A kulcha (pronounced “cool cha”) is essentially a naan made on a tawa or griddle. The ingredients and the technique are basically the same. Kulchas are not be confused with chapatis or rotis which are made using atta (whole wheat flour). Kulchas are made using all purpose flour (maida).
The key to a soft kulcha lies in the kneading. You must knead the dough properly until it becomes soft and pliable; until you can actually physically feel a change in the texture of the dough. Trust me, it makes all the yummy difference in the world. My home made kulchas are always a big hit.
KULCHA (Griddled Indian Flatbread)
1 cup + 2 tbsp (9 ounces) of all purpose flour (maida), sifted
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt to taste
2 tsp sugar, to taste
2+ tbsp oil (vegetable or canola), you can use melted butter or ghee of you prefer
2 tbsp yogurt
½ cup of milk
a little melted butter or ghee
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sifted flour along with the other dry ingredients (baking powder, salt & sugar). Stir well to combine all of the ingredients & set aside until needed.
Now in a smaller mixing bowl, combine the wet ingredients together (milk, oil & yogurt). Mix well & set aside until needed.
Now in the dry ingredients mixing bowl, make a small well in the center & slowly add the wet ingredients while incorporating the flour from the sides of the well. Your clean hands are the best tools for this job, keep mixing until the dough comes together. Sometimes the dough may seem to have a mind of its own and can be affected by such factors as high altitude, dryness or humidity. So use your culinary instincts & judgment – if your dough seems too “wet” or sticky, just add a little flour as needed. If it’s a little too dry, just add a little milk as needed. You basically just need the dough to come together so it can be kneaded.
The easiest way to do this is on a clean countertop with a little sprinkling of flour so the dough will not stick. So now transfer the dough from the bowl to your work surface. Start kneading the dough until it becomes soft & pliable. This may take anywhere from 10-12 minutes. Next place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth or towel for at least 15-20 minutes. Keep the bowl in a warm place, do not refrigerate. The dough should rise slightly.
Now out of your dough, you can easily make 5 smaller balls of dough. Knead the dough ball for just another minute or so before rolling it out. Make sure to keep the rest of the dough balls covered with a damp cloth or towel so they don’t dry out. Using a floured rolling pin on a well floured surface, start rolling out your dough balls into thin flat circles about 6-7” in diameter.
Meanwhile, heat a tawa or flat cast iron skillet on medium high. When hot, add a little butter (or ghee) and then carefully place the kulcha on the tawa. After a minute or so, turn the kulcha. Both sides should be golden brown. Brush with butter and serve hot with traditional Indian vegetables or curries.
For super soft kulchas, add a little melted ghee or butter to the dough.
To make Jeera Kulcha, sprinkle a few cumin seeds onto the kulcha & gently press them into the kulcha just before cooking the kulcha.
*You can also add nigella seeds, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, fennel seeds, onion seeds (kalonji), carom seeds (ajwain), caraway seeds or even crushed red chili flakes if you prefer.
To make Herbed Kulcha, add a little finely minced cilantro leaves or your favorite herbs into the dough during the kneading process just before rolling the dough out. Fresh herbs such as rosemary, garlic chives, dill, mint, and any variety of basil… will all work very well.
To make Methi Kulcha, just add some freshly chopped methi leaves or even Kasuri methi (dried methi) into the dough during the kneading process just before rolling the dough out.
To make Paneer Kulcha, add some finely grated paneer into the dough during the kneading process just before rolling the dough out. You can also add some freshly grated ginger, finely minced green chilies and some finely minced onion.
To make Onion Kulcha, lightly sauté some finely minced onions or shallots. Allow to cool and then add into the dough during the kneading process just before rolling the dough out. Personally, I like the flavor of shallots so I use them in place of the onions.
To make Garlic Kulcha, lightly sauté some finely minced garlic. Allow the garlic to cool & then add it into the dough during the kneading process just before rolling the dough out. You could also add some freshly minced herbs as well.