Kalkal/kulkul (Indian Christmas Cookies)

Kalkal or Kulkul are fried cookies which are prepared in India during Christmas. I am not sure about the authentic historical facts of the origin of these cookies. But based on my readings, these were started by the the Portuguese in India. Baking was never part of Indian culinary culture. We never had ovens in our kitchen. So probably when Portuguese came to India, as per Indian festival culture they were forced to prepare their cookies by frying them at the occasion of Christmas and which they named as kal kal or kul kul cookies.

Originally, kalkal dough has egg along with other ingredients and it is kneaded with coconut milk. But I have omitted egg and have used normal cow’s milk.

While reading about Kal kal cookies, I found them very similar to our Indian traditional Shakkarpara where we add sugar in the dough instead of preparing sugar syrup separately.

Shakkarpara (second version)

The difference between Kalkal and Shakkarpara is that Shakkarpara is crisp sweet snack and kalkal cookies have crisp outer layer and are soft from the inside.

We never add egg in any kind of Shakkarpara recipe whereas in orginal recipe egg is added in kalkal dough.

Shakkarpara dough is kneaded with water and it helps in keeping Shakkarpara crisp. Kalkal dough is kneaded with milk and is soft from the inside after frying.

What is the reason behind this shell shape for these cookies? Honestly speaking, I didn’t care much to know. I really liked this unique shape and was excited to try them.


The sugar quantity in Kulkul was perfect for me. It was neither less nor overly sweet. But to give a Christmas atmosphere we can sprinkle some powdered sugar on cookies after frying and can reduce 2-3 tbsp sugar while adding in the dough.

I know I am a bit late to talk about Christmas atmosphere and Christmas cookies, but aren’t we always ready to give us some sweet treat..!!

Few points to remember:

  1. Don’t prepare very thick kalkals. We fry them in a rolled shape. They might remain raw from inside if they will be very thick.
  2. Fry them on sim heat, so that they are properly fried from inside also.
  3. For some crunch I have added samolina /rava in the ingredients. But if you are not comfortable, skip it and add same quantity of flour.
  4. These cookies can be prepared with wheat flour also. Wheat flour absorbs more liquid, so you might have to add milk slightly more than mentioned in the recipe.
  5. If you want to make larger kalkals, use comb in place of fork.
  6. While sealing the edges of kalkals, hold kalkal from both the sides instead of holding from the middle. Holding from the middle will ruin the shell shape.
  7. Don’t forget to seal the edges otherwise while frying closed shell shape will turn into open shell shape.

Ingredients :

White flour (maida) 120 gm

Fine powdered sugarΒ  50 gm

Suji/RavaΒ  22 gm

Powdered cardamom 1/2 tsp

Butter 25 gm

Milk 2 tbsp (reduce or increase a little if required)

Oil for frying

Process :

Collect all ingredients except milk in a pan.

With the help of your fingertips mix butter in the flour. After mixing, flour will become grainy in texture.

Add milk and prepare dough, cover it and keep it for resting for 15 minutes.

After resting time, divide the dough in equal parts and prepare tiny balls. Grease butter on the back side of the fork and prepare Kulkuls by spreading and rolling dough ball on it.


Seal the edges nicely by holding kulkul from the both ends. Prepare all Kulkuls in the similar manner. Heat oil in a pan and on sim heat fry kulkuls.

To give festive mood, sprinkle powdered sugar on kulkuls and enjoy your crisp and soft fried cookies with your friends and family members.


Published by

Deeksha Pathak

I like reading, watching movies, listening to music, doing some art and craft, cooking, baking and exploring new ideas. Baking is my new passion!!

111 thoughts on “Kalkal/kulkul (Indian Christmas Cookies)

  1. To be honest, it’s the first time I read that cookies can be fried. The story of how he arrived in India through the Portuguese, if it is interesting. Clash of cultures. The recipe is not difficult and the photos are enough to prove. A good weekend for you.

    1. Mac, even though In India we fry a lot, but still these cookies were new to me. Google is definitely wonderful in exploring new ideas and upto some extent making the world smaller.
      Enjoy your weekend!!

    1. That’s wonderful Monika… chalo yaadei taaza ho gayi !!
      Though it was my first attempt but preparing them was really fun and they tasted great.
      Thank you so much 😊 😊

    1. Thank you very much Vinutha😊i
      Of course you can bake them, but then the recipe will be different. You need to increase butter along with baking soda /powder.

  2. Never heard of these but Shakarpara? certainly! Never enjoyed them but it was regular in our homes during growing up years.

    1. Arv, I guess we all grew up with Shakkarpara without worrying about sugar, frying and white flour.
      I guess these cookies are also part of that tradition in the absence of oven in India.

      1. That’s the only overdose we all had when it came to unhealthy choices. Prepackaged junk was unheard and not available.

      2. But remember, we used to digest everything !
        Only Doordarshan, no mobile and no school van…so we used to play and walk everywhere. Homemade festive food and homemade sweets only.. good old days!!

      3. True. I guess each generation feels the same way. Probably, our ancestors had even less choices and it was all local cuisine. 😊

    1. Hi Oscar, you are absolutely right. While preparing Kulkuls, my friend was with me in the kitchen and we were having a wonderful time with chatting and cooking. It was sure a fun day in the kitchen!!
      Thank you so much πŸ€—πŸ˜Š

  3. These look delicious and your instructions are perfect! I think I might try to make them. Thank you so much for stopping by my page and liking my post. I appreciate it so much! I’m so glad to now visit yours <3

  4. An interesting holiday treat and one I’ve not experienced. We always make Mexican Churros for Christmas which I think is similar to Shakkarpara, so your Kal kal cookies would be a fun cook.

    1. Ron, I believe somewhere in all different cultures a few certain types of dishes are prepared more or less in the same way.Probably Kulkuls, Churros and Shakkarpara fall in the same category with the difference of their shape and name!!!

    1. I am truly humbled and grateful for the nomination.
      Right now I am slightly busy with personal commitments Will soon try to get back with all the required details.
      Thank you very much 😊😊

  5. Dear Deeksha, so happy to be back here and reading your beautiful recipes! And I feel so lucky right now – for my mother-in-law (a really sweet lady whom I love very much!) has asked me if I knew any good, Indian recipes – and I am sending your blog to her πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
    (which – oh, yummy yummy!! – means I am going to get to try your recipes for free!!!) πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
    Wishing you a marvellous week, dear friend, with full of sweet surprises! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    1. Dear Elena, I am so sorry for replying so late for such a beautiful comment 😘
      was extremely busy with medical emergencies.I really need sweet surprises.

      You made my day with such heartwarming,kind words. I am sure your mother in law is very fortunate to have you in her family. I hope that she would find recipes useful and interesting .
      Thank you once again Elena for your lovely, sweet wordsβ€οΈπŸ˜˜πŸ€—
      Wishing you too a wonderful weekend!!!

  6. Dear Deeksha, it is very important that our activity here does not stress us (as I know so well, from personal experience! ;)) There are enough stressful things in our life already! πŸ˜€ Believe me, I am glad to hear from you whenever you have the time and opportunity! But I do not want you to feel bad about spending time on your family, friends, or – yourself! πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
    I am deeply concerned to hear about the medical emergencies however, and I am sending my love and best wishes to you and yours all!
    I know some things about nature, herbs and health… please feel free to ask, dear Deeksha. πŸ™‚
    Health and blessings, my friend! πŸ€—πŸ’–

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