Thursday, June 3, 2010

Paneer-Onion Kulchas

The task of preparing any bread, whether baked bread or the traditional unleavened Indian flatbreads has always daunted me. After successfully baking the no-knead bread the other day, I was determined to successfully prepare some of our traditional Indian breads. My mom suggested starting out with the simple, everyday roti, but of course, being me, I wanted to pick the most elaborate recipe possible. Thus, when I came across the recipe for Paneer-Onion Kulchas at Chef in You( Paneer Onion Kulchas ), I immediately decided to try my hand at it, knowing well that I might create a disaster. However, I was determined to succeed, and because the recipe was so clearly written with illustrations included, I actually found the kulchas quite simple to make. I made half of the original recipe, and I only made a few procedural changes. Kulchas are very similar to the traditional naan bread, but they are made without yeast, unlike most naans. The were so fluffy and tasty, and the paneer filling was divine. They are normally stuffed with just a simple onion or potato mixture, which tastes awesome as well! Just make sure to eat them hot off the stove, as they don't taste good when cold, and do spread some ghee or butter on top!

Paneer-Onion Kulchas:
Kulcha Dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. sugar
Salt to taste(about 1 tsp.-I would use a little more next time)
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup yogurt
1 tbsp. ghee

1 red onion
1 cup paneer, crumbled
2-3 green chilli peppers, thinly sliced(or as per taste)
1/4 tsp carom seeds (ajwain)
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp fennel (optional)
few sprigs of cilantro, chopped finely
salt to taste(at least 1 tsp. since the paneer is bland)

Mix all the dry ingredients for the dough together in a bowl(I did all the mixing by hand).

Mix in all the wet ingredients(I had to add about 1/3 cup of water for half the recipe to get the right consistency for the dough).

Knead the mixture well for a few minutes until it becomes a pliable, smooth dough(I did this in the same bowl).

Cover the bowl, and let the dough sit for 1-2 hours.
Mix all the filling ingredients together in another bowl when ready to make the kulchas. Don't let the mixture sit for long after mixing in the salt because the onions will start releasing water, which could result in soggy kulchas that fall apart. After at least 1-2 hours, take the dough, pinch off a small ball, and roll it into a small, but somewhat thick circle (I had enough dough for 4 kulchas from half the recipe). Make a ball with the filling smaller than the dough circle, and place it in the center of the dough circle. Bunch the dough up around the paneer ball, and pinch it together so that it entirely encloses the paneer ball. Lightly press down the dough with your hand. Gently roll the filled dough with a rolling pin to desired thickness, taking care not to let the dough break open (Check out Chef in You for detailed pictures of the rolling and shaping process). Place the kulcha on a cast iron or non-stick pan, and cook until slightly browned on both sides.

Then, brush some ghee or melted butter on one side, cook that side for a few seconds until well-browned. Do the same on the other side.

Serve immediately. I served with Creamed Eggplant.

****UPDATE: This post is being sent to the event Tried and Tasted, featuring DK's (of Chef in You) recipes. The event was started by Lakshmi of Kitchen Chronicles.


Priya said...

Fabulous kulchas, beautiful stuffing..

Ameya said...


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