Kulkul recipe is an integral part of Christmas among the Goan Catholic Community, where the culture is a combination of Indian and Portuguese influences. Kulkuls or Kalkals are cute and curly, sweet pastry bites, fried till they are golden and crispy outside but stay very soft and melt in the mouth inside. Sprinkled with powdered sugar, they make very pretty edible gifts too.
They are a South Asian substitute for Christmas cookies and are made in bulk by usually the women in the family sitting around a kitchen table, chatting and curling dozens of dough bites to be distributed to neighbours, friends and relatives.
The tiny dough balls are pressed at the back of a fork and then curled with thumb to look like small shells or snails that’s why one of the names given to them in Konkani language is ‘Kidyo’ .
My first introduction to kulkuls happened in college when one of my Christian friends brought some to share them with the class fellows around Christmas/New Year time. Not only the shape was very intriguing but one bite and I knew I would never forget this taste ever again. It was the simplest, sweetest, softest of cookies I had ever tasted. Nothing at all like the baked or packaged cookies. Of course I had to ask for the Kulkul recipe!
Around Eid or New Year, my daughters and I love to make these fried cookie bites in bulk as edible gifts but no matter how many we make, half of them are eaten long before we can pack them in jars. They are simply too good to resist!
-You can also bake them to avoid deep frying but the texture of baked version would be very different, not soft and moist inside. Still if you want to try, bake for 5-6 minutes in a preheated oven at 175 degrees C.
-Fry them at quite low heat because they get done in the wink of an eye and will get burnt very easily if the oil is too hot.
-As they cool down they become crispier and more firm on the outside. If you are thinking of packing them as edible gift, let the kulkuls cool down completely.
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup semolina
1/4 cup powdered sugar
A pinch salt
1/4 cup melted butter or ghee(clarified butter)
2-3 tablespoons milk
A few drops almond or vanilla essence
Oil for deep frying
This Is What You Do:
Mix flour, semolina and salt in a bowl.
Add butter/ghee. Rub with your fingers to get a wet sand like texture.
Add sugar, almond/vanilla essence and gradually add milk ( one spoon at a time).
Mix everything to bring the dough together.
Make tiny marble sized balls with the dough.
Take fork, press a tiny ball at the back side of the fork.
Now slowly roll it outwards with your thumb to curl up into a little snail shape.
Repeat with all dough.
Heat oil on low heat.
Add a few kulkuls at a time. Fry briefly till they turn golden and crisp.
Remove and drain on a sieve.
Sprinkle some more powdered sugar over them if desired.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Makes 2 dozen kulkuls