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 (sister-in-law) is visiting from Chandigarh and almost every other day they try out some tasty nashta (tiffin), or dinner. Sometime back she presented a complete Rajasthani thali but she is yet to share her recipe for the itesm. 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 – “Swaad chahiye to compromise bilkul mat karna.(If you want to enjoy the taste do not compromise)

Recipe : 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.


Recipe : Chhole


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, ginger 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.
Recipe : 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!

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 (tuck in) 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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Have your say

  1. This is heaven for me. Can I borrow your auntie for a day 🙂

  2. Bahgwan aise neighbours sabko de…even i had a neighbour and she was an amazing cook, daily diwali hoti thi,she was such an anxious cook that even masale ke pack pe jo recipes likhi hoti hain na,woh bhi bana deti thi ..lolz and no marks for guessing tht we too always received a generous share from her kitchen experiments….i miss those days
    The spread looks delish and who counts calories when such food is available on platter(literally)

  3. Corrected the mistake, H, thanks for telling me. I was in a huryy last night, got confused, glad I linked it right! 😀

    That Kulcha looks divine, must try. Chole of course in my fave side dish. I will steal this for a sunday lunch some day! 🙂

  4. You are really lucky to have such caring and loving neighbours… 🙂

    What a fabulous meal that is.. nice combination. NOw i’m the one that’s wishing this isn’t virtual 🙂

  5. Dear Harini, A very happy Pongal to you. Such amazing, amazing food: you are lucky to have M aunty living next door. I love that mysterious name too: makes her sound rather James Bond! 🙂

  6. This is different Chole recipe than the one I know and make. Time to note it down!By the way the kulcha looks absolutely yummylicious

  7. awesome dishes n kudos to M aunty.

  8. Why don’t I have neighbors like that???!! Lucky you. Looks SO DELICIOUS.

  9. I agree with Simran,Can I borrow M or K for a day? Delicious Spread and yes swad pe compromise nahin karna chahiye.HAPPY PONGAL.Where’s my plate of vadai’s and pongal+gotsu? or is it sweet jaggery one? Anyway 15th ko (tom ie) main aaoongi,sub kuch thayar rakhiyega ji

  10. Thats making all of us so J…:)..and I demand you send me those chole ok!..how mean of you to enjoy all of them yourself!

  11. Happy Pongal. Lovely food and lovely neighbors too. You know, my aunt too tells me the same thing – I often wonder how I mess up her recipes,even when I have seen her cook thousand times. and she says, you always count the calories and want to cook everything in 1 tsp of oil – how will you get the real thing???:-D

  12. Pavithra Kodical

    Kulcha is so tempting..Nice to know that you have such a friendly neighbour.

  13. Looks like you are hainv fun there with all the food.
    The kulcha looks yummy delicious.

  14. Tempting and the chhole looks awesome..

  15. I wish a neigh like the one u ve 🙂 What a great joy to share food each other! Kulcha looks spicy and inviting.
    Happy Pongal to u and ur family

  16. Hi Harini, Happy Pongal. It’s such a nice feeling to have such a neighbour around. Delicious and positively sinful fare!!

  17. U must have been born under some lucky stars! Its been ages since someone actually cooked for me & fed me. I need ur M aunty.

  18. Kulcha looks yummy…so tempting yaar will gona try this…

  19. what a fun filled and loving post! Yes, I don’t mind having such neighbours too. 🙂
    All the pictures look delicious! And the tamarind khatta, bookmarked. yum yum yum! 🙂

  20. Sukanya Ramkumar

    Kulcha has turned out perfect for u. Nice recipe. Looks so good. YUM!

  21. Wow, wonderful kulcha an chhole.. Really nice to have such a nice neighbor, Why don’t i have ?? 🙁 !!

  22. great to know abt M aunty. You are really lucky to have someone like that with u. BTW, i was looking for a kulcha recipe and now found this. I’m so glad:)

  23. Masala kulcha looks very tempting..
    Nice to have neighbours who cooks delicious meals..:)

  24. The masala kulcha looks A+! How did you get that beautiful color!

  25. awesome kulcha and chole… will try both… the pictures look soooo tempting 🙂

  26. wow girl, you have a lovely neighbour. yummy treats out there

  27. this looks perfect comfort food…

  28. Thanks all for the Pongal wishes and same to you all too!

    Simran, no way!! Introduce bhi nahi karana hai…ha ha!

    Alka, waise maine bhi nutrela packet ke peeche waali recipe se hi banaya, but it turned out a keeper! I too do not count calories when divinity strikes:)

    Asha, Keerthana, do try and let me know – M aunty will be thrilled!

    Vaish, I told her the James Bond thing and she was so amused!

    Smitha, I add tomatoes but Aunty’s Bhabhi says Chandigarh chhole that accompanies kulcha/tikkis is made like this! Do try it and let me know.

    Sweatha, this post was to be made after the ‘completion of a year’ post! But I had already hit the publish button!! I had a vegan something just for you as it is perfect for the season – let’s see if I find the time to blog tonite!

    Valli, I am sending this to you ASAP!

    Meera, I know! It is so difficult for me to pour that extra helping of oil!

  29. Long live M aunty. Masala kulcha and chole looks lipsmacking 🙂

  30. Wow…lucky you 🙂 It’s nice to have someone like Aunty M. Let me know where you stay..I’ll buy a house next to you guys 😉 Just kidding…..Masala Kulcha…looks yum. Not sure on how to eat Khatta though. I’m sorry for being naive.
    Happy Pongal to you.

  31. I remember you mentioned K in one of your posts … when you were baking something and there was a power failure and u had to go to office .. so she helped out .. Lucky you … such nice neighbors. I love kulcha … thanks to you I can now try making it at home. 🙂

  32. Sharmila, great memory!! I was to link that post to K but missed. Will do that now!

    Rathna, I too did not know when Aunty gave, but it is just to have a spoon every now and then while eating the chhole. I told Aunty’s Bhabhi it is not usually served but she said this is to help the other things to digest. Tamarind helps in digestion, removing the flatulence that may be caused by the chhole and has cooling properties. I will update that in my post too!

    LG, I said that to her – Sau saal jiyo, and she said “Nahi baba, bus theek thaak rahein jab tak hain, kafi hai”:). Me thinks same way too:)

  33. Wow, i like kulcha but thought banane ke liye, yeh hamari bas ki baath nahi hai…will try cing ur recipe.

    and ya here is surprise for u 🙂

  34. Thank you for letting me know Harini. Knowing about it, We do need Khatta after Chole 😉

  35. wow you are lucky to have such wonderful neighbours… they still exist in someplace in bambai!! my heartfelt namastes to m aunty and her brood! lovely lovely recipes – wish I could actually meet you all in person 🙂

  36. Adlak's tiny world


  37. Wow Chhole & Kulcha its like 'Rab ne banadi jodi'! Pictures are very tempting. Thanks for the khatta recipe.
    Wish U a very Happy Sankranti! You have Til gul on Kahugiri…..

  38. yummy,..khatta is new for me,..:-)will try masala kulchas soon,..:-)

  39. Thanks for the comment dear.The stew is looking reddish-yellow.Hence I was not sure whether to send or not.The light here is very dim,Somehow I am taking photos,the exact colour is coming exactly opposite in fotos.Hence more confusion.
    I have two more yellow dishes coming up-aapke liye corn soup or lemon bars.They look white in the fotos,but are creamy yellow.I will be posting these within tue and will mail all the three on tue.Hope its ok.


  41. Auntyji,I have linked the post to FIC:Yellow. 🙂 Thanks

  42. So yummy.. Kulcha is one of my favorite types of bread 🙂 Making me hungry right now..

  43. Kitchen Flavours

    Wow yum yum treats… I agre with Alka…. kash aise neighbours sab ko ho…. Belated B’day whishes to rocking and evergreen Happy Birthday Tongue Ticklers……

  44. I dont even know how my neighbour looks:-( Lucky you….this is a great treat!

  45. oh well… lucky someone 🙂

    I love chhole kulcha. And about the taste thing, I mentioned the exact same thing in this post as something my mother always said: http://chefatwork.blogspot.com/2007/07/sabudana-khichdi.html


  46. Happy Pongal and how lucky you areto have such a wonderful aunt.

  47. Thanks all for leaving some really nice comments and making my day sunlit!

    Sahaja, thanks for passing me the butterfly award! I am honoured:)

    Rajani, I would love to meet too! Some other time!

    Khaugiri, that was a good one:) Sachhmuch aisa hi tha!

    Sweatha, have you tried changing the color balance by using photoshop? It does help a lot! Thanks for the birthday wishes:)!! I am so sorry the treat is belated – will make up when we meet, with some fresh ones:)

    Raaga, I guess this must be the most oft given advice by elders:))

    Ivy, thank you!!

  48. Masala kulcha bookmarked .. your so lucky to have such friendly ppl around you.. here if i go out too I will be lost as I do not know their language..so it only hi.. hello!!BTW thanks for updating abt khatta.. was not aware of it 😀

  49. wow such a nice neighbours you have kulcha looks awesome

  50. hey again me specialy that katta makes me so mouthwatering you are so lucky Iam haveing feaver from 4 day s so if i get that katta now mmmm that will be very tasty

  51. I wud move into ur neighbourhood just becos of aunt M!!!Lucky you!!!Thanks for participating in my event..

  52. Hi,
    During my student days in Delhi Ive lunched many times on kulcha and chana from a galla – for two kulchas and channa it was only 5 rupees!! Nice entry for JFI Chickpea!

  53. You are really lucky to have someone cooked for you. Looks mouthwatering and tasty recipes.

  54. I found this site using [url=http://google.com]google.com[/url] And i want to thank you for your work. You have done really very good site. Great work, great site! Thank you!

    Sorry for offtopic

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