If you haven’t tried the traditional Amritsari Kulcha during your visit to Punjab you basically haven’t visited at all. If you thought “patriotic” food doesn’t exist then you were wrong. There is nothing more than Amritsari’s are more proud of than their traditional breakfast – The Amritsari Kulcha.
A family won’t have a weekend without a proper Kulcha Breakfast at their favorite Kulcha walla shop. But what makes it so admirable? It is the way it is manifested with butter and the stuffing. A good crispy kulcha with a good amount of butter all over it merges the crispiness and juiciness in one. A proper Kulcha serving is also followed with strong hands crushing it together to get the butter blend even more.
Amritsari Kulcha is a complete meal in itself and it is served with chickpeas and some onions or chutney. The onions are usually soaked in tamarind chutney which gives it the addictive, tangy taste. While the traditional Kulcha called Alloo Kulcha (Potato Naan) is usually stuffed with potatoes. But there are quite a few varieties one can have. Cheese/Paneer Kulcha, Cauliflower/Gobi Kulcha or mixed Kulcha are just a few common examples you can experiment with.
Do take a sneak-peak inside the kitchen to observe their way of cooking because the otherwise simple looking dish can have various twists and turns associated with it. A soft maida dough – (Refined flour dough) is kneaded in a peculiar way for this in which the filling of either mashed potatoes, crumbled paneer or crumbled Cauliflower is filled properly. Then the clay oven or the Tandoor – as it popularly called in Punjab, plays a major role. The Naan so formed is then put inside this Oven which also adds to the smokey flavor to the whole experience. A good dollop of butter is then put over it and the same is served with chickpeas and an onion tamarind chutney. The whole process is actually a team-work where different works are assigned to different team members. One is kneading the dough, the other making its balls, yet another is stuffing the balls and then the other team-member is leveling them and putting them in the oven. The last team-member takes care of the Tandoor and timely take out these crispy Naans and hand over for serving. Isn’t it sounding like a great craft where craftsmen are appointed on the basis of their merit? Cooking in Punjab is indeed revered as a Craft.
The street food experience is all about people and timings. Although Punjabis are not the early birds, still preferably on a Sunday between 10 am and 12 pm you will see a swarm of people gathered outside these Kulcha shops and enjoying their meal, ordering and chatting to their heart’s content. If in case you have skipped these timings then there may be a risk of losing this opportunity for the weekend.
Interestingly, each district in Amritsar has its’ favorites Kulcha stops and everyone will have their own best-kulcha of the city story. Let’s talk about three of such places which are famous for their exquisite way of cooking and serving this meal.
A foodie who loves North Indian food will sure to like this place. His paneer aloo & aloo kulcha is to die for. The crisp and full of taste with a moderate blend of all spices accompanied by chana and concussion of chutney & onion is the perfect blend to with these kulchas.
The best-hidden gems and amazing food lie in the cozy, by-lanes of the city. Such a by-lane in Green Avenue takes you to this famous Kulcha Shop which basically a scattered outlet but serves delicious Kulcha to its customers. He has a separate outlet for cooking the kulcha and a separate place for his customers to sit and enjoy his cooking. Served with a cold drink, this is an old shop visited by many people who enjoy his delicacy.
Savory at its best, situated inside the city near Doonga Shivala mandir, is another destination for Kulcha lovers. Mesmerizing taste that when attacks your taste-buds leaves you to crave for more and more. The more you eat, the more you want to eat should be the tag-line that goes well with the place and the cuisine. We even take our guests to this place for their breakfast in our Morning Walking Tour.
So the next time you want to have Kulcha being in Amritsar do not forget to jump into one of these places.