Have you had Amritsari Kulcha ? Amritsar is a city in India, famous for its sights , sounds and of course food. This kicked up version of Kulcha from Amritsar is very much like the city – spicy , exotic and utterly delicious !!! Punjabi food is rustic, rich, home style and sophisticated, and most importantly YUM !!
What makes Amritsari Kulcha so awesome ? Interestingly it takes only a few simple ingredients – the humble aloo (potato), a few fresh spices, and maybe some paneer. I do not use Paneer (Indian cottage cheese), and like to keep most of my cooking diary free (Is there such a term as Vegan Pescetarian?). So here is the Amritsari Kulcha or Aloo Kulcha, in other words Kulcha stuffed with potatoes.
The potatoes in the breads makes it soft and spongy inside and helps the bread stay soft for long , much longer than the regular naan or kulcha. I like to keep the fillings mild and allow the texture of the potato(y) goodness take the center stage. Of course , if you were having this in the streets of Amritsar, it will be a spicier version.
Do I need to make a case for making this ? Well here are a few reasons – one doesn’t need any fancy gadgets or techniques for this flat bread. It is made on stove top. There is nothing stopping you from firing up the grill or that fancy brick oven, but all I am saying is that it is as delicious (if not more !) just on the stove top. By all means go ahead for the charcoal effect if you feel like it. Serve it with Chole and a a few sliced onions , for a filling vegetarian (vegan) meal. Again there is no need to restrain yourself and go vegetarian, but once you try this you will understand its appeal. Low cal, healthy and nutritious – need more reasons to try ?.. here is one – finger licking good .
The dough for this bread starts out just the same as that of the plain kulcha. For a detailed recipe of Plain Kulcha check out this post .
For the stuffing, the potatoes are boiled and mashed together with salt , minced green chilies , garam masala and a pinch of turmeric.If you like to add paneer , grate it fine and add to the potato mixture. You can add amchoor (dried mango powder) , coriander seeds, dried anar (pomegranate ) seeds etc., if these are available. The idea is to make a spiced potato filling .Eating Kulcha Chole in the streets of Amritsar, with its sights, sounds, and aromas is an experience in itself. Replicating the same flavors and feelings is not going to be an easy task! Savor the memories and go ahead and make your version !!
Here is my brunch – Aloo Kulcha, Chole , yogurt and slice of onions !!! Now I am ready for my siesta 🙂
Here is a short video on making the Amritsari Kulcha. I usually make these Kulchas without any toppings. The soft layer of spiced potatoes in the middle is the the star for me. Another reason I do not favor toppings is that they tend to burn very easily, which happens often when making these on stove top. If you are using the oven or tandoor there is no need to flip the Kulchas and feel free to add any desired toppings to your hearts content.
To make Kulchas in the oven , pre-heat the oven to the highest setting. If you have a pizza stone place it in the oven before turning it on. Form the Kulchas and brush the top with a little oil and sprinkle the toppings and press it on gently. Place on a cookie sheet and transfer to the oven or place directly on the hot pizza stone. Bake 5 to 10 minutes till the Kulchas puff up and the tops brown lightly. Remove from the oven and keep covered till serving. Serve warm with Chole or any side of your choice.
For a vegan version, skip the yogurt and increase the oil by 1 Tbsp. If you have almond mink/soymilk replace 1/2 C water with it while kneading. Also use baking powder instead of baking soda. Use about 2 Tsp of baking powder for the recipe below.