Kulcha is Indian flat bread, similar to naan, which is typically eaten with chole, a chickpea curry. It is most popular in northern India, where it is usually eaten for breakfast or stuffed with different fillings for lunch or dinner. Kulcha is one among those Indian breads or I should say Punjabi Bread which is been staple bread in India since ages, if I go by the history of Kulcha it has it's origin roots in the Punjabi Cuisine but many food historians believe Punjabi Cuisine has quite an influence from Pakistani or Afghani Cuisine. So I have yet not found certain confirming facts about the origin of Kulcha.
My search for history of Kulcha took me to the City of Kulchas, Amritsar, after Golden Temple Amritsar is known worldwide for it's Chole Kulchas, which is called Amritsari Chole Kulche, I explored many narrow lanes of Amritsar in search of that perfect Amritsari Kulcha, made out of maida, yoghurt, baked in the tandoor (traditional clay oven) and served with dollops of freshly churned butter. Though most of these places make real perfect kulcha but sadly none of them know about it's whereabouts.
Though most of the times Kulcha is confused with Naan in texture and flavor but Naan is on the chewier side while Kulcha is soft and fluffy, very much similar to aka Chapatis, yeast gives Kulcha that soft and airy texture. Many recipes suggest using yoghurt and cooking soda instead of yeast to ferment the dough, but I like the texture of yeast one better.
Back home when I decided to make Kulchas for the dinner, idea of using so much maida (white flour) for dinner didn't pleased me much, so I replaced it with regular whole wheat flour, given a good kneading to the dough and rest it for 2 hours, result was super soft and fluffy kulchas without any maida.
Recipe: Whole Wheat Mint & Onion Kulcha
Yield: Makes 10 kulchas
For the dough:
2 Cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
Salt, as per taste
2 tsp garlic powder
⅓ Cup lukewarm water + more to bind dough
For the stuffing:
1 large onion, finely minced
1 green chilli, finely chopped
Salt, as per taste
A bunch of mint leaves, finely chopped
To activate yeast dissolve sugar in ⅓ Cup lukewarm water and add yeast. Set aside for 5 minutes or until liquid turns frothy.
For binding the dough for kulchas, combine flour, salt and garlic powder in a bowl. Make well in the center of the flour and add yeast mixture. Mix all the ingredients together and using little lukewarm water at a time form a soft and elastic dough. Knead for about 5 - 10 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a clean, greased bowl and cover with a plastic wrap. Let rest in warm place until it doubles in size or for about 1 - 1 ½ hour.
Meanwhile prepare the filling, mix chopped onion, chili and half of chopped mint leaves. Add salt to the stuffing at the last moment else onion will ooze out it’s own water resulting in wet stuffing. I add salt, when I am ready to roll out kulchas.
Once the dough has risen double in size, punch it to remove the air. Knead for 2 - 3 minutes.
Divide the dough into 10 equal small sized balls.
To make kulcha, heat pan to medium high heat. Dust the surface with little flour roll out one dough ball into a 3 inch circle using rolling pin.
Place a tbsp of stuffing in the center of the circle, bring together all the sides of the circle in the center and seal tightly to make a ball again.
Slightly flatten the dough ball with your palm. Spread a tsp of remaining chopped mint leaves over the surface and on top of it roll out the stuffed ball into approx 5 inch circle.
Cook on hot pan until light brown on both sides. The Kulcha should puff up like chapati so it could be cooked over directly flames as well.
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