Move Over Chole Kulche, Tuck Into Jammu’s Kachalu Kulcha
Image Credit: Instagram @artibisoyi77

Nestled on the banks of river Tawi, Jammu is a mountainous city well-known for its breathtakingly scenic landscape and, of course, the Vaishno Devi temple, one of the biggest Hindu pilgrimage sites. However, little is known about Jammu’s cuisine, which is as variegated as its topography. 

A big part of Jammu’s culinary style is influenced by Punjabi cuisine. In fact, many moons ago, Jammu was a part of undivided Punjab. The founder of Dogra Dynasty (1846-1952), Maharaja Gulab Singh was a noble in the court of Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Lahore. Even after all these years, you would continue to find a bit of Punjab in Jammu, be it in the accents of locals, the common love for lacing everything with ghee, or the greasy kulchas and bhaturas.

That’s right, kulchas are a ‘Jammu thing’ too. Just like in Amritsar, you find various dhabas with tandoors and tawas, doling out a range of fresh Kulchas with sabzi and achaar. One of the most popular Jammu Kulcha you may have tried or would have heard about is Kalari Kulcha, the pillowy-soft kulcha is stuffed with locally-produced kalari cheese and herbs. The bright white Kalari cheese is indigenous to the Udhampur district of Jammu, and it is akin to melted mozzarella cheese.  Other than Kalari Kulcha you must also try the Kachalu Kulcha. Kachalu is a Hindi word for colocasia, in some parts of the country Kachalu is also referred to as arbi. The tuber looks a lot like potatoes but the flavour profile is very distinct. Kachalu kulcha is Kulcha stuffed with spicy Kachalu mix.

To make the Kachalu, boiled colocasia is peeled and cut. It is then mixed with a  range of spices like amchur, ajwain, garam masala, rock salt, red chillies powder, green chilli and garlic paste, tamarind water, lemon juice. Everything is nicely tossed together with chopped onions and tomatoes. The consistency of this Kachalu mix is similar to that of chole that you have with chole kulche of Delhi, thick and pasty.  

To make kachalu kulcha, a kulcha, which is a soft, leavened bread held at the centre of the palm, is stuffed with kachalu mix and served with a drizzle of lemon juice and a sprinkle of chaat masala.  

You may like to think that the best companion to your kulcha is chole, but once you try this unique combination, there is just no looking back. The kachalu mix is so scrumptious, it can be had without a kulcha too.

Have you tried the Kachalu kulcha, or would like to have it soon? Do let us know.