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Amritsari Kulche in Rohini

Saturday, 21 March 2009

We economists have a dirty secret. We’re quite clueless. No, really.

Take for instance, the case of amritsari kulche. The kulche are about as closely related to their Delhi counterparts as the average barrel-chested Sikh is to your wiry daalkhor UP baniya.

Born of a thick dough of maida layered several times over with ghee, stuffed (typically) with spicy mashed potatoes, grilled in a clay tandoor, and then generously smeared with butter, the amritsari kulcha lands on your plate as a piping hot, crispy, flaky flatbread that goes perfectly with sour tamarind-and-onion chutney and a gravy of mildly spiced chhole. It’s no wonder that a breakfast of kulche at the neighbourhood dhaba is about as much of a daily ritual in Amritsar as a visit to the Golden Temple – the latter probably made all the more necessary by the concomitant anxiety over your arteries.

Having located a solitary amritsari kulche shop in Rohini, an area of Delhi crawling with well-to-do Punjabis, an economist would glumly mutter words like “monopoly” and “high demand”, and predict outrageous prices, poor quality and bad service. Nudge him a bit more and he might brighten up with phrases like “supernormal profits” and “free entry”, and tell you that in short order you should expect the city flooded with amritsari kulche shops, with competitive prices, good quality, and flowing milk and honey.

Meet reality.

Break Fast Point, a modest shop located in the Prashant Vihar market in Rohini, is a debt for which it’ll be hard to repay Tania.

Run by Mukesh, the shop is devoted purely to catering to the neighbourhood’s burgeoning demand for amritsari kulche. Despite a constant stream of phoned-in orders, Mukesh does a good job of giving his walk-in customers personal attention, and after a short wait for a table, service is prompt. The kulche themselves are reasonably priced and delicious, very much on par with the ones we fell in love with on a recent EOiD trip to Amritsar. The six of us who landed in Rohini on a Sunday morning about a fortnight ago comfortably ploughed through two kulche each, along with glasses of lassi and cold drinks. A good kulcha is golden crisp on the outside without being too dry, and rests lightly in your stomach. I reckon the secret to both is the generous application of ghee (rather than oil) to separate the layers of the dough. Of course, getting the mix of spices in the filling right must also be crucial, but I doubt Mukesh would tell us the exact recipe for that!

Mukesh is originally from Amritsar, and set up a kulche shop in Chander Nagar in east Delhi more than a decade ago. Over time his business has deservedly expanded, and now includes three shops in different parts of town.

Yet, in a city brimming with Punjabis, I find it hard to believe how difficult it is to find a place that sells the Amritsar staple. Is it that Delhi’s Punjabis immigrated largely from west Punjab (now in Pakistan), while the penchant for a kulcha breakfast was localized to east Punjab? Is it that the dish is a recent innovation that is now migrating to Delhi?

I don’t know the answer, but I’m sure glad Break Fast Point cocks a snook at the dismal scientist in me!

Location: A-76, Shop No. 5, Prashant Vihar, Lancer Convent School Road, Delhi 85. Ph. 9810080082. The nearest Metro station is Rohini East. Map.

The other two branches are at: BK-1/4, Shop No. 2, Kaila Godam Road, Shalimar Bagh, Delhi 88 (Ph. 9212045475); and Shop No. 5, 30, Satnam Park, Main Road Chander Nagar, Delhi 51 (Ph. 22023203).

Prices: Rs. 45 for a plate of two kulche with the accompanying chhole and chutney.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. Sunday, 22 March 2009 4:32 pm

    Welcome back. Am posting it on my facebook page!

    • Tuesday, 24 March 2009 4:46 am

      Thanks Madhavan! What is the link to your facebook profile?

  2. Tania Kaushal permalink
    Sunday, 22 March 2009 10:51 pm

    It is good to see that a meek little dhaba in Rohini marks your comeback on the EOiD page..! nevertheless, the place is worth talking about simply beacause it reminds me comfortably of the heavenly amritsari kulchas we savoured at Amritsar. If not for people who can manage to hit this far-flung spot in Delhi… for people in the North and West Delhi, a nice morning meal awaits you…

    P.S : i’m not paid by the Kulcha Wala to write this… ;)

  3. Saturday, 11 April 2009 12:44 pm

    I live in Pitampura and am a regular at Breakfast Point. Though the stuff is good, I still cant forget the Amritsari Kulches I had at a roadside stall at Paschim Vihar. If I am not wrong, that was the first shop [!] to introduce Amritsari Kulche in the city in a big way. In 1998, he sold a plate of 2 kulchas, unlimited cholle, unlimited sabzi, chatni and unlimited butter for Rs. 50! Not sure if the shop is still there, but vividly remember the queue for kulches- on an october monday afternoon, there were some 35 people queued up for their chance, with a similar number eating out on dilipidated tables around!

    If someone happens to be near Paschim Vihar, do look out for this, it is on the side road next to the banquet White House…

    • Monday, 1 October 2012 2:46 am

      It is still there & is known by Baljeet’s. The guy has opened 2 shops in the nearby area & still runs that roadside that made him famous. The price is 80 bucks now but the hospitality & unlimited scheme still goes on. A must visit for the kulcha lovers. :)

  4. Saturday, 23 July 2011 6:46 pm

    uff, i just tried making some biryani myself rightnow. Tried.yes, and failed.. and somehow landed on ur blog shortly after. god plays some nasty pranks on ppl like me. probably the first time a photo of good food made me sick! specially wen i cant have some myself at the moment!
    but nice to know. will drop by the place when i visit delhi next.

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