Here s hoping that my experiments in the kitchen get more interesting and challenging in the new year. I am starting my first post of the year on a sweet note from homeland - Gulab Jamun.
This is likely by far one of the most popular and common Indian desserts that's familiar to most people around the world. It finds its place in every wedding, festival and for those of us in the USA, in every Indian buffet. But its almost impossible to get bored of it. It is made of a dough consisting mainly of milk solids, rolled into a ball, deep fried and is then put into a flavored sugar syrup. Its best served warm and pairs fairly well with ice cream. 'Gulab' means rose and usually but not always the sugar syrup is flavored with rosewater and hence the name.
Since its a favorite dessert of ours and hubby dear has been badgering me to make these for a very long time now, I thought what better time to get down to it than New Years.
Pretty much all Indian stores sell the instant gulab jamun mix that you can use. Since my hubby isn't very fond of those and I for one love putting the ingredients together, decided to make it my own. There are variations in the kind of milk solids used to make the dough. I am making mine real simple and easy.
The below measurements makes about 20-25 jamuns depending on how small or big you roll them. You want to keep them small since they tend to almost double in volume once fried and dropped in the syrup.
Milk powder - 1 cup
All purpose flour - 1/4 cup
Baking soda - 1/8 tsp
Milk - 1/2 cup (I used a little less than 1/2 cup)
Oil for deep frying
Butter or oil to grease your hands ( makes it easier to roll the dough)
For the syrup
Sugar - 1 1/2 cup
Water - 2 cups
Cardamom seeds - 3-4
Chopped pistachios for garnish
Coconut flakes for garnish
In a saucepan over medium heat add the sugar and water to make the syrup. Drop in the cardamom seeds to flavor the syrup. Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer, until it thickens slightly. When touched with your fingertips the syrup should feel sticky but be careful not to burn yourself. You could also add a little rosewater to the syrup if you like.
Mix the milk powder, flour and baking soda in a small bowl. Slowly add the milk to it to make a slightly sticky dough. The dough tends to dry faster, so keep them moist with milk. I first added about 1/4 cup milk and mixed it well and let the dough sit for about 2-3 minutes. It will absorb the milk by this time and tends to dry up a bit. Now add a little more milk, and try rolling the dough into small balls. If the balls don't turn out smooth without cracks then the dough is dry - Add more milk. Also be sure to grease your hands with some oil or butter to roll the dough.
Before you start to roll the dough heat some oil for deep frying. You don't want your oil too hot for this. When you drop the rolled balls it shouldn't immediately come up. If it does, then your oil is too hot and it will just burn the outside and the inside wouldn't be fully cooked. So do some test runs once the oil is heated. Somewhere between a low and medium setting worked for me.
Once the the dough has been rolled and your oil is ready, drop them 3-4 at a time depending on how big a pan you are using and deep fry the balls. Keep them moving in the oil so that they are evenly cooked. Once they turn a medium brown remove them and place on a liner to drain the oil. Wait for a couple of minutes and then drop the fried balls into the sugar syrup. Let them soak a while in the syrup before serving. Garnish with pistachios or coconut if you please and serve warm or cold.
Tip: Add some rosewater to the syrup for the flavor and aroma.
bon appetit !!!