Kulcha Recipe | Kulcha Bread

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The classic Indian flatbread Kulcha is best enjoyed with a robust Punjabi Chana Masala. This combination was, is and will always remain a winner! So, in this post, I’ve got my Kulcha Bread for you to try at home. It is a fact that Amritsar in Punjab houses the best kulchas in the world. But this Kulcha recipe of mine can also give a tough competition to them! Try it.

kulcha served in a square tray with a side of dried peas curry.

What is Kulcha

A popular and famous leavened flatbread from Punjab in North India, it can be plain or stuffed, and can be made in the tandoor (clay oven), baked in an oven or cooked on a tawa or skillet.

Apart from Punjab, it is found in the food cultures of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

This soft-textured flatbread is easy to prepare and tastes divine. You just need to be a little patient till the dough leavens. I have cooked these on a tawa, but you can also bake them in an oven. Best, if you have a tandoor at home, use it.

This flatbread recipe does not use yeast in its leavening. This Kulcha recipe has curd, baking soda and baking powder which helps in the process of leavening the dough.

Since I’m not a fan of the soapy smell of baking soda, I’ve used it in less quantity in this Kulcha recipe. Thus, added baking powder too. Paneer Kulcha and Aloo Kulcha are some of my favorite stuffed kulchas.

Whether plain or stuffed, kulchas taste best when paired with Amritsari Chole, Chana Masala or even Pindi Chole. You can also have them warm with a cup of tea or coffee.

I also love the Delhi style Matar Kulcha – a combination of kulcha with a tasty matar curry made with dried white peas.

If you like this pairing too, then you must try the quintessential Chole Bhature and the Bengali special Luchi with Alur Dom (Aloo Dum) too at home.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Kulcha

Make Dough

1. Mix 2.5 cups all-purpose flour (maida), ¾ teaspoon salt, 2 to 2.5 teaspoons sugar, ½ teaspoon baking powder and ¼ teaspoon baking soda in a bowl. Make a well in the center.

mixing all purpose flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl

2. Add 4 tablespoons yogurt (curd), 2.5 tablespoons oil and approximately ¾ cup water.

adding yogurt, oil and water in the bowl

3. Begin to mix the flour with the liquids first and then start to knead.

kneading the dough for kulcha

4. Make a smooth, supple and soft dough.

smooth and soft dough for kulcha

5. In the same bowl or pan, cover the dough with a wet kitchen napkin. You can also lightly brush some water on the dough and cover the pan with a lid.

covering the kulcha dough in the bowl

6. Let the dough leaven for 2 hours.

kulcha dough kept for leavening

7. Lightly knead the leavened dough again.

kneading leavened kulcha dough again

Roll and Make Kulcha

8. Make small balls of the dough and lightly flatten them. Sprinkle some nigella seeds or sesame seeds on the dough ball.

With the rolling pin, flatten the dough and roll each into a small-sized kulcha on a lightly dusted rolling board.

Do not roll thinly but keep a medium thickness – like a paratha or bit more thick than a paratha.

sprinkling nigella seeds on small dough balls and rolling into kulcha

9. Heat a skillet or tawa on medium-high to high heat. The tawa or skillet has to be very hot. Place the kulcha on the tawa.

put rolled out kulcha on hot tava

10. Cook one side partially till it is ¼ᵗʰ cooked.

cooking one side of the kulcha

11. Flip and cook the other side till it is ½ cooked. Apply oil or ghee on both sides of kulcha while cooking.

You can skip the oil or ghee if you prefer.

flipping and cooking the other side of the kulcha

12. Flip a few times as needed and roast till the kulcha gets golden spots and is evenly cooked. Prepare more kulchas in a similar way.

cooking kulcha till evenly done

13. Serve the Kulcha hot with chickpea curry or chole masala. These can also be stacked in a roti basket and then served warm.

kulchas garnished with coriander and served on a plate with chole masala and salad

Kulcha Vs Naan

Kulcha and naan are the two most admired flatbreads across India, even the world too. However, both these are unique in their nature.

While both can be stuffed or plain, when we talk of the differences between the two, it is majorly in the ingredients, leavening agents, spices used for each and also the texture and thickness. In short,

  • The base flour in kulcha is essentially all-purpose flour (maida) and in naan is either all-purpose flour or a mix of both whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour. Naan can also be made only with whole wheat flour.
  • Kulcha is leavened with baking soda, baking powder or both and also yeast. Naan is leavened with yeast.
  • Naan can be rolled thin or having a medium thickness, to a tear drop shape and cooked in a tandoor. They have a soft or chewy texture. While a Kulcha can be rolled thick or thin and has a soft or fluffy texture. Some versions of kulcha also have a flaky texture.

One of the similarities between them is that both Kulcha Bread and Naan are either prepared in a tandoor, and can also be made in an oven and tawa.

Kulcha Variations

As we travel through the length and breadth of the Indian subcontinent, we can find the humble Kulcha with many of its variants apart from the Amritsari one. Read on to know more.

  • When milk or curd (yogurt) is used instead of water to knead the dough, resulting in a more softer kulcha. This type is also referred to as Doodhia Kulcha. The fluffy Lucknowi ones are also kneaded with milk and ghee.
  • One more stuffed version is the Kalari Kulcha, popular on the streets of Jammu – with a crispy, grilled stuffing of the traditional Dogri cheese or the Kaladi cheese – also called Maish Krej in Kashmiri. Due to the cheese, this has a stretchy texture.
  • Some of the other all-time favorite stuffings include potato, onions, paneer (Indian cottage cheese), cauliflower, mint leaves, other seasonal vegetables and greens.

Expert Tips

  1. Make sure to knead the dough soft and smooth or else the Kulcha Bread will turn out chewy.
  2. While making the dough for this Kulcha recipe, the amount of water to be added depends on the quality of flours. So, add accordingly.
  3. For best results, keep the dough in a warm environment for leavening.
  4. To get a restaurant style texture on the Kulcha, the tawa or skillet should be very hot while roasting it.
  5. Make sure to wipe the tava with a cotton kitchen towel after making each kulcha to get rid of burnt flour particles.
  6. This is a vegetarian recipe. But you can even make it vegan by using a plant-based yogurt like almond or cashew yogurt, and roasting it in oil instead of ghee.

FAQs

Can I use whole wheat flour whole wheat flour (atta) instead of all-purpose flour (maida)?

Yes, you can use the same quantity of atta instead of maida. Knead the atta with ¾ cup water first and then add more water if required, to get a smooth soft dough. As compared to maida, atta requires more water while kneading.

Can I make Kulcha Bread in oven? At what temperature?

Yes, you can make Kulcha Bread in oven at 220 to 250 degrees Celsius. Preheat your oven for 15 minutes before baking.

Can I make it with whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour in 50:50 ratio?

Yes, you can.

Is the kulcha rolled out like a roti or chapati?

No. It is slightly thicker than roti or chapati, more like an aloo paratha.

Can I prepare the dough and store overnight?

Yes, the kulcha dough can be prepared and refrigerated to store overnight. Spread some oil on the dough and store in an airtight steel box.

What is the substitute for onion or nigella seeds in this Kulcha recipe?

There is no substitute for nigella seeds. However, you can skip it, if you don’t have or use black or white sesame seeds.

For how long can I store the kulcha bread?

Since the recipe has curd in it and the kulchas are cooked on tawa and not baked, you can store them in the refrigerator for just one day.

What is the difference between paratha and kulcha?

An unleavened flatbread is a paratha and a leavened flatbread is a kulcha. Traditionally, kulchas are made in a tandoor or clay oven and baked kulcha bread can be stored for many days.

Can this recipe be halved?

Yes, this recipe can easily be halved.

How much time approximately does it take to knead the dough till smooth?

It takes about 6 to 8 minutes approximately.

Why is sugar added in this recipe?

Sugar is added in this recipe as it helps in leavening of the dough.

More Indian Breads To Try!

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kulcha garnished with coriander leaves and served on a wooden plate.

Kulcha Recipe | Kulcha Bread

Kulcha is a popular soft leavened North Indian flatbread. It can be made in the tandoor as well as on a tawa or skillet. Serve Kulcha with a robust and spicy Chana Masala or Chickpea Curry.
4.88 from 33 votes
Prep Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 45 mins
Cuisine North Indian
Course Main Course
Diet Vegetarian
Difficulty Level Moderate
Servings 10 Kulcha
Units

Ingredients

  • 2.5 cups all-purpose flour (maida)
  • 4 tablespoons Curd (yogurt) or 3 tablespoon yogurt + 1 tablespoon milk. can use cashew yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ cup water – for kneading, add more if required
  • 2 to 2.5 teaspoons sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt or as required
  • 2.5 tablespoons oil or ghee
  • some oil or ghee or butter for roasting
  • extra flour – for dusting
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons nigella seeds (kalonji) or sesame seeds

Instructions
 

Making dough

  • Mix the all-purpose flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl.
  • Make a well in the center. Add the yogurt, oil and water.
  • Begin to mix the flour with the liquids first and then start to knead. Make a smooth, soft and supple dough.
  • In the same bowl or pan, cover the dough with a wet kitchen napkin and let the dough rest for 2 hours.

Rolling and making kulcha

  • Make small balls of the dough and flatten them a bit. Sprinkle some nigella seeds or sesame seeds on the dough ball.
  • With the rolling pin, flatten the dough and roll each into a small-sized kulcha.
    Do not roll thin but have a medium thickness similar to a paratha or slightly thicker than paratha.
  • Heat a flat skillet or a tawa. Place the kulcha on the hot tawa.
  • Cook one side partially till its ¼ᵗʰ cooked. Flip and cook the other side till it is ½ cooked.
  • Apply oil or ghee on both sides of kulcha while roasting. You can skip the oil or ghee if you prefer.
  • Flip a few times as needed and roast the kulcha till it gets golden spots and is evenly cooked. Prepare more kulchas in a similar way.
  • As you prepare them, stack the cooked kulcha in a roti-basket, so that they stay warm.
  • Serve Kulcha hot with chana masala.

Video

Notes

  • Instead of using only all-purpose flour, opt to add equal portions of whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour.
  • You can also bake kulcha at 220 to 250 degrees Celsius until they have some charred spots on them and are evenly cooked. Preheat oven for 15 minutes before baking. 
  • The recipe can be halved or doubled.

Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)

Nutrition Facts
Kulcha Recipe | Kulcha Bread
Amount Per Serving
Calories 178 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 1mg0%
Sodium 207mg9%
Potassium 66mg2%
Carbohydrates 25g8%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 8IU0%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 0.2mg13%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.2mg12%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 2mg10%
Vitamin B6 0.02mg1%
Vitamin B12 0.03µg1%
Vitamin C 0.04mg0%
Vitamin D 0.01µg0%
Vitamin E 3mg20%
Vitamin K 0.5µg0%
Calcium 24mg2%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 58µg15%
Iron 1mg6%
Magnesium 8mg2%
Phosphorus 55mg6%
Zinc 0.3mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This Kulcha Recipe from the blog archives first published in June 2013 has been updated and republished on December 2022.

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Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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71 Comments

    1. Yes you can use atta. You can use the same amount. First knead the flour with ¾ cup water and if required add more water to get a smooth soft dough. Generally atta needs more water while kneading as compared to maida.

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