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, its 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 are 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 is credited for making the sizzling world-class kulchas. Kulchas in Jammu and Kashmir the most popular snack, frequently eaten by commuters to satiate the hunger.
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 da kulcha’, Nandu da kulcha, Bola da kulcha and many more. The street chefs are seen moving their tablespoon, on their big circular Griddle (Tava) 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 it decorated with colourful chutneys.
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 sprinkled over the mouth-watering kulchas. The price for one Nutri kulcha is Rs 20.
Chole kulcha :
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 are fried in the same way as the 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 Chole Kulcha 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 bring their kaladies from Ramnagar and Chenani tehsils of Udhampur district. The gourmet chefs first fry kaladi to the most excellent level, soften 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 put inside mouth. The price for one Kaladi Kulcha is Rs 50.
Rajma is the most likeable cereal among the north Indians. Jammuities mark no exception to it. The hot smoking Rajmas are served on a plate or Bowl. The bun is 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. It 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 Rajma Kulcha 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 salt, tamarind chutney, chaat masala, chilli powder, and sweet date, is mixed thoroughly and put inside the half center-cutt 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 Kulchas as a 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 me to the moments I once lived in the land of Udhampur, the Devika Nagri-65km from Jammu, on NH-44.
(The author is founder of travelkro.in)