The Muzaffarabd Azad Kashmir is noted for its traditional bakery. In Muzaffarabad bakery shops are elaborately laid out. Bakers sell many kinds of crispy, flaky breads and puff pastries with poppy seeds. Below is a story of Kashmiri Kulcha typically consumed in breakfast in Pakistan held Kashmir.
Karim chacha, or “Babu Ustad” as everybody in the market calls him, has been running a little kulcha shop close to Muzaffarabd’s upper adda for more than 30 years. For whatever length of time that he can recall that, he has heated and sold “Kashmiri kulchay” at the little shop.
The Kashmiri kulcha – a round, sweet and salty, scone like shaped bread – is a well known breakfast item in Muzaffarabad, Azad Kashmir and parts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa near Kashmir, for example, Mansehra and Abbottabad. There, individuals eat it with tea in the mornings and there are shops which prepare and offer the kulchay only. In Muzaffarabad, it’s typically Kulcha shops that prepare kulchay as a side business.
In any case, Karim Chacha, who is from the Mirpur region of Azad Kashmir himself, knows firsthand that individuals having a link to Kashmir and the northern zones, who have moved and settled in Muzaffarabd, are dependably looking for their most loved bite and his shop is one of the spots they visit to get their fix. Here and there, individuals going abroad purchase the kulchay to take them along on out of the nation, says Iqbal Khurram, Karim Chacha’s student at the shop. This is on the grounds that the kulchay stand the trial of time and can be kept for a long time, not at all like other Pakistani pastry kitchen items.
“The kulchay don’t turn sour since they are dry,” Iqbal, who is initially from Muzaffarabad, says. “They can be put away for a considerable length of time.” Over the street from Karim’s kulcha shop, there’s a one-room shop with no billboard up best to distinguish it. Be that as it may, there’s a little, old glass grandstand roosted over a white table at the shop’s front. The exhibit is loaded with Kashmiri kulchay. At the back of the shop close to the earth stove, or oven, Muhammad Akbar is caught up with making batter for kulcha. He says he began heating the kulchay two years back.
“Diabetic patients purchase and eat the kulchay frequently, on the grounds that the kulchay don’t have, or only have little sugar in them,” he says. Still, the client base is constrained as is the supply. Karim prepares a cluster of around 10 dozen kulchay consistently. Iqbal plans even less: around 6 dozen.
Unique pastry with a unique method
“Now and then clients come and purchase a few dozen kulchay, at that point I set up another cluster,” he says. In any case, that doesn’t occur too regularly, he says. Additionally, at Rs 120 per dozen, the rate is twofold that of a similar item in Azad Kashmir. Akbar says he learnt the heating formula for the kulchay from a specialist, or a “karigar.” That’s a necessary step, because the way toward preparing the kulchay is not the same as heating conventional naan and roti. It much rather ressembles the work done at bread kitchens.
The kulchay are set up in a standard tandoor oven, utilized for heating naan and roti, yet the procedure is tedious and requires exertion, Bashir says. Initially, the oven is pre-warmed. At that point the gas is cut off. The mixture is placed in the oven, secured and left to prepare for three hours. The time perspective means normal ovens can’t heat the kulchay amid crest lunch and supper hours. At Bashir’s naan shop, the kulchay are prepared from 5 pm onwards, according to an estimation of what the demand will be..
Indeed, even the batter is arranged in an unexpected way.
“It’s a totally unique formula. Not at all like customary naan and roti, there’s no water engaged with setting up the batter,” Akbar says. “The ghee does all the heating.” Ghee and fine wheat flour are the principle fixings utilized for setting up the kulchay, with only a smidgen of preparing powder and yeast. Three kilograms of wheat flour and one kilogram of ghee are required for setting one up kilogram of kashmiri kulchay. All in all, this unique bread is a true wonder of Kashmiri bakery. Very hard to find abroad, if you one day come across Kashmiri kulcha, I strongly recommend you try one and taste for yourself what so many have grown to love. A unique wonder from the world of Pakistani bakery.