Kulkul is a treat made in most Christian homes in the Mangalore/Goa region during Xmas. If you are not Christian chances are your neighbor will be sending you hampers with goodies and Kulkul will be among them. Some Like to dust it with powdered sugar, and some make it extra sweet with a glaze, but they all will have the characteristic ridged curl shape.
Kulkul, Kalkal – What is in a Name?
I say Kulkul and they say Kalkal or Kidiyo. All these are names for the same snack. That last name needs some explanation. Kidiyo means worms. Why would someone give it this name? Maybe one should visit Goa and research the local flora and fauna and find out! You got me, of course, I have no clue! The truth is that bugs never get a chance to partake in this treat when I make it. Gone is 60 seconds is more like it.
These sweet curls are made with common ingredients of the region – flour, sugar, coconut, ghee/butter, and optional flavoring. I use vanilla, but you can leave it out or add a pinch of cardamom powder or a dash of rose water.
I have seen recipes that use eggs and baking powder as well. These are not needed in this recipe and adding these will make the Kulkuls puff up more creating a more spongy structure. Using the proportions given in the recipe will make Kulkuls that are crisp but hard when cooled.
Making Kulkul Dough
Kulkul dough is made by kneading the flour, sugar, salt, and vanilla with coconut milk. Powder the sugar in a blender if it is not fine-grained. Mix with flour, a pinch of salt, and softened butter. Rub the butter into the flour and add the vanilla extract. Add a few Tbsps of coconut milk and start to knead. Add more coconut milk as needed to make a stiff dough. If the dough has turned soft add more flour and bring it back to a stiff consistency. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
A word of advice though , if you are making a large batch make sure you have help in the kitchen . Rolling out these little darlings are time consuming .
They have special paddles/moulds to shape kulkuls. These create a finer ridge shape than I have here. Combs and forks are other options. I do not recommend using combs – even if it is reserved only for making kulkuls – as it is not made with food grade plastic.
Here is How to Use a Fork to Shape Kulkuls
Pinch of a piece of dough a little bigger than a marble. Roll into a ball and flatten it by pressing it on the back of a fork. Roll back the flattened piece so the indentations from the fork are visible. (See the video)
This shaping is for decorative purpose only – the dough can be pinched off flattened and fried as it is too.
Heat enough oil in a thick bottomed pan to submerge the shaped Kulkuls. The oil should be hot but not smoking to fry the Kulkuls. Keep the heat at medium and place a few Kulkuls at a time in the hot oil. Turn a few times to fry the Kulkuls on all sides. Remove from the oil when it is golden brown and drain on paper towels.
Here is an easy way to test – place a small piece of dough in the hot oil, if it sizzles and floats the oil is hot enough, if it browns the oil is too hot, if it sinks and very few bubbles appear then it is not hot enough.
Dust with powdered sugar after the Kulkuls are cooled a little but while still warm.
- 1 1/2 C AP Flour / Maida
- 1/2 C Sugar
- 1/2 C Coconut Milk Use as needed
- 1 Pinch Salt
- 2 Tbsp Butter
- 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- If the crystals are large then powder the sugar in a blender. Combine sugar, flour, vanilla and salt in a mixing bowl .
- Rub the butter into the flour mix until crumbly.
- Add the coconut milk little by little to and knead to make a stiff dough. The dough should be tight, if needed add extra flour. Cover the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- Pour enough oil into a thick bottomed pan to immerse the kulkuls (about 1 inch depth). Heat over medium flame.
- Take a piece of the dough about the size of marble (1 cm in diameter) and roll into a ball. Press the ball on the back of a fork and flatten. Roll the flattened piece of dough , so that the indentations from the fork are visible. Place the rolled kulkuls in a lightly oiled pan or on a parchment paper,
- Test the oil temperature by placing a small piece of dough in the hot oil . If it crackles and floats to top, the oil is hot enough . If it browns immediately, turn off the heat and let the oil cool a little .
- Keep the heat at medium and drop a few rolled Kulkuls in the hot oil. Turn the pieces often while frying to brown all sides evenly.
- Drain to a paper towel .
- Once the kulkuls are cooled a little dust powdered sugar (if using) on top and serve.
Important: Values are only estimates. Actuals vary depending on ingredients and serving size.