Difference Between Naan and Kulcha (With Table)

India is famous for its traditional cuisines. All the recipes made with bread, spics, stuffed vegetables are deeply intertwined in the culture of India. Different types of bread are very common, especially in North India, whether it be Chapatti, Naan or Kulcha. In traditional festivals, Naan and Kulcha play a very important role as it is served as a delicacy.

Now, these two are famous worldwide for their taste and texture. However, these look similar, but they’re a lot of differences between the two concerning cooking and the ingredients used.

Naan vs Kulcha

The difference between Naan and Kulcha is that the leaving agent used in Naan is yeast and yoghurt, which makes it soft and fluffy. While the leaving agent used in Kulcha is baking powder. Naan is made up of wheat flour, while Kulcha is made up of maida or refined flour. The ingredients used in Naan is yoghurt, milk, yeast and white flour. The ingredients used in Kulcha is spices, salt, refined flour, mashed potato etc.

Naan is a flatbread that can be baked and fried on a pan. It is leavened, which means leaving agent is used while making Naan. Naan can be found in many cultures and cuisines like Western Asia, Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent, Indonesia, Myanmar and the Caribbean. Naan may have originated in some other place, but in India, it has become one of the important flatbreads so much that almost in every traditional festival or in restaurants you will find them. It is made up of wheat flour. Its texture is smooth and fluffy. It is a thick flatbread served with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes.

Kulcha is a flatbread that is believed to be originated in the Indian subcontinent. It is most famous in Northern regions of India like Jammu, Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab region, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. It is made up of maida flour or refined flour. Leaving agent used in Kulcha is baking powder. Kulcha is stuffed bread that is made by mixing dough and different types of spices with mashed potatoes and vegetables. In Pakistan, Kulcha is also famous in Hazara and Punjab regions. It is eaten as a breakfast item.

Comparison Table Between Naan and Kulcha

Parameters of ComparisonNaanKulcha
IngredientsStuffed or Plain, wheat flour, yoghurt, yeast etc.Stuffed, spices, refined flour, mashed potatoes etc.
ShapeOblong or TriangularCircular or Round
Typesplain naan, butter naan, keema naan, cheese naan, garlic naan, etc.Gobi kulcha, aloo kulcha, pyaaz kulcha, paneer kulcha, and cheese kulcha
Leavening AgentYeastBaking powder
PlacesWestern Asia, Myanmar, Caribbean, the Indian subcontinent, Indonesia. Amritsar (Punjab), Jammu, Haryana, Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Pakistan etc.

What is Naan?

Naan is believed to be originated from ancient Egyptian civilization, Mesopotamia and south Asia. In Western countries, the available varieties are taken from south Asia. Naan is a Persian word taken from Iran which means any type of bread. The term Naan appeared in the English language in 1803, written by William Tooke’s travelogue. Naan has an Iranian origin, and it is believed that while cooking it on hot pebbles in ancient Persian civilization, this word has been originated.

In India, Naan is considered a thick flatbread. Naan resembles Roti and pita. Roti when it is unleavened dough and pita because it is leavened with yeast. Naan can also be cooked in a tandoor, so then it becomes Tandoori Naan. Naan is different from Roti because it is being cooked in Tandoor while Roti is cooked in a Tava. In place of yeast, baking powder can also be used. To enhance its flavour, milk and yoghurt are used so that its dough will be softer. After dough becomes ready, it is brushed with ghee, oil or water.

Naan is an important delicacy because it is served with other gravies or foods and is used as a scoop to eat them. A typical naan consists of wheat flour, salt, water and active dry yeast. The dough is kneaded, and then it is put to rest for some time so that it can rise. Once the dough rises, it is made into small balls. Then it is cooked or flattened. Some of the Naans that are famous globally are Amritsari Naan and Rohini Naan, and Garlic Naan. Naan can also be made into fast food by making it wrapped and filled with meat, vegetables, or cheeses.

What is Kulcha? 

Kulcha originated from Punjab i.e. Amritsar. Globally, Kulcha is also known by the name of Amritsari Kulcha. It is a flatbread that is made up of maida and refined wheat flour. It can be said as the next variant of Naan. Like Naan is stuffed, Kulcha is also stuffed with various kinds of spices, mashed potatoes and vegetables to add different flavours. Kulcha, like Naan, can be served with various curries or gravy or vegetables. Kulcha is stuffed only and can be eaten as a breakfast item also. It is a popular snack in the Northern region.

Kulcha is leavened with baking powder. It can be prepared in a tandoor or the oven, depending upon the situation. The ingredients used in Kulcha is mixed with hand properly and kneaded into a tight dough. Then the dough is covered with the wet6 cloth and left for at least one hour at a warm temperature. Then dough of the Kulcha rises a little but not much like Naan. The dough is kneaded again and again to make it into a round shape. Rolling pins are also used so that different layers can be created. It makes the texture and design of Kulcha beautiful.

Like Naan, it is also brushed with oil or clarified butter. But it is not necessary. It is mostly served with chickpea curry called chole. Chole Kulcha is one of the popular combinations to be eaten. There are different types of variants of Kulcha, like for preparing Dhoodia, Kulcha milk or yoghurt is used to knead the dough. This makes it very soft and rubbery. Sometimes Kulcha can be made plain also and can be served with the curry. Jammu’s Kaladi Kulcha, Awadhi Kulcha, Amritsari kulcha are very famous. Stuffings of Kulchas includes paneer (cottage cheese), potatoes, onion and other vegetables.

Main Differences Between Naan and Kulcha

  1. Ingredients in Naan include wheat flour, yoghurt, yeast etc. It is both plain and stuffed. Ingredients in Kulcha include spices, refined flour, mashed potatoes etc. It is mostly stuffed.
  2. The shape of Naan is Oblong or Triangular. The shape of Kulcha is Circular or Round.
  3. Types of Naan include Plain Naan, butter naan, keema naan, cheese naan, garlic naan, etc. types of Kulcha include Gobi kulcha, aloo kulcha, pyaaz Kulcha, paneer kulcha, and cheese kulcha.
  4. The leavening agent used in Naan is Yeast. The leavening agent used in Kulcha is Baking Powder.
  5. The places where Naan is famous include Western Asia, Myanmar, the Caribbean, the Indian subcontinent, Indonesia. The places where Kulcha is famous include Amritsar( Punjab). Jammu, Kashmir, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Pakistan etc.

Conclusion

Both Naan and Kulcha are flatbreads very popular in the Indian subcontinents as well as globally. Naan can be plain and stuffed. If Naan is stuffed with spices and potatoes, it becomes very much like the Kulcha. Kulchas are usually stuffed but can be made plain. Both the flatbreads can be served with curries and vegetables.

Both are used as a scoop to eat other food items like meat curry or paneer curry etc. Ghee or Oil are spread over them to make Naan and Kulcha delightful and tasty. Both are baked in Tandoor or the oven. Both Naan and Kulcha has an Amritsar version that is very popular, i.e. Amritsari Naan and Amritsari Kulcha.

References

  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10408398.2011.647121
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Aniketa-Horo/publication/342520635_Roti_and_chapati/links/5ef95a0045851550507b01f8/Roti-and-chapati.pdf

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