KULCHA is a familiar lip-smacking cuisine in the North Indian region of the Indian sub-continent. Though with changing locations from Delhi to Amritsar to Jammu, their facets keep on innovating, reflecting the very profoundness of Indian food art array.
While on our Himalayan expedition (Shivalik range), what other than the hot cuisine of Dogra styled/Jammu styled Kulcha, offers the heavenly treat to our taste buds. The connoisseurs we owe for treating the taste buds of ours seen standing on the regular bus halts, railway stations, schools, and colleges besides the busy squares of the city. Therefore, the customers Swarm on their outlets, especially when it rains.
It is the district of Udhampur, which credited for making the sizzling world-class kulchas. Kulchas in Jammu and Kashmir is the most popular snack, frequently eaten by commuters to satiate the hunger.
How they are prepared?
Unlike the Pan India kulchas, Jammu’s street connoisseurs have their unique way of making it. Meanwhile, you may find their Pantry Cart on the corners of busy roads, showing the catchy tagline like ‘Mama ka kulcha‘, Nandu ka kulcha, Bola ka kulcha and many more. The street chefs have seen moving their tablespoon, on their big circular Griddle (Tava). In an endeavor to heat the Soybeans properly fried in Butter to give it much better taste. The Kulcha is a muffin or bun made of maida. Half-cut from the center, and stuffed over the top, with various lip-smacking eatables like Soybeans, Chanas/chole, kachalu, Tikki, Rajma, kaladi and after that decorated with colorful chutneys.
Firstly, they are fried gently in butter. Followed by filling up of sizzling smoke incepting red turned Soybeans, containing finely chopped onion and tomatoes after thoroughly mixing with Salt, Tamarind chutney, Chaat masala, Chilli powder. The red and green chutney is then, poured on it. Many of the local street chefs never forget to put pudina or mint leaf as the final touch to this delicious street food. These culinary artists offer a large variety of self-prepared sausages to their customers. Some prefer to put sweet chutney, and some go with spicy emli chutney.
Soybean / Nutri Kulcha
The most popular amongst the Jammuities is the sizzling Kulcha packed with hot soybeans, fried in a thick slice of Butter. Then after that, they give them a spicy touch with different chutneys sprinkle over the mouth-watering kulchas. The price for one Nutri kulcha is Rs 20.
It is a staple sort of item when it comes to the traditional street food of all the ten districts of Jammu. Chole boasts of its origin in Punjab, now expanded to the diets of all the north Indians. These Chole fried like the same way as of soybean, then filled in the half-cut bun forms a finished kulcha. In Jammu province, bicycle guys are also seen selling chole kulchas. These guys never forget to squeeze lemon on the chole. They carry a small grill (Tava) with them to fry it. The price of one this is Rs 20.
The yummiest among all the varieties of kulchas is one and only Kaladi Kulcha. Kaladi is a milk product, like panner or tofu, with significant variations. Kaladi of Udhampur has been in massive demand in the entire Jammu and Kashmir. Most of the sellers brought their kaladies from Ramnagar and Chenani tehsils of Udhampur district. The gourmet chefs first fry kaladi to the most excellent level softens it and then sandwich it inside the bun. Little pieces of onion and tomatoes also join and later on red and green sauces to give it a heavenly taste, to melt in the mouth when it put inside. The price for one Kaladi Kulcha is Rs 50.
Rajma is the most likable cereal among the north Indians. Jammuities mark no exception to it. The hot smoking Rajmas are served on a plate or Bowl. The bun then cut into 4-5 slices, and then soaked inside the rajma and mixed thoroughly. A fork or teaspoon is also given to the customers. Which assists in taking Rajma soaked bun bites to the mouth. As soon as, it is placed on the tongue. It melts in no time. This is only available in Jammu City and not in any other town. The price for one Rajma Kulcha is Rs. 15.
Kachalu or arbi (colocasia root) when chopped into small pieces and added by salt, tamarind chutney, chaat masala, chilli powder, and sweet date, mixed thoroughly and put inside the half center-cutted bun forms the Jammu styled traditional kachalu Kulcha. The Price of one kachalu Kulcha is Rs 15.
Allu Tikki Kulcha
Allu Tikki is a popular snack among north Indians. Mashed potatoes, when fried to give circular round shape, form what Indians pronounce Allu Tikki. The Allu Tikki, after refrying joined by onion and tomatoes leaves, packed in the opening of bun followed by red and green chutney to beautify the final eatable. Your Allu Tikki Kulcha is finally ready to taste and consumed. The price of one Allu Tikki Kulcha is Rs. 20.
Kulchas in Home
Many of the locals often consume Kulcha’s like an evening snack in their homemade creative style. Some tear it apart in Two pieces. Fry on the griddle (Tava) in butter or Ghee and Salt. Dogras prefer to gallop it down with evening tea or as a light breakfast. Home Kulcha is Jammu’s answer to Western Bread.
Kulcha is undoubtedly the pride of the undaunted Dogra culture of Jammu and the sister towns. It is the heavenly taste of these mouth-watering kulchas that retrospect me to the nostalgic moments I once lived in the land of Udhampur, the Devika Nagri-65km from Jammu, on NH-44.