If there was to be a poll on Delhi’s favorite breakfast, the hands-down winner would be Matar Kulcha. A popular North Indian street food comprising curried dried white peas and fermented flat bread, Matar Kulcha is sold in makeshift stalls all around Delhi. Vendors begin their sales from early in the morning and do brisk business till late in the evening, as this versatile dish can be had for breakfast, as a light lunch, as well as an evening snack. Although I am a BIG Matar Kulcha fan, I prefer not eating on the roadside and make my own at home. If I can get the same taste without compromising on the hygiene, why not! 😉 And once I share the recipe with you, you will want to make it at home too. Just because it is too simple a recipe! Here’s how you can make it:
FOR MATAR (Matar is the Hindi word for Peas!)
1 cup dried white peas (these look like chickpeas but are smaller in size)
1 large onion (finely chopped)
2 tomatoes (finely chopped)
1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
1 green chili (minced)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons roasted cumin powder
1 teaspoon roasted coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon tamarind paste
1 tablespoon mint-coriander paste (fresh mint leaves and fresh coriander leaves ground together into a fine paste)
1 teaspoon rock/black salt
1 teaspoon red chili powder
2 black cardamoms (crushed)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Salt (to taste)
1 liter water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Coriander leaves, ginger julienne (to garnish)
FOR KULCHA (Fermented Flat Bread)
1-1/2 cup refined flour
1/4 cup yogurt
1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
1 cup warm water
Salt (a pinch)
1 tablespoon coriander leaves (chopped)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
To make Kulcha, mix 2 tablespoons flour with yogurt, baking soda, vinegar and salt. Set aside for 10 mins,
Add this mixture to the remaining flour, and adding a little warm water, knead into a soft dough. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside for 1 hour, or till the dough doubles in size. (Since we are not adding yeast to this dough, and fermenting it with the help of baking soda and yogurt, Kulcha will remain soft for a long time.)
Grease your palms with a little oil and divide the dough into lime sized balls.
Using a rolling pin, roll out the balls into circles, around 4-5 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch in thickness.
Preheat oven at 175 degrees Celsius. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or use a Silicon baking sheet.
Sprinkle some coriander leaves over each Kulcha and press it down with your fingers.
Arrange on the baking tray and bake for 5-7 minutes or till the Kulcha puffs up.
NOTE: You can store these flat breads for 4-5 days in refrigerator. So you can make batches in advance and use as and when required. You can also cook these Kulchas on a griddle, flipping over before brown spots start appearing on each side.
To make Matar, soak the dried white peas in water for 6-7 hours. Drain the water and pressure cook the peas with turmeric powder and 1 tsp salt till the peas are soft.
In a bowl, mix together tamarind paste, mint-coriander paste, 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder and rock/black salt. Add a little water to make a Chutney.
Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. When they start spluttering, add ginger-garlic paste and saute for a minute. Now add green chili and chopped onion, reserving a little for garnish.
When onion turns translucent, add the chopped tomatoes, again reserving some of it for garnish.
When tomatoes become tender, add crushed black cardamom, cinnamon powder, roasted cumin powder, roasted coriander powder, red chili powder, freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste.
Add 1 cup water and cook covered on high for 3 minutes.
Now add the cooked dried white peas and mix well with the rest of the ingredients, mashing it gently with a spoon as you stir. When all the ingredients have mixed well, add the tamarind chutney that we had prepared. Mix well.
Pour a ladle full of the curried Matar in a bowl and garnish with chopped onion, chopped tomato, chopped coriander leaves and ginger julienne.
Serve steaming hot with Kulcha. And dig into bliss on a cold, winter morning! 😉
Eat, drink and be merry! 🙂
NOTE: This dish can be made 100% oil free. You just need to add the cooked peas to a pan, add a little extra water and cook for another 5 mins with the chopped onion, tomato, ginger-garlic paste and green chili. Also, skip adding cumin seeds. Follow the rest of the procedure to get a delicious, guilt-free, healthy and wholesome meal.