Indian Food

Bread Kulcha

In India there is a sweet snack that is similar to flatbreads like pita or naan but thicker and dunked into butter or ghee. The name is derived from the word kulcha. The colorful flatbreads are made of wheat flour, powdered sugar, butter, and milk or water. They are made for breakfast, lunch, or tea, and a typical variety is stuffed with sugar, ghee or butter, and fruits like mangoes, bananas, pineapples, carrots, or other sweet vegetables.

Bread kulcha is a popular South Asian dish that was first used as a way to feed soldiers during the British Raj. Originally reserved for Indians, this recipe was adapted to include elements of both Indian and British cuisine during the colonial period. The kulcha lends itself to being made using either wheat or corn flour, and can be served with a variety of different foods as well as several different sauces.

The soft kulcha bread reminds me of my college days, when I treated myself to a matar kulcha from my favorite street stall. These oil-coated kulchas are very popular in Delhi and go well with the classic chola or matar chaat. word-image-9108 Kulcha bread is a bread that is not very popular outside North India. It is especially famous in Delhi, where it is often served with matar chaat (also called matra). In the streets of Delhi you often see carts at the side of the road selling matar kulcha. When I was growing up in this area, we often ate it when we wanted something different from our normal daily food – rice, dal and roti. My maid in India always made matar chaat at home, but we always ate kulcha outside. Kulchas were so readily available that it made sense to buy them in the market. Here, however, things are different. It is not easy to get kulcha bread here. So if you want matar kulcha, you have to do both at home! If you have ever eaten matar kulcha in Delhi, then you know how delicious these kulchas are! They should not be confused with amritsari kulchas or kulchas found on menus of Indian restaurants. Being a kulcha bread, the texture resembles that of a good soft bread, which in this case is perfect for dipping into a curry or matar chaat. This is a simple recipe that requires no special ingredients. It’s easy to make, and goes well with iced tea, as well as other things.

Ingredients

word-image-9110 Flour: Universal flour, also called maida in Hindi, is perfect for this recipe. I haven’t tested this recipe with bread flour, but I’m sure it will work just as well. Milk: makes the bread soft. I used whole milk, but skim milk is good too. In fact, non-dairy milk should work too. Yeast: For this recipe I used active dried yeast, which has to be activated first. You can also use fast dissolving yeast, but then you have to adjust the amount (see notes). Salt and sugar: Table salt is used to flavor the kulcha. I also add a little sugar for flavor, it also helps activate the yeast. Trim: The kulcha would be incomplete without the butter on top! Amul oil is my choice. For flavor, the recipe also uses fresh cilantro, which is not only added to the dough, but also sprinkled on top.

Step-by-step instructions

1- In a bowl (I used a steel bowl), add the warm milk (110-115 degrees F, not cold or too hot), active dried yeast and sugar. Stir quickly and let ferment for 5 to 10 minutes. 2- After 10 minutes, the top of the mixture will begin to bubble and foam, indicating that the yeast is active (if you do not see this activity, discard the mixture and start over). 3- Now add to this mixture the flour, salt, 3 teaspoons of oil and 2 tablespoons of chopped coriander. Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and mix with the stirrer. 4- Slowly add the water so that the mixture becomes a paste. Once you have the dough, put the dough hook in and knead the dough for 7-8 minutes on medium-high speed. You can also knead with your hands for 10 minutes. word-image-9111 5- Once you have a smooth dough, grease it with a little oil and set it in a warm place. I used the yogurt button on my Instant Pot, but you can also put it in the oven with the light on (but the oven off) or just leave it on the counter if you live somewhere warm. If using an Instant Pot, grease the steel bowl with a little oil before adding the batter and cover the bowl with a clean tea towel (do not use the Instant Pot lid). 6- If you use the yogurt button, set the time to 1 hour. If using an oven or baking sheet, it will take 1.5 hours for the dough to more than double in size. When the dough has more than doubled in volume, pound on it to release the air. 7- Now divide the dough into 8 equal parts (about 56 grams each). Now take a ball of dough and roll it between your palms to a smooth circle. Then use a rolling pin to form a circle about 10 cm in diameter. Flatten the dough balls and roll them up. 8- Place them on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and place back in a warm place to rise for about 30 more minutes. After 30 minutes you would have seen that the goby was a little swollen in some places. word-image-9112 9- Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, gently lift the bottom and place it on the pan. 10- At this point we will cook the kulcha half-cooked. Fry 1 minute on one side, turn over and cook another minute on the other side until light brown spots appear. Prepare all the kulchas the same way. 11- Now put another pan on medium heat and add a little oil (1/2-1 teaspoon oil for each cup), when the oil melts, add the chopped coriander. 12- Add the half-cooked kulcha and press it with a spatula to make it brown. Turn over and repeat on the other side until both sides are golden brown. Prepare all the kulchas evenly and serve the bread kulchas with matar chut. word-image-9113

Tips for making kulcha bread

1- Start with the correct temperature of the milk for the yeast. Too cold – the yeast is not activated, too hot – the yeast dies. The milk should be warm, but not hot, between 110 and 115 degrees. A good way to check the temperature if you don’t have a kitchen thermometer is to dip your finger in the milk. If you have to take it out right away, the milk is too hot. 2- Knead the dough well. If using a mixer, knead it with the dough hook for 7 to 8 minutes. If using your hands, knead for 10 minutes. 3- Be careful when handling and rolling out the dough – use light hands when smoothing and rolling out the dough balls. 4- Use amul oil for better taste of kulchas! You can of course use any other oil, but Amul oil (a brand of oil from India that you can find in Indian grocery stores) gives them the best flavor. word-image-9114

Storage and services

If you don’t want to serve the bread cake right away, you can bake it halfway through (as directed in the recipe) and store it in the refrigerator. Fry them well through and golden brown with oil when you are ready to serve them. If you have leftover cooked kulcha, place it on kitchen paper and wrap it in foil. Heat up in the microwave or in a frying pan. They go perfectly with matar chaat, but you can also combine them with…

Frequently Asked Questions

Can we use instant yeast here? Yes, use 1 + 1/4 teaspoon of instant yeast in this case and you don’t need to activate it. What is the difference between kulcha bread and amritsari kulcha? The texture is very different, the pile of bread looks like soft bread. Amritsari kulcha is flaky and crispy, and no yeast is usually used in its preparation (although it can be). It is also usually stuffed with potatoes or paneer. Is it possible to make it vegan? I haven’t tested it myself yet, but it should definitely work with vegan milk. Drizzle with vegan butter and enjoy! If you’ve tried this recipe, don’t forget to write it down! You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram to see what’s new in my kitchen, and on YouTube to watch my latest videos.

Pain Kulch

word-image-9115 Manali Make deli-style kulcha bread with this easy, step-by-step recipe! These sweet kulchas go so well with the classic matar cat! Cooking time 20 minutes Cooking time 20 minutes Rest time 1 hour Total time 1 hour 40 minutes Bakery products course Indian kitchen Serve 8 shanks Calories 175 kcal

  • In a bowl (I used a steel bowl) put warm milk (110-115 degrees, not cold or too hot), add active dried yeast and sugar. Stir quickly and let ferment for 5 to 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, the mixture will begin to bubble and foam, indicating yeast activity (if you don’t see this activity, discard the mixture and start over).
  • To this mixture, add the flour, salt, 3 teaspoons of oil and 2 tablespoons of chopped coriander. Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and mix with the stirrer.
  • Add water slowly to form a paste. Once you have the dough, put the dough hook in and knead the dough for 7-8 minutes on medium-high speed. You can also knead with your hands for 10 minutes.
  • Once you have a good smooth dough, grease it with a little oil and put it in a warm place. I used the yogurt button on my slow-cooker, but you can also put it in the oven with the light on (but turn off the oven) or just leave it on the counter if you live somewhere warm. If using an Instant Pot, grease the steel bowl with a little oil before adding the batter and cover the bowl with a clean tea towel (do not use the lid of the Instant Pot).
  • When using the yogurt button, set the time to 1 hour. If using an oven or baking sheet, it will take 1.5 hours for the dough to more than double in size. When the dough has more than doubled in volume, pound on it to release the air.
  • Divide the dough into 8 equal parts (about 56 grams each). Now take a ball of dough and roll it between your palms to a smooth circle. Then use a rolling pin to form a circle about 10 cm in diameter. Flatten the dough balls and roll them up.
  • Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and set in a warm place for a second rise for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes you will see that the heap is a little swollen in some places.
  • Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, gently lift the bottom and place it on the pan. At this point, we will half cook the kulcha. Fry 1 minute on one side, turn over and cook another minute on the other side until light brown spots appear. Prepare all the kulchas in the same way.
  • Now put another pan (or use the same one) on medium heat and add butter (1/2-1 teaspoon butter for each cup), when the butter melts, add the chopped cilantro. Add half of the cooked kulcha and press with a spatula to brown. Turn over and repeat on the other side until both sides are golden brown. Prepare all kulchas the same way and serve them with matar chut.
  • Use vegan milk and butter to make it vegan.
  • Herbs such as dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi) can be added to the dough and nigella seeds (kalonji) to the kulcha.
  • If you use quick yeast, take 1.25 teaspoons of yeast and add it directly to the hot milk with the flour. It is not necessary to activate it.

Calories: 175 kcalCarbohydrates: 27 gProtein: 5 gFat: 5 gSaturated fat: 2 gMultiple unsaturated fat: 1 gUnsaturated fat: 2 gTrans fat: 1 gCholesterol: 9 mgSodium: 180 mgPotassium: 84 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 2 gVitamin A: 109IU Vitamin C: 1 mg Calcium: 25 mg Iron: 2 mg

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between kulcha and naan?

As the name suggests, kulcha is a flat bread made with whole wheat flour. The dough is kneaded by hand and baked on a greased tava (a flat griddle). The dough is then rolled out into thin, pliable circles, baked again on a tava over medium heat, and then used to make naan or paratha. The only difference between the two is in the type of wheat used to make the dough. While North Americans know what a naan is, they might not be familiar with kulcha, a type of bread from India that looks a lot like naan, but is made differently.  Over the years, kulchas have become more popular in North America, as they are often served at Indian restaurants, or as street food.

Is Kulcha good for health?

Baked in a kulcha (puffed flat bread), some of the nutritious benefits of a meal are retained. Baked in a kulcha, the protein, iron and vitamin content is retained. It also is a great source of fibre and calcium. In fact, one of the most nutritious and wholesome breads is a kulcha and can be made from a wide range of ingredients. Kulcha is a traditional Indian bread and it is made from wheat flour and a special type of wheat called Singhara. As a result, it is known as the bestest bread in the world.

What is Indian naan made of?

I’m not sure if I’m the first person to write about this, but I found out that Indian naan is made of wheat flour — not dough. It also contains yeast, which turns the naan light golden brown after baking. So, how is this different from bread? What is the difference between naan and bread? The difference is they are different types of bread. Naan is a flatbread made with a fermented wheat flour batter. Bread is made with a bread dough. Bread is made with white flour, yeast, salt, and water. Naan is made with a wheat flour batter. “Naan” is literally translated from the Hindi word “नाना”, meaning “bread”. It is a flatbread made with wheat flour and water, cooked on a tandoor (an earthen-ware oven). It is usually cooked in hot tandoor oven, and is usually served with a variety of dishes such as curries, kebabs, meat or egg preparations.

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