This is an easy recipe for a leavened Indian bread that not many people outside of India are familiar with – Amritsari Kulcha. It’s thick, soft and fluffy, with a crisp and flaky outer crust dappled with nutty citrusy crushed coriander seeds and beautiful black onion seeds. Tear the bread apart and it’ll reveal a mouth-wateringly soft and mildly spiced potato mixture.
Making Amritsari Kulcha doesn’t require any fancy equipment. Although they are traditionally baked in a tandoor oven, you can get amazing results using your home-oven and either a pizza stone, tray, or simple baking sheet. It doesn’t require a tawa or blowtorch to get that tempting golden-brown crust. That’s one of the reasons it’s a favourite in our household – it’s a foolproof, easy and no fuss recipe that anyone can make.
Amritsari Kulcha is so named for the city Amritsar in Punjab, which is home to the Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) – the most important gurdwara (place of worship) for the Sikh religion. It’s an open house for people from all faiths, so attracts thousands of visitors every day. Apart from this though, Amritsar is also known for it’s kulcha … soft on the inside and flaky on the outside, perfect for eating with any meal.
In Amritsar, each street is lined with Tandoor ovens making Kulcha.
Can I make this dish Vegan?
Yes, you can! Simply replace the milk used with water. The texture will be slightly changed but it will still be very tasty. Use any good vegan spread on top when serving.
Can I make Plain Kulcha?
Of course! Just continue with the recipe as usual but eliminate the stuffing element. Just roll out the kulcha to a medium sized oval and bake as instructed.
Can you cook Amritsari Kulcha without an Oven?
Absolutely – I prefer the texture achieved by using an oven but if you don’t have access to one you can get similar results by using a tawa and a gas hob.
Make sure you have a good iron or aluminium tawa. Non-stick is not suitable for this method. Pre-heat the tawa on high flame until it is very hot and then spread water on the back of the kulcha. Place the wet side down onto the hot tawa so it will stick. Cook for a few seconds and then turn the tawa upside down to roast it on the open flame until golden spots appear.
For ideas of other bread recipes, do check out my Methi Parathas – fenugreek flatbreads.
How to Serve Amritsari Kulcha?
If you want a simple meal, you can serve kulcha with coriander chutney, tamarind chutney, fresh curd (homemade thick yoghurt), or chilled yoghurt sweetened with a little sugar and spiced with chilli.
For a more complete meal, the most famous and classic combination is Chole with Kulcha. Chole (otherwise known as Chana Masala) is a dish made with chickpeas that is very aromatic, spicy and slightly sour. Whether you make the rich and spicy restaurant style Chole or a minimal home-style version, the combination with the kulcha is incredible. Another famous pairing is with either Dal Makhani, Amritsari Dal, or Matar Kulcha (a dish made from white peas).
You can even serve it with any kind of Indian dish of your choosing. Pick one that has lots of gravy as the kulcha will soak up the sauce and result in an incredible flavour with every bite.
What is the difference between Kulcha and Naan?
Both Kulcha and Naan are leavened flat-breads made from white flour with origins in the Indian subcontinent. So what is the difference between the two?
- Kulcha is leavened for much less time than Naan. Although different recipes call for different ingredients in Kulcha, a similarity between all recipes will be that the rising time is less than that of Naan. Naan is often left for 4 hours or even longer, whereas Kulcha requires only 1 hour.
- Kulcha has a thick, fluffy and soft texture compared to Naan. The dough is slightly flaky. Naan is thinner, has more air pockets and is lighter to eat, with a more crisp top.
- Unlike naan, kulcha is often stuffed with either potato, paneer or onions. There are plain versions of kulcha, but they are less popular. On the other hand, naan is most commonly eaten without any stuffing, although stuffed versions do exist too.
As always, if you have any questions please leave them in the comments down below and I will get back to you as soon as possible. If you give this recipe a try I would love to know what you think. Please take a photo and tag @ohmyvegofficial on Instagram or send it to any of my personal media accounts!