Kulkuls are delicious crispy sweets made especially during the Christmas holidays by the Anglo-Indian Catholic communities in both Goa and Mangalore (Karnataka state). They are similar to cookies but they are traditionally dipped in a sweet sugar syrup. Their shape is also very interesting & unique (think gnocchis!).
An extra set of hands will help make preparing the kulkuls fun & easy, so invite over your friends & family! After all, kulkuls are always meant to be shared ☺.
KULKULS (Curled Fried Dough Crispies)
2 cups all purpose flour (maida), sifted
2 tbsp fine semolina (sooji or rava), lightly toasted
¼ cup sugar, to taste
pinch of baking powder
pinch of ground cardamom powder
pinch of ground allspice
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp warm oil
½ cup thin coconut milk, as needed
enough oil for frying (coconut, peanut or vegetable)
1 cup water + 1 cup sugar, optional
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sifted flour with the semolina, sugar, baking powder & the spices (ground cardamom powder, ground allspice, freshly grated nutmeg & salt). Mix well & then add in the vanilla extract along with the egg & warm oil. Mix well to combine and then slowly add in the coconut milk (as needed) until a soft pliable dough is formed. Next, knead the dough for at least 5 minutes & then cover it with a damp tea towel to rest for about 10-15 minutes.
Now the easiest way to make the kulkuls is by using a lightly oiled fork. First, make marble size dough balls. Then while holding the fork in one hand, take each dough ball and flatten it slightly over the length of the fork tines – so you get a thin ridged strip of dough in a slightly curled “C” shape. Then carefully & very gently pinch the ends together so they are sealed. The technique is very similar to making Italian gnocchi. Then set the kulkul aside on a lightly greased platter and cover it with another damp tea towel while you make the rest of the kulkuls. This is where the extra pair of hands becomes very helpful!
While you are making the kulkuls, heat up enough oil in a deep pan suitable for frying. The kulkuls need to be fried on medium high heat, you can test the oil with a very small piece of dough. If it gently bubbles and pops up to the surface within a few seconds, you’re good to go! So now very carefully, drop batches of the kulkuls into the hot oil and fry until they are lightly browned on all sides. Then remove them with a slotted spoon onto absorbent paper towels and drain well. The kulkuls can be eaten this way if you like, the sugar syrup step is optional but very delicious!
While you are frying the kulkuls, combine the sugar with the water in a sauce pan over medium heat to create the sugar syrup. Stir well to dissolve the sugar. Then start adding batches of warm kulkuls into the sugar syrup making sure they are well coated. Then using tongs, start pulling them out individually onto a large baking sheet to cool. Once they have cooled completely, store them in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Feel free to add a few drops of rose water or orange blossom water to the sugar syrup.