Picture golden-brown, pillowy soft bread generously stuffed with a medley of spices, fresh herbs, and potato. The outside glistening and coated in crushed coriander seeds, cilantro and Kashmiri red chili. It’s a classic aromatic bread sold at hawker stalls and brightly colored roadside Punjabi dabbas.
Kulcha is, for real, the perfect delivery system for curry-to-face! It’s great with Punjabi classics like dry bhindi masala, or South Indian subjis such as ridge gourd curry, or North Indian ones like chana masala.
Chur char naan, as Aloo Kulcha from Amritsar is sometimes called, is an easy bread to make at home without needing a tandoor or clay oven. So, tie up your apron, gather your ingredients, and let's embark on this delightful adventure to master the art of crafting the perfect Amritsari Kulcha!
🥰THREE reasons you are going to adore the ever-loving heck outta this recipe
- Home Oven Magic: No need to fret if you don't have access to a traditional tandoor oven. This Amritsari Aloo Kulcha can be easily prepared in the comfort of your own kitchen using a regular home oven fitted with a baking stone or pizza steel. This means you can achieve the same authentic results without any hard-to-find, or expensive gear.
- 100% Sattvic: With no onions and garlic present, and by incorporating fresh wholesome ingredients and mindful preparation techniques, this chur chur naan recipe is completely sattvic. Like my sattvic chana dal, and biryani, Amritsari Kulcha serves as a delightful choice for bhoga offerings. Its enticing aroma, visually appealing presentation, and heavenly taste make it a perfect delicacy to offer your deities. Even on Ekadasi, or during caturmasya, special bhoga can be offered that we ourselves do not consume. The supreme doesn’t abide by any vrata!
- No harm to animals: This Amritsari Kulcha recipe is vegan. No animal products (such as butter or ghee) are used in this recipe, making it a perfect choice for those who do not want to cause avoidable harm to animals.
🥔Notable ingredients and substitutions
Coriander seeds add a warm, and slightly nutty flavor to this Amritsari naan recipe. In Indian cuisine, they are commonly used whole, coarsely crushed, as they are here, or fully ground as a spice. If you don't have coriander seeds, you can substitute them with ground coriander powder, or use whole cumin seeds (jeera) in place of the coriander. In Indian cooking, coriander seeds are known as “dhania."
Kashmiri red chili powder
Kashmiri chili powder is a vibrant red spice with a mild to medium level of heat. If you don't have Kashmiri red chili powder, you can use a combination of paprika and cayenne pepper as a substitute. In India, it is known as "Kashmiri lal mirch.”
Active dry yeast
Active dry yeast is a type of yeast that needs to be activated by dissolving it in warm liquid before use. It is used in this recipe to make the dough rise and create a light and airy texture in the breads. If you don't have active dry yeast, you can substitute it with instant yeast using a 1:1 ratio. In India, active dry yeast is commonly referred to as "khameer" or "javitri."
📖How to make Amritsari Kulcha
Lemme show you step-by-step how to make Aloo Kulcha. Or you can follow along with the easy-to-print recipe card towards the bottom of this page.
In a mason jar or small bowl, dissolve the active dry yeast and sugar in warm (not hot) water. Allow it to rest for about five minutes until the mixture becomes frothy.
Add the yeast mixture to the flour, salt, and oil and mix everything together by hand until a soft, sticky dough forms.
Transfer the dough onto a clean, floured surface and knead it for about 8-10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. Alternatively, you can use a stand mixer with a dough hook on medium speed for five minutes.
Place the tacky kneaded dough in a greased bowl and cover it with a clean kitchen towel. Allow it to rise in a warm place for one hour or until it doubles in size.
NEXT: Preheat your oven to the highest temperature possible (around 500°F or 260°C) and place a baking stone or steel inside to heat up. Preheating in advance ensures the stone absorbs maximum heat.
While the dough is rising, let's prepare the filling. Get your potatoes boiled!
In a bowl, mash the drained boiled potatoes along with the chopped cilantro leaves, minced green chili, chaat masala, turmeric, ground cumin, and salt. Mix thoroughly to combine all the ingredients.
Once the dough has risen, gently punch it down to release the air. Divide the dough into eight equal-sized portions and shape them into balls.
Take one dough ball and roll it out into a small circle on a floured surface.
Place a portion of the potato filling in the center of the circle.
Gather the edges of the circle and pinch them together to seal the filling inside, creating a stuffed ball. Gently flatten the ball and roll it out into a slightly thick 6-7 inch (15-18 cm) kulcha.
Repeat this process with the remaining dough balls and filling.
Sprinkle the tops of each kulcha with crushed coriander seeds, chopped cilantro, and a generous sprinkle of Kashmiri red chili powder. Press the seasonings into the surface of the dough gently with your hand or rolling pin to ensure they stick while baking.
Once the oven is preheated and the baking surface is hot, carefully transfer the rolled kulchas onto the hot stone or steel. Bake them for 8-10 minutes or until they turn golden brown and puff up. You can use both hands or a lightly floured plate or pizza peel to transfer the dough into the oven.
Remove the baked kulchas from the oven and generously brush them with oil while they are piping hot. This step adds extra flavor and moisture to the bread.
Amritsari Kulcha, the aromatic Punjabi aloo naan, pairs wonderfully with a wide array of South and North Indian dishes.
You can also make this aloo kulcha recipe without an oven!
To cook the formed kulcha on a tawa or cast iron skillet, follow these instructions:
- Heat the tawa or cast iron skillet on medium-high heat for a few minutes until it becomes hot.
- Place the rolled kulcha gently onto the hot tawa or skillet and place a lid over the pan. Let it cook for about 1-2 minutes or until you see bubbles forming on the surface.
- Flip the kulcha using a spatula and cook the other side for another 1-2 minutes, or until both sides are golden brown and slightly crisp.
- If desired, you can press the kulcha gently with a spatula to ensure even cooking and browning.
- Once cooked, remove the kulcha from the tawa or skillet and brush it generously with oil while it is still piping hot.
- Repeat the process with the remaining rolled kulchas, adjusting the heat as needed to prevent burning.
To ensure neat and attractively formed potato stuffed kulcha:
- Roll the dough evenly: While rolling out the soft dough for the kulchas, make sure to roll it out evenly into a circular shape. This will help distribute the filling uniformly and reduce the chances of bursting.
- Use an appropriate amount of filling: Be mindful of the quantity of potato filling you place on the rolled dough. Overfilling can lead to bursting. Start with a moderate amount and adjust according to the size of the kulcha.
- Leave enough space at the edges: When placing the filling on the rolled dough, leave some space at the edges. This will allow you to seal the kulcha properly without the filling spilling out.
The Nizams of Hyderabad had an intriguing connection with kulcha, which became their official insignia on the flag. The Nizams were the hereditary monarchs who governed the region from the early 18th century until India's independence in 1947. The Nizams held significant power and wealth, and Hyderabad was one of India's wealthiest and largest princely states. They belonged to the Asaf Jahi dynasty and played a crucial role in shaping the region's history, culture, and development.
The story begins with the founder of the Asaf Jahi dynasty, Mir Qamar-ud-Din Khan Asaf Jah. Legend has it that his spiritual guide, Hazrat Nizamuddin Aurangabadi, offered him seven kulchas tied in a yellow cloth. After eating them, Hazrat Nizamuddin prophesied that Mir Qamar-ud-Din would become king, and his descendants would rule for seven generations. The prophecy came true, and Mir Qamar-ud-Din, as the first Nizam of Hyderabad, adopted the kulcha symbol and the color yellow on his flag to honor the blessing. Interestingly, the dynasty lasted exactly seven generations, and the eighth descendant, Mukarram Jah, lost his inheritance.
✌️My favey dishes to serve with kulcha:
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Amritsari Kulcha | Punjabi Potato Stuffed Bread (Aloo Chur Chur Naan)
- Dissolve the active dry yeast and sugar in warm (not hot) water. Allow it to rest for about five minutes until the mixture becomes frothy.
- Add the yeast mixture to the flour, salt, and oil and mix everything together by hand until a soft, sticky dough forms.
- Transfer the dough onto a clean, floured surface and knead it for about 8-10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. You can alternatively use a stand-mixer with a dough hook on medium speed for five minutes.
- Place the tacky kneaded dough in a greased bowl and cover it with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm place for one hour, or until it doubles in size.
- While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. In a bowl, mash the boiled potatoes until smooth. Add chopped cilantro leaves, minced green chili, chaat masala, turmeric, ground cumin, and salt. Mix well to combine all the ingredients.
- While the dough is rising, preheat your oven to the highest temperature possible (usually around 500°F or 260°C) and place a baking stone or steel inside to heat up. Preheating well in advance allows the stone to absorb the heat from the oven.
- Once the dough has risen, punch it down to release the air. Divide the dough into eight equal-sized portions and shape them into balls.
- Take one dough ball and roll it out into a small circle on a floured surface. Place a portion of the potato filling in the center of the circle.
- Gather the edges of the circle and pinch them together to seal the filling inside, creating a stuffed ball. Gently flatten the ball and roll it out into a slightly thick, 6-7 inch (15-18 cm) kulcha. Repeat this process with the remaining dough balls and filling.
- Sprinkle the tops of each kulcha with crushed coriander seeds, chopped cilantro and a generous sprinkle of Kashmiri red chili powder. Press the seasonings into the surface of the dough gently with your hand or rolling pin, so that the seasonings do not come off while baking.
- Once the oven is preheated and the baking surface is hot, carefully transfer the rolled kulchas onto the hot stone or steel. Bake them for 8-10 minutes or until they turn golden brown and puff up. You can either transfer the formed kulcha into the oven with both hands or use a very lightly floured plate or pizza peel to transfer the dough into the oven.
- Remove the baked kulchas from the oven and brush them generously with oil while they are still piping hot. Optionally you can garnish them with some fresh raw cilantro leaves, or a sprinkle of garam masala.
- Serve the Amritsari Kulcha with channa, Punjabi dry bhindi, or your favorite curries and subjis.
- When mixing the dough, keep an eye on the texture. You want it smooth and slightly soft. Too dry and hard to form? Add a dash of water. Too sticky? A sprinkle of flour will help. Knead it just enough – not too much, not too little. Goldilocks would be proud.
- Rolling Magic: Roll out your dough gently. Not too thick, not too thin – aim for a middle ground. You don't want to miss that perfect crisp and soft combo.