Mamta's Kitchen

Kulcha 1 Indian Leavened Soda Bread

Kulcha 1 Indian Leavened Soda Bread

Mamta Gupta

Kulcha is a north Indian bread, very similar in recipe to a soda bread of the west. They usually have no yeast, using baking powder, soda bicarbonate and a little yoghurt as raising agents. Traditionally cooked in a tandoor oven, I make it on a griddle//tava. They are often sold in India from little mobile carts as street food. Kulchas originate from Punjab, they are soft in texture and delicious served with Cholae, a spicy chickpea curry Or Pindi Cholae in Masala Sauce. You can serve them with any other curry of choice, even use as pizza base.

They are easy to make and suitable for freezing. Slightly undercook, if not serving immediately. Heat under a hot grill just before serving. They are also available ready-made in Indian supermarkets and grocery shops, but nothing beats the freshly made ones, and they are so easy to make. Makes 8

Ingredients

  • 300 gm (approximately 2 cups) plain flour or maida

  • 60 ml. mature natural yoghurt (approximately 1/4cup)

  • 1 tsp. salt

  • 1 tsp sugar

  • 1 level tsp. baking powder

  • 1/6 tsp. Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate

  • 60 ml. (approximately 1/4 cup) warm milk)

  • 60 ml. (approximately 1/4 cup) warm water

  • 3 tbsp. cooking oil

  • Optional

  • Nigella or Kalaunji seeds

  • Butter or ghee to brush the top

  • 2 tbsp. chopped fenugreek leaves added to the dough

Instructions

  1. Place flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, soda bicarb, oil and yoghurt in a bowl. Mix with hand or with a dough hook, till it looks roughly crumbly.

  2. Now add first warm milk and then warm water slowly, kneading all the time, until you get a soft dough. Leave aside for 1-2 hours.

  3. Place on a floured work surface and knead a little with the heal of your hand, to make it smooth.

  4. Divide into 8 balls.

  5. Place your griddle or tava on the hob.

  6. Roll one ball at a time, using some dusting flour. Before finishing rolling it out, you can sprinkle a few nigella seeds or some finely chopped herb like coriander or oregano or a little flaked chillies etc.on one side and roll some more to press them in.

  7. Pick it up gently and place on the hot griddle. When it begins to show some bubbles or rises a little, turn it over. Cook it on both sides, pressing gently with a kitchen towel. Keep an eye, it cooks pretty fast.

  8. Cook it on both sides, pressing gently to coax it into ballooning. You can also cook it directly on a flame holding it with tongs (chimta), but remember, it cooks very fast, so be careful. If you have an oven that heats up to 300C or more, you can cook them in that, a few at a time.

  9. You can coat with a thin film of butter or ghee, if you wish, but I prefer them without butter.

  10. Serve hot with Cholae 1 or Cholae 2

  11. If not serving straight away, spread them on a towel to cool. Stack them up and store in a sealed sandwich bag. Reheat them under a grill or on a tava/griddle and serve hot

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