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Matar or Chola Kulcha

A popular Indian street food of a soft flat bread and a spicy, sweet, sour salsa like accompaniment of mushy white peas, onions and tomatoes.
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 11 hrs 45 mins
Course breads
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6 Kulchas


For the Khameer or Pre-Ferment :

  • 1/2 tsp instant or active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup water

For Kulcha Dough :

  • All of the Khameer/ Pre-ferment
  • 1/2 tsp instant or active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp plain yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ghee or soft unsalted butter
  • more water, if needed for a soft dough

For the Topping :

  • Nigella seeds or black sesame seeds
  • Kasuri methi (dried Fenugreek leaves) or chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • Ghee or unsalted butter for cooking the Kulchas

For the Matar or Chola :

  • 2 cups white peas or chickpeas soaked overnight
  • Enough water to cook the peas or chickpeas
  • pinch Aof baking soda
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 2 fresh Green chillies finely chopped (to taste)
  • 1 large tomato finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh coriander leaves/ cilantro
  • 2 tbsp finely sliced ginger juliennes
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • Salt to taste

For the Green-Mint Coriander Chutney :

  • A handful of fresh coriander leaves
  • A handful of mint leaves
  • 2 or 3 green chillies
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • Salt to taste

For the Sweet and Sour Tamarind Chutney :

  • 1 cup tamarind pulp thick
  • 3/4 - 1 cups powdered jaggery
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed seedless dates finely chopped
  • 2 tbsps golden raisins chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsps chilli powder or to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • Salt or black salt to taste


For the Khameer/ Pre-ferment (previous night) :

  • Mix together the yeast, water, sugar and all-purpose flour till smooth in a big bowl. Cover and leave on the kitchen counter overnight to ferment.
  • If you want to make Kulchas for dinner, then do this early in the morning and allow it to ferment for about 8 to 10 hours depending on your ambient room temperature. A word of caution though - Kulchas can be a little heavy for dinner.

For the Kulcha Dough (some time next morning) :

  • The Khameer/ pre-ferment should have risen well and will appear quite stringy. Mix in the other 1/2 tsp of yeast, all-purpose flour, yogurt, salt and a little water. Knead till you have a soft, sticky and loose dough. You don’t need a mixer for this. Your hand or a dough whisk is enough.
  • Add the ghee or soft butter and knead once again till well incorporated. Shape into a round and leave in the bowl. Cover loosely and let it rise till almost double in volume. This should take between an hour and two.
  • Knead the dough lightly to de-gas it. Then divide into 6 equal portions. Lightly flour your working surface, if required, and roll out each portion into a circle or oblong of less than 1/4 “ thickness. Sprinkle some Nigella seeds and dried fenugreek leaves or coriander leaves/ cilantro and lightly press into the rolled out dough.
  • Heat a griddle or flat pan and place the rolled dough on it. Sprinkle a little water on the sides of the griddle/ pan (not on the dough) and cover. Cook the flat bread for a minute or so. Now remove the cover and cook on the other side as well. If not serving immediately, cook till here and keep aside. When ready to serve proceed further with cooking in ghee or butter as follows.
  • Brush some ghee or unsalted butter on both sides and cook until golden brown and crispy on both sides. Repeat with remaining portions. Serve hot.

For the Matar or Chola :

  • I cook dried peas, beans and lentils in the pressure cooker. Use whatever works for you but ensure the peas or chickpeas are cooked till really soft and almost mushy. Cook the white peas or chickpeas with enough water and a pinch of baking soda till soft and almost mushy. Drain the water. Discard the water. Let it cool completely.
  • Add salt to taste to the cooked peas/ chickpeas and using a large spoon or a masher, break down till quite mushy. There should be no whole peas or chickpeas but do not puree. It should have a slightly chunky texture.
  • To make the Matar or Chola, put the mashed mixture into a bowl. Add the chopped onion, tomato, green chillies, coriander leaves, and mix everything together. Also mix in cumin powder and more salt if required.
  • To serve, transfer this mixture to a serving bowl. Transfer individual portions of the Matar or Chola on to plates and garnish with a little onion, green chillies, tomato, ginger, a pinch of roasted cumin powder, and coriander leaves. Top with drizzles of green and sweet and sour chutneys. Serve it with hot kulcha.

For the Green Coriander-Mint Chutney :

  • Grind together a handful of fresh coriander/ cilantro leaves and tender stems, equal amount of mint leaves, green chillies, salt and a dash of lime juice with very little water till smooth.
  • This chutney should be savoury, on the spicier side with a little tang and a bit watery in texture. Adjust all the ingredients to taste. This will keep in the fridge for a week.

For the Sweet and Sour Tamarind Chutney :

  • Put the tamarind pulp and jaggery in a pan. Over medium heat, stir the mixture till the jaggery dissolves. Now add all the remaining ingredients and cook till the chutney thickens a bit and takes on a shiny appearance. Allow to cool and use as needed. This chutney keeps in the fridge for a while.
  • The amounts of tamarind, jaggery, chilli powder and salt may be adjusted as required. This chutney should be sweet, sour and spicy.