Kulcha or Naan

IMG_3027_wm When you can make soft-inside, crunchy-outside Kulchas and Naans at home,who needs the restaurant? And super simple to make.

Make them in a gas tandoor, if you have one, else the oven works fine too. Don’t have either. Put the good old roti tawa to work! In fact any heavy bottomed flat pan or griddle will do 😀 unnamed (5) This is my wonder dough as I use it to make naan, kulchas and even puffy and feather light bhatooras!

The secret to good kulchas/bhatooras is good and slow fermentation. There are lots of instant recipes and I have tried a couple. But I have to say that short cuts do take away the depth of flavour. For example, there is no match to a slow cooked Dal Makhani! No short cuts work for me. Same is with kulchas. To get the best results, slow fermentation is the only way!

This recipe gives 20 kulchas.

5 cups maida/all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda/meetha soda
1 cup curd/dahi/ plain yogurt

Mix all the listed dry ingredients and knead a firm dough using only curd ,slowly adding as much as required. Do not use water to knead the dough.Leave covered in a warm place for at least 5-6 hours till it more than doubles and is well fermented. unnamed (14) Some black/white sesame seeds/til, nigella seeds/kalonji, some coriander leaves chopped fine ( to spread atop the kulcha)
To make kulcha

Divide the dough into 20 parts. Make a ball and roll out into an oblong shape. Brush water on one side and spread some sesame, nigella seeds and coriander. Press these into the kulcha gently. unnamed (4) If making in the gas tandoor, simply put in and cook on both sides.
If making in the oven, pre heat the oven on maximum temperature for 10 minutes. Both the top and bottom heating elements have to be on.
Put the kulcha in, plain side down and bake for 10 -12 minutes till the top browns well.
If making on the tawa/griddle, put the kulcha, topping side down. Flip and cook on both sides till done. Brush with butter and serve with an extra dollop of butter on the side for complete indulgence.

To make Naan Roll the dough thinner in a tear drop shape and cook as above. Naan  Thumbnail_wm The left-over dough can be stored in an airtight box in the refrigerator up to four days. To make naan/kulcha, bring the dough to room temperature and proceed with the making. unnamed (12)

Chatpate Chole Bhature with Onion Raita

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Chole Bhature and raita – a hearty and satisfying meal, especially for a weekend brunch. Perfect recipe for indulgence and a lazy siesta..bliss!
Chickpeas are an excellent source of protein and I cook the kabuli chanas/chole  oil free. You don’t miss the oil at all!
But the fun is when you make oil free chole and your 13 year old asks you ‘ Mom, may I have bhatooras,please?’ Life is fun with teenagers! So bhatooras it was in place of the planned kulchas. The same dough works for both. Roll out, sprinkle some nigella seeds and make them in a gas tandoor and you get kulchas. Roll out and fry in hot oil and you get bhatooras.

For the kabuli chane/chole
This recipe serves 4.

Chickpeas/chole/kabuli chane, soaked for 5-6 hours- 1 Cup
Tea leaves/granules- 1 Tbsp boiled with 1 cup of water and strained (this gives the chole the lovely dark colour)
Onions, chopped fine- 2
Garlic, minced- 1 Tbsp
Green chilli, chopped fine- 1 tsp
Ginger, grated- a tsp
Tomatoes, pureed- 2 large
Salt- 1 tsp
Red chilli powder- 1 tsp (less or more, as per taste)
Garam Masala/Chole masala- a heaped tsp
Chat Masala- 1 tsp
Mango powder/Aamchoor- ½ tsp
Tamarind pulp/ Tamarind chutney- 1 tsp (or more if you want tangier)
Water, as needed to cook the Chole
Coriander, onions and green chillies, chopped fine to top the chole

In the pressure cooker add the the chickpeas with the tea infused water ,salt, onions, ginger, garlic, green chillies and add as much water as required to cook them. The chickpeas should be just cooked and not overdone. I let the cooker whistle once and then cook on a slow flame for about 20 minutes.
Open the cooker when cooled and put it back on the stove. Add the tomato puree, garam masala/chole masala, chat masala, tamarind
pulp/chutney,aalmchoor and cook on low heat for about 15 minutes till the flavours come together.
Add water to get the desired consistency.
Serve hot topped with chopped onions, coriander and green chilli.
For the bhatoora/Kulcha dough
Maida- 5 cups
Curd- 1 cup ( add slowly as you knead)
Salt- 1 ½ tsp (adjust to taste)
Baking Soda- 1 tsp

Add curd and salt  to the flour and knead to a smooth and supple dough. Leave covered for 5-6 hours.
Roll out and fry bhatooras in hot oil. Serve hot. The oil should be hot else bhatooras will soak oil and end up too greasy.

* a loose dough is a tad challenging to roll but gives excellent bhatooras.


For the Onion Raita
Curd- 2 cups
Onion, chopped fine- 1
Salt- ¾ tsp
Red chilli powder- ½ tsp
Oil- ½  tsp
Rai/mustard seeds- ½ tsp
Curry leaves- 4-5
Coriander, chopped fine
Whisk the curd and add everything apart from rai,oil and curry leaves. Heat the oil, throw in the curry leaves and rai, Let the rai splutter and add to the raita. Top with some freshly chopped coriander.