Kulcha, Chhole aur Khatta

Happy Pongal, everyone! My vadais are yet to be snapped meanwhile here is my guest cook - M Aunty, my friendly neighbor!

As I have said before M Aunty is an amazing cook but then so is her daughter-in-law, and my friend K. M and K have always been there for me whenever I needed them. I have never had to ask but if I return tired, or if I am not well she always takes care of things immediately. Her ways are subtle, never the kind to show that she has done me a favor! Sometimes she will pass a cup of piping hot tea saying she just made it for herself too when I know she made it because she saw me drained, or she will prepare a hot bowl of khichdi and say she made it because Jr.H likes it, but I know she has done it because I haven't had my customary chat or she has understood that I am not well. The instances I mentioned happen rarely (me feeling tired or unwell), but the indulgent affectionate gestures have always been appreciated and I am glad I got a chance to tuck it away for future nostalgia.

Other days M aunty shares her lovely dishes simply because she makes them with a lot of interest and love, and she enjoys seeing others enjoy it. I am not giving away her identity completely - needless to say, for selfish reasons! I wouldn't want to trade my neighbour with any other:).

On days when she is having guests over, there is joy reigning supreme in our house! Heady aromas waft to our living room and in no time we know that the bell will ring and bowls of delicacies will follow! These days Aunty's bhabhi is visiting from Chandigarh and almost every other day they try out some tasty nashta, or dinner. Sometime back she presented a complete Rajasthani thali but she is yet to share her recipes. I shall post them ASAP. Meanwhile I will leave you with her absolutely awesome kulchas, chhole and khatta. Before you go further you must keep in mind her line - "Swad chahiye to compromise bilkul mat karna." If you want to enjoy the taste do not compromise (on the fat and spice level)!

Masala Kulchas
made by K under directions and recipe received from M Aunty's Bhabhi!


Ingredients for the covering:

Maida/APF - 500g
Salt to taste
Soda bi carb - a pinch

Sift maida salt and soda-bi-carb together in a wide bowl. Make a well, add enough water to make a soft elastic paratha dough. Cover and rest the dough for an hour.

Ingredients for the masala filling:
Paneer - 100g (This may be replaced with potatoes for an all potato masala)
Potatoes - 4 big ones, boiled and peeled (Replace with paneer for an all paneer masala)
Coriander seeds - 1/2tsp.
Ajwain or Carom seeds - 1/2tsp.
Green chillies - one or more if you can bear
Coriander leaves - chopped - about a tbsp.
Red chilli powder - to taste

Crumble paneer, mash potatoes.
Add all the masala ingredients and mix well.

Method to make kulchas:
Pinch out dough as big as a tennis ball. Flatten into a small roti. Place about a tbsp. of the masala. Bring the periphery together in the centre and pinch together. Roll out a thick roti sprinkling flour as required. Bake in a preheated oven for about 10 minutes till the top is dry to touch. Remove and roast applying ghee/butter/vanaspati pressing the corners with a spoon to help the kulcha raise. Be generous with the fat:), turn over and roast the other side. Remove. Prepare the rest in a similar manner.



Whole dry chickpeas/kabuli chane - 250g. (Soaked overnight and pressure cooked till very soft)
Onions - 3 big chopped fine
Ginger - 1" grated
Green chillies - 2 chopped fine
Salt to taste
Oil - 1/3rd cup
Hing - a pinch
Red Chilli powder - To taste
Coriander powder/dhania pdr - 1/2tsp.
Black salt/kala namak - 1/2tsp.
Spices - A 1/2 inch of cinnamon stick, 1 bayleaf

Grind together the onions, giner and green chillies.
Heat oil in a kadhai/wok.
Add the spices. Fry for a minute till cinnamon changes color. Add the ground masala and the powders. Keep frying till the mixture leaves oil on the sides and is dry.
Add the boiled chhole and about a cup of water to bring it to thick gravy consistency.
Pressure cook for a whistle and let cool naturally.

Khatta - Tamarind water
Made by M.Aunty


Chop roughly an onion, grate or chop 1/2 a radish, chop one green chilli, some sprigs of coriander. Soak tamarind in water and extract a think juice. Add salt and rest of the ingredients to the tamarind extract. Mix well and serve a little to taste.

Updated on 15.01.09:
Rathna, thanks for raising that query as to how the khatta has to be taken:

Khatta is something I too came across the first time when M Aunty gave this. I asked her about it as 'khatta' is not something we are usually served here in Mumbai alongwith kulcha chhole. She informed me that in Chandigarh you find many joints selling Kulcha-Chhole as fast food, and this is served in many (not all) places for a reason. It has to be taken in between - not more than 1/2 cup per person or after finishing the kulcha and chhole. The tamarind water - khatta - is basically a digestive, anti-flatulent, coolant, antiseptic and a mild laxative. Once you have had 'bofors' it is essential to balance out the effect:)! I should have put in this info. earlier but I am glad you called my attention to it. I am sure this will help out others too - thanks again!

Lip smacking! Just enjoy the meal - you will not utter a word till you have gobbled the whole thing down! If you have someone making all this for you - phir toh dabaake khao:) like we did!

The chhole is my entry to
JFI - Chickpeas concept - Indira of Mahanandi. Guest host - MS of Sometime Foodie.

The Seventh Helping of MLLA (My Legume Love Affair), started by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook and guest hosted by Srivalli of Cooking 4 All Seasons!

Who's gonna cook for me? hosted by PJ of Seduce your Tastebuds! My neighbour M Aunty cooked this delicious meal for us!

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