Tuesday, 11 March 2014

A little sugar wouldn't hurt.



I love to cook and bake. Period. Spending time in the kitchen is like a therapy. Not to mention the proud feeling that I experience every time I whip up something delicious on the first trial. I may not be the best cook(not yet), but I always appreciate the joy of sharing. Since this is my first recipe post, I thought may be we should start it on a sweet note. The one dessert that always has a special spot in my heart is gulab jamun. The first time I got my hands on these addictive sweet treat was at the age of 8. I still remember the taste of my first ever gulab jamun. I am salivating as I am typing these. The years went by and I grew up tasting gulab jamuns from various places but the biggest break through was when I actually made my own earlier this year. Everything does taste better when you make it at home. The best part is, I no longer have to yearn for store bought gulab jamuns. I can make them fresh and save up money. I shared it with some lovely people around me and the response was impressive. Finally, gulab jamun has become the first recipe I choose to share and probably because its my favorite too.

Traditional gulab jamun has khoa(milks solids) as its primary ingredient. The process of making home made khoa is painstaking and requires at least 2 hours. As I did not have the patience to make my own khoa, so I opted for a shortcut. My version of gulab jamun only requires about one hour from start to finish. Instant gulab jamuns without compromising the taste. Just the sight of gulab jamuns soaking in generous amount of sugar syrup is so lovely to look at. I am a sweet toothed girl and I am proud of it. I feel sad for those who think sweets are a sin but people who belong to the 'sweet tooth community' will definitely be on my side. Alright, I think I have rambled enough, lets get started. I am about to drool here.

Ingredients......

There is only one way to say this, don't mess with measurements dear. Measurements can make or break a dish, especially if you are working with a tricky one. Invest in a set of good measuring spoons and cups and they will stay loyal to you for a long, long time. You can get them at baking supplies stores and I got most of the ingredients for this recipe from there as well.

          To make the dough                                             
  • Full fat milk powder - 1 cup                                              
  • All purpose flour - 1/3 cup                                
  • Bicarbonate of soda - 1/4 teaspoon                   
  • Full fat milk - 2 tablespoons                                
  • Ghee/oil - 1 teaspoon
  • Pinch of salt
  • Oil for frying
        
          To make the sugar syrup
  • Granulated white sugar - 1 and 3/4 cups  
  • Water - 1 and 1/2 cups
  • Cardamom pods - 4 to 5
  • Rose water/rose essence - 2 to 3 drops

Lets start cooking......

Begin with the preparation of the sugary concoction as we need to allow time for it to cool down.
  1. Fill up a small pot with sugar and water and place it over a medium flame.
  2. Once the sugar has dissolved completely, add the cardamom pods and continue to heat the mixture.
  3. Stir and allow the mixture to come to a gentle simmer, forming bubbles around the pot.
  4. Let the sugar syrup come to a complete boil, reduce the flame and allow the liquid to become slightly thicker.
  5. Turn off the flame and add a few drops of rose water/ rose essence. No need to remove the cardamom pods because it enhances the flavor of the syrup. Finally, allow the sugar syrup to cool to room temperature.


While the sugar syrup is cooling down, we can start preparing the gulab jamun dough.
  1. In a large bowl add the full cream milk powder, all purpose flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
  2. Add in the milk and ghee/oil.
  3.  Continue to mix all the ingredients .Once everything is well combined, you will get a very soft and sticky dough (very sticky actually).
  4. At this point, make sure not to knead the dough because over kneading flour forms gluten. Then the dough will be like bread. We want soft and spongy gulab jamun balls.
  5. Apply oil generously in between your palms and form small balls depending on the size you prefer. I rolled mine into marble sized balls. The gulab jamun balls does expand a little while frying and after soaking in sugar syrup.  

* I got 20 marble-sized gulab jamun balls and you can double or triple the measurements to make more.


We are down to the last few steps before you indulge in your amazing creation. Lets start frying.
  1. Add oil into a deep frying pan and allow the oil to heat up on a medium flame. Turn down the flame to low. The easiest way to check if the oil is hot enough is to insert any wooden utensil or skewer and bubbles should form around them. 
  2. When you are sure the oil is hot enough, drop the gulab jamun balls (3 to 4 at a time) slowly into the frying pan and it should slowly rise to the surface indicating the oil is at the correct temperature.
  3. Fry them till they turn golden brown or even slightly darker to ensure they have cooked all the way through. Remove the fried balls onto a kitchen towel to absorb excess oil and transfer them into the prepared sugar syrup.
  4. I prefer to soak these gulab jamun balls for about 3 to 5 hours before serving because the longer it soaks, the softer it gets. But sometimes patience is impossible.


I hope you give these lovelies a try and share it with your family and friends. You can make them for any occasions or even on a casual weekend. I am sure you will get compliments. I would love to hear about your gulab jamun making experience. Get back to me anytime and leave a question or a comment. 

~M~