First and foremost is my Dance show that’s dated in the last week of November. The practice for that is in full swing and I am dancing my feet off to get the “tukdas” and “taals” right. I am way behind all my fellow dancers in the group and I need to buckle up to match their speed in the show. So I am dancing three days a week after which I am dead for the next 10-12 hours.
Second thing is preps going on for India trip this year. All the flight bookings, hotels, small excursions planning, gifts + more shopping for myself ( 😀 ) is another painstaking task which all of us living abroad has to go through. It gets so overwhelming at times, making two separate lists of what you have to buy for the family there and another one for the stuff that you are going to get from India. And this time I have a long list of all the props I am going to look for in the old markets of Delhi and Banaras. That is the only interesting exercise, but uses quite a lot of brain power I tell you !!
Some other things keeping me busy are my driving lessons, Bloggers’ Buzz tasks, usual Office work etc. And to top it all my laptop has been dead since last week, and I have been calling Dell tech support almost every day but we all know how these things work. All in all, am all snowed in under after effects of my own little adventures… But I will come back to blogging, very soon.. eventually.. 🙂
Phew !! Now when I am done with my outbursts, I need something sweet to distract and comfort me. I am one of those who find their comfort in eating. Eating food which I love, mostly sweet, and this brings me to the recipe of today which is Gulab Jamun. I would proudly tag it to be “the most loved Indian sweet” in the world, if you allow me to say that. I haven’t seen a single person in my life who wouldn’t love this melt in mouth piece of ball. Even the most ardent sugar-haters, would weaken their knees just on the name of it. And the new trend of eating it with Ice-cream… !! God only knows who invented the combo, but people do swear that its a match made in heaven. Still I enjoy it on its own, ducked in loads of syrup.. and moreover these succulent little devils anyway make me crave for more and more every time I have them.
I don’t make them that often at home, have only done them 3-4 times till now. But every time I do, I make sure I have a group coming over to finish them off since otherwise I make a batch and eat it all on my own and regret hugely afterwards. Of course it does no good to my waist line… 🙂
Making gulab Jamun from scratch is not fuss free I would say, but it’s not that difficult either. If you are only willing to make a few say around 7-10 balls then its surely no big deal and it wont take a long time. The whole trick is to get the right consistency in the gulab jamun dough. If you get it right, then making these gulab jamuns is a cakewalk and you won’t ever feel like buying them from outside
To define the term – Gulab jamun, it is a cheese-based dessert, similar to a dumpling, popular in countries of the Indian Subcontinent such as India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh. In Nepal it is widely known as Lal-Mohan, served with or without yogurt.
Here I have made Gulab Jamuns with the help of milk powder but traditionally its made with Khoya or Mawa. Since we dont get khoya here and am not that keen to make it while spending hours in my kitchen, so I simply use milk powder. It gives almost the same result, sometimes even better since the consistency is even.
What you need?
- 1 cup milk powder
- 1/4 cup All Purpose flour (plain flour, maida)
- 3 tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter OR Ghee
- 1/4 cup room temperature whole milk
- Pinch of baking soda
- 1 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cup water
- 4 coarsely grounded cardamom seeds
- 1 tablespoon sliced almonds or pistachios for garnishing
- Oil for deep-frying
How to make?
Lets make the Syrup first:
- In a large pan, add water, sugar, and ground cardamom seeds and bring it to a boil.
Let the syrup come to a rolling boil and then let it boil for next 7-10 minutes. Remove it from the heat, strain and keep in a big wide dish/bowl.
Make the balls :
- In a bowl, mix milk powder, flour and baking soda. Add into it, the butter/ghee and mix well.
- Now gradually add milk to make soft yet a bit sticky dough. Let the dough sit for a few minutes. Ideally Milk powder should absorb the extra milk. And if the dough is dry, add more milk, since the dough should be soft and pliable.
- Knead the dough. Grease your hands with oil before working with the dough for smooth handling
- Divide the dough into about 20 equal portions and roll them into smooth and small balls, very gently.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium heat. The frying pan should have at least 1 ½ inch of oil. To test if the oil is at the right temperature, place a small piece of dough into the oil; it should take a minute to rise. If dough rises faster, oil is too hot; if dough just sits without rising, oil is not hot enough.
- Fry 5 gulab Jamuns at a time in the frying pan. These balls will expand almost double the size, so give them enough space.
- It should take about 5-7 minutes to get the balls fried at right temperature. While frying keep rolling the gulab jamuns around so they are evenly browned. Fry until the gulab jamuns become almost dark brown. Take care not to burn them
- Take the balls out and let them cool off for a few minutes before placing in the hot syrup. Then gently place them in the bowl full of syrup. Again, take care to give each ball enough space, its better to use a wide dish instead of a round bowl.
- The gulab jamuns should sit in the hot syrup for at least 30 minutes prior to serving. Gulab jamuns can be kept at room temperature for about a week and up to one month when refrigerated. Do not freeze them, else they will disintegrate when re heat and loose all the taste and texture
My notes and some important tips:
- If the dough doesn’t come together easily, do not add any more ghee. You may keep adding a few extra drops of milk instead, until the dough is soft and comes together well.
- Once the dough is prepared and the balls are shaped, fry them on LOW heat. This ensures they are fully cooked all the way through. Frying them on high heat will result in hard centers as the jamuns will not get fully cooked. Heat the oil on high and then reduce to medium. Make sure you drop only enough jamuns to maintain this heat throughout the cooking process.
- Make sure the sheera/syrup that you will be adding the fried jamuns into is at ROOM TEMPERATURE or just WARM. It should not be boiling hot when you add the hot fried gulab jamuns. Adding hot jamuns to very hot syrup will tighten and shrink them and they will lose the lovely texture and shape.
- You may play with the quantity a little bit to decide on the proportion that works out best for you since it depends on the quality and brand of the ingredients used.
- Too much baking soda will cause the gulab jamuns to get too soft or they will break apart when frying.
- Don’t place the gulab jamuns in the syrup immediately after frying. This will cause the gulab jamuns to lose their shape and become chewy.
- When making the dough, knead it until its smooth. Make sure to add only a tsp of milk at a time until it comes together. You should be able to roll out smooth balls with your palms. If too dry or too wet, you will have difficulty rolling them out into balls and eventually into gulab jamuns.
- While kneading the jamuns into smooth balls, if you find lots of wrinkles on the surface of the jamuns, then you know that your dough is too tight. Add a few tsp. of milk to the dough, knead it again until smooth.
- If, in spite of precautions, your Jamuns have come out hard, then microwave them for few seconds before serving each time.
- Using the same recipe, make slightly smaller balls. After the gulab jamuns are soaked in the syrup, take them out of the syrup and roll them in ½ cup of unsweetened coconut powder and serve. Also, you can substitute coarsely ground almonds for the coconut powder.
Using the same recipe, make about 10 larger gulab jamuns. Cut the gulab jamuns in half when they are at room temperature. Garnish with sliced almonds and pistachios.
Make sure you are using a good quality FULL-FAT milk powder. Lesser qualities or low-fat powders may result in gulab jamuns which have a hard center.
P.S. I have tried to provide as much info as I could gather to get the perfect results and make this task a simpler one for you. Still if you have any query, please do leave a comment and I will try to answer in as much detail as possible.
For more Diwali Special sweets recipes, visit this Page here.