji (black seeds) – as required
- Kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) – as required
- Butter for brushing
1.Take maida (refined flour), baking powder, baking soda, salt, dahi (curd) and ghee or butter.
2. Mix everything and knead a dough. Keep it covered for 45 – 50 min to rest.
3. After 50 min, knead the dough again just for a minute or so.
4. Make equal sized balls of the dough. Cover them with a damp cloth and rest for 30 min.
5. After 30 min roll them into a thick roti shaped kulcha. The thickness should be little more than a paratha.
6. Put some kalonji (black seeds) and kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves) on the kulcha and roll once , so that they stick to it. You can use chopped fresh coriander too in place of kasuri methi.
7. On the back side of the kulcha, apply some water and then place it on a hot tawa, water side down. Flame should be low.
8. Now sprinkle some water on the sides of the kulcha on tawa and cover and let it cook on low heat.
9. Once done from one side, flip it over. Repeat the procedure of water on tawa and cover and cook.
10. Once cooked from both sides, take it out and brush some butter on hot kulcha.
11. If you want to make these kulchas and keep them for later use, then cook them with an aluminium foil on tawa under the kulchas. This way they won’t turn brown. Cool them completely at room temperature. You can store these kulchas in fridge for 2-3 days, only after they have cooled down.
12. For serving them , just heat them directly on hot tawa with some ghee or butter.
13 Serve hot with matar or chana (chickpeas) curry.
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