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The call of kulchas

WHOLESOME MEAL Amritsari kulchas with chholey  

I was crossing Hanuman Road the other day, thinking of the old and beautiful house that our friends occupied on one side of the road many years ago, when I saw a board that instantly brought back happy food memories. Kulcha King, it said, and then explained, Amritsari Kulche Wale. I am an ardent fan of Amritsari kulchas, so I tucked that bit of information in the memory docket, and carried on.

Some days later, I went back to Kulcha King. Many years ago, I had gone to – and written about – their small stall in the Sarojini Nagar area. I still remember how I enjoyed their Amritsari kulchas. The one on Hanuman Road is a new branch. If you turn into Hanuman Road from Connaught Place (the lane near the Allahabad Bank Building), you will find Kulcha King (phone numbers: 888233522 and 9968590590) at the very end, near the Bangla Sahib Gurudwara. There are just a few shops there, and you just can’t miss Kulcha King with its prominent sign.

Kulcha King sells Amritsari kulchas – but the name is a misnomer to us Dilliwallahs, who see a kulcha as a light, baked bread. The Amritsari kulcha is almost like a stuffed roti cooked in a tandoor. But it’s not exactly a roti because it is meant to rise like a kulcha. So the dough is kneaded with some curd and contains a bit of baking soda. The kulcha has a filling – of potatoes, onion, cauliflower and so on. And small coriander bits, chillies and onions dot the surface.

You will find three or four kinds of kulchas here. The Mixed Kulcha has potatoes, cauliflower florets, methi (fenugreek) greens, onion, ginger and coriander leaves (Rs.60 for one, Rs. 90 for two). The Masala Kulcha is flavoured with black pepper, green chillies, carom seeds (ajwain) and coriander (Rs 70/110). Then there is a Paneer Kulcha – with cottage cheese, coriander, green chillies and masalas (Rs 80/130) and a Masala Paneer Kulcha (Rs 90/130).

The kulchas are smeared with hot butter and served with a very light chholey preparation, and a tart and runny chutney, prepared with tamarind and chopped onions. Two kulchas are like a hearty meal.

Amritsari kulchas are not easy to find in Delhi, though there are outlets in pockets here and there. You will find them in West Delhi, and I remember a man selling them in East Delhi. So, I am really happy to know that there is a place in Central Delhi where you can get your fill of these special kulchas.

In some places in Amritsar, they put a small cube of butter on the hot kulcha, and let it melt over it. But while just the thought of that makes me drool, I suppose these are difficult times – monetarily and health-wise – so a smear of butter makes more sense.

I had the kulchas – hot in every way – with the tasty chholey, and thought it was time to visit the Mecca of food – Amritsar. I have been planning a food trip to the Punjab city for a while now, and the sighting of Kulcha King seemed like a sign. I’ll make my plans – but till then, the Amritsari kulchas – with aloo, gobhi and pyaaz, to say nothing of the butter – will do.

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Printable version | Oct 14, 2021 11:26:33 PM |

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