‘PleaseStopCallingMeVJ’, actor, host and satire pro Cyrus Sahukar just announced a delicious new venture, The Kulcha Bros! Together with his childhood buddies Samir Kocchar, Vikram Khanna, Nikhil Uppal and Angad Chachra, they’re on a mission to give the humble kulcha a new life through Mumbai and Delhi’s newest eatery.
The gang from GK (Greater Kailash) grew up hogging on kulchas, but when they realised the much-loved Delhi street food delicacy was impossible to find in Mumbai, they decided to do something about it.
Kulcha Bros’ freshly baked kulchas—served up hot with some old-school curries—will hit you right in the feels. With the monsoon in full swing, we can’t think of better time to have launched this OG snack.
As with most things Sahukar is involved in, there’s a twist, four to be precise. KulchaBros offers four types of kulchas: OG Pappe (the classic kulcha), Red Beat (beetroot kulcha “for the artsy-fartsy types”), a spinach kulcha called the Green Spinny for gym bros and Mazello; a masala kulcha for those who haven’t yet died of the summer heat. They’re all served up the traditional way or in on-the-go stuffed kulcha pockets.
We caught up with Sahukar today to find out a little more about the Kulcha Bros.
How did you decide to start Kulcha Bros?
During lockdown, me and my four childhood friends—Samir Kochhar who is also a host, Nikhil Uppal and Vikram Khanna used to talk every single day. We were discussing how much fun it would be to have kulchas, which we used to have as children. You used to get them on the roads and with matthra, which was actually very very healthy. It’s just boiled channa at the end of the day, so it’s high in fibre, magnesium, and protein. It’s not high-end food, but the flavour is fantastic! And you can barely find it in Mumbai. Why has kulcha never been given the importance that everything else has been? It’s inexpensive, it’s super tasty, and it basically doesn’t exist so we decided to build on it. We formed a company that my friend Nikhil Uppal worked really hard on.
So this has been in the works for a while?
It was a long process of a year and a half. We tried hundreds of kulchas. We went to Amritsar and all over Delhi and picked up kulchas from different places, tried to crack it. We collaborated with another friend and partner Angad Chachra and decided that we really want to back this. So we took the kulcha and reinvented it in a way that it becomes very easy to pack and travel with if you’re on the move. And it’s quite a meal actually, if you think about it.
We decided to also add old-school desserts and drinks to the menu. There’s kaala khatta, bubblegum faluda and so on—we tested everything properly, we’re trying not to use any plastic, we’ve got old-school glass bottles and stuff.
There’s no other snack like that around and it’s not deep-fried and all that. I’m not saying it’s super healthy or anything, but it’s a fun meal to have. And it basically started from the deep desire to have kulchas and never finding them in Mumbai. I don’t think anyone has ever eaten more kulchas than me. There was a time when I used to save up so I could run to this kulchas place near my house every day—I used to eat a plate of this every frickin’ day!
All four of us have been slightly obsessive about this. There are people who go to fancy restaurants when they go back home to Delhi, and we all just end up on the road. That’s how much we love the thing.
You’ve known your co-founders since school? What has it been like working with them?
It was a dream! It’s wonderful because you’re working with people you’ve grown up with. I’ve known these guys since the age of four. They all have their own work and businesses, but they’re now also working very hard on building this brand. A brand that actually has a certain level of old-school nostalgia but also reinvents the meal a bit. Some of us are pre-school friends. And then we’re classmates who grew up together and we’ve been best friends since.
Where did you and your buddies have some of your first kulchas?
In a place called GK-II in Delhi. We all lived in the same colony, seven minutes away from each other. There was one kulcha guy who lived behind a place called Savitri Cinema, which I think is a multiplex now. Those days, I used to walk across, I remember, and he used to make them warm, put a little butter on them, sprinkle some onion, nimbu and boom! You’re home. And I like the idea that it’s not unaffordable, you know what I mean?
What’s your pick from Kulcha Bros?
My favourite is the Mattra Kulcha and I really like the Keema Kulcha too. Also, we tried to get the Delhi butter chicken taste, and we’re working constantly to try and improve it. We just opened, and so we’re trying to do as much as we can with it.
You’ve got 4 different kulchas and they’re 4 kinds of crazy, tell us more!
We wanted each one to have its own crazy character and personality. One is more nostalgic and grumpy, the other is more excited. In the beetroot version, there’s no flavouring and colouring—it’s actual beetroot juice that goes into the making of the kulcha. In the others, we put herbs like methi, which go into the dough. It’s sort of how they make theplas in many ways.
Kulcha Bros is now live in Mumbai and Delhi, and you can find them on the ‘gram @kulchabros and on their website, www.kulchabros.com.