Plain Kulcha – An easy Flat Bread

Plain Kulcha Topped with nigella seeds
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Kulcha is  another  popular  flat  bread from the Indian subcontinent.  This  is  the flat  bread you get  more  often   from  street  food  vendors   served  with a  variety of  spicy curries. If  you have  friends  from Delhi , chances  are  they have a  favorite  street  food  joint  that  sells spicy chole and  kulcha .

Plain Kulcha  Topped  with nigella  seeds

Kulcha and  Naan  Kulcha is  very similar  to Naan .  Both  are  soft  leavened  flat  breads.  Naans are  made  in  Tandoor in a  very hot  oxygen depleted  environment   while  kulchas  are  made on a regular griddle.   the  leavening agents  are  different too.  Naan is  leavened  with  yeast either  from a sour  culture (old  dough  sourdough Naan) or  packaged  yeast,  where as  Kulcha is  leavened with chemical leavening   agents –  baking  soda or  powder.  It is  important  to note  that  all these  distinctions  do not  hold  much water in  today’s  culinary  world .  Your  neighborhood  fast food stall  may be  offering  tandoori kulcha,  or  Naan  without  yeast.  Go figure !!

I am  sticking  to the  more  traditional definition of   Kulcha  today.  I like  this   bread as it s  easy to  make  at  home   and  tastes  delicious. In some respects it is  even better than  the Naan –  you can   stuff  anything  (well almost !) you want  in  it .  Make  potato stuffed kulcha, paneer  stuffed  kulcha , peas , onions , just  go  with it 🙂

Kulcha dough

Kulcha  dough is  lightly enriched  with oil/ghee  and  yogurt.  If  looking  for  a  diary free  version , use  almond milk  and a  dash of  lemon juice.  Mix  the  flour  with  salt, baking  soda, yogurt  and  oil  and  knead   adding  enough  water  to make a  dough . Knead  for 5  more minutes. As  you need  the  dough  should  relax  and feel softer  than  when you started  kneading . Cover  with a  damp cloth and  let  it  rest  for  1  to 2  hours , or  longer  up to 4 hours .  If  planning  to  keep it even  longer  place  in the  refrigerator  and  take  out  30 minutes  to 1  hour  before  cooking.

Take  about a  lemon sized piece of  dough and  roll into a smooth ball. If  you are  planning  to use  stuffing  this  is  the  the  time  to  add  it . Gently  flatten and  stretch the dough into a  4 inch diameter  circle  and  place  the  fillings  inside and  close .

Uncooked kulcha topped with nigella seeds

Lightly dust  the  work surface  with  flour  and  roll  the  dough  into a  6 to 8 inch  disc.  If  using  dry toppings  brush the  top  with a  little  water and  sprinkle  toppings. This  helps  the  toppings  to  stick on better  as  well as  prevent burning.  Any moist  topping – minced  garlic , onions  etc , can  be  pressed on  the  top.  If  needed  gent

Cooking Kulcha topped with onions

Place  the  Kulcha on  a hot  tawa or  griddle .  When  bubbles  appear  on top brush  with a  little  oil/ghee  and  flip.  Brush oil on the other  side   and  finish  cooking  by flipping  one  or  twice  more as  needed.  When  done  there  should be  golden  brown spots on  both  sides.

Serve  warm . Serve  with  our  favorite  spicy curries  like  chole or Mughlai Murg , or  kabob.   Sirke  wala  Pyaz  is a  lovely condiment to   try   with  these   breads .

Plain Kulcha
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
2 hrs 30 mins
 

Kulcha is a leavened flat bread that is easy to make.  It is  soft  and  tender  and  and perfect with a spicy curry orkabob. 

Course: Bread, Dinner
Cuisine: Indian
Author: Syama
Ingredients
  • 3 C AP Flour (350g)
  • 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 3/4 Tsp Salt
  • 1/4 C Plain Yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp Oil/Ghee
  • 1 C Water Use as Needed
  • Oil - As Needed To cook
  • Flour - As Needed to Roll
Optional Toppings
  • 1 Tsp Nigella Seeds / Kalonji
  • Few Cilantro Leaves
  • 1 - 2 Tsp Garlic Minced
  • 4 Tbsp Finely Chopped Onion
Instructions
  1. Take the flour, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the oil and yogurt to it . Start kneading by adding enough water to make a fairly stiff dough. Knead for another 5 minutes or until the dough begins to relax a little without adding extra water. Cover with a damp kitchen towel or place in a large airtight container for 1 to 2 hours.
  2. When ready to make Kulcha heat a thick bottomed griddle or tawa over medium heat.
  3. Pinch of a lemon sized ball of dough and roll into a smooth. Dust the working board and rolling pin with a little flour and roll the dough into a circle of about 6 to 8 inch in diameter. It should have about 1/8 th of an inch thickness.
  4. If using any toppings press a portion on the top. For dry toppings like nigella seeds it helps to lightly brush the top with water and sprinkle the seeds on top.
  5. Place the Kulcha on the heated tawa (griddle) with the toppings facing up. When bubbles start forming on top brush the top with a little oil and flip . Brush a little oil, wait for it to puff up a little more. Flip 1 to 2 more times to finish cooking both sides evenly. Remove from heat serve immediately or keep covered till serving.
  6. Best served warm.
Recipe Notes

If using baking powder use about - 1 1/2 to 2 Tsp

Geek Speak 

I have  used  only  baking soda as  leavening. Some of  the  baking  soda  reacts with the acidity in the  yogurt and  aerates the dough  as  it  rests.  Since  the  yogurt is  only mildly acidic   there is  enough  baking  soda  left  over  to  react   with the  heat  and  produce  CO2.   The  amount of  baking  soda  used  in this  recipe is  enough for  the  leavening without leaving any residual  after  taste.  If you are  not  using  any acidic  ingredient at  all ,  use  baking  powder  instead of  baking  soda.

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Plain Kulcha


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