I don’t really remember where I had my first Amritsari Kulcha, I think probably in 1982-83. Over time, the rehdis (Clay oven carts) have got upgraded to shops and restaurants, the stuffings of the Kulcha have got a promotion from the humble alu to the more lavish paneer and mixed alu, gobhi and peethi, and the romantic legends attached to the Amritsari kulcha have proliferated! It’s hard for me not to drool at the mere thought, sight or mention of the Kulcha!
Ready money was never a problem for me as a kid. Enjoying the privilege of a daily allowance of Rs five every day as a 4th grader, having a working mother and a bicycle allowed me to explore every nook and corner of Amritsar (to the relief of my old Grandparents) for the plenty it had to offer. It was the perfect utilisation of my evenings, before mum dished out the routine spanking for not doing my homework and for all my pranks, which she did in between her weeklong ritual of writing emotional letters to my father on the warfront and cursing June 6th, not for operation blue star, but more for my b’day 🙂
Though enchanted with the Kulcha, I had somehow sidetracked it, lavishly treating myself with loads of other Amritsari delicacies like tikkas, champs, bheega kulcha ,Amritsari Macchi (fish) and special mutton curry at Bhai saab’s meat shop. But the Kulcha has always been number one on my wish list. Though the kulcha has journeyed through wide variations, the plain alu kulcha with all those khara masalas and spices has always ruled the roost.
A couple of days ago, a friend picked me up from work and took me to Ashok Kulcha wala for breakfast at Ranjit Avenue Market. Even though it was a working day I had to wait for 15-20 minutes to secure a seat. Once seated in the noisy din, a shout among different orders a “Penti rupey wala kulcha” (Rupees 35/- kulcha ) captured my attention and i immediately scanned the big flexi board for the kulchas on menu only to my dismay (This was expensive by any given standard in Amritsar where Kulcha’s start from Rs10 and go upto Rs 25 max). Curious to know i asked my friend about it. “A majestic, impressive, muti stuffed kulcha, crisp on both sides with a dollop of butter perched on it!” was the prompt reply of the connoisseur as if scoring a won over me. Anyway, we ordered this kulcha and soon had a revelation, a dream come true, when a perfectly oval shaped kulcha whose bulge and bulk the plate could not handle was served with Amritsari cholle and sides of piyaz in imli and aam ka achar . Wah! This was breakfast fit for Kings.
The service was quick though not reaching very high standards. As the first crunchy morsel melted in my mouth I wondered why on earth I had stayed away from these scrumptious kulchas for so long, and also wondered how many such joints I have missed so far. Time to give them all a try.
Rating out of 5
Food: 5.0, Ambience: 3.5, Service: 3.5 | Overall: 4.0
Meal for two: Rs 70 | Alcohol: No | Credit Card: No
Address: A-Block, Ranjit Avanue Market, Amritsar
– Aman Kahlon