I am back. Just like a child who is afraid to go back to school after a break - not wanting to go for the fear of teachers, classes, homework etc., yet willing to go for friends and all the fun that she could have. I am in a similar mindset now!
Had a good vacation, got to spend the entire break with my parents, had the pleasure of seeing them catch up with my kids, touring around new places, eating some real good food made by mom - was total fun & relaxing!
But, when the thought of blogging actually struck me, I felt stranded. I really had no clue where to start or how to go about it. Somehow, made up my mind and gathered all the strength to start the journey again, with something sweet - a dessert!
Gulab Jamuns - deep fried milk/cheese balls soaked in rose flavored sugar syrup - is VJ 's absolute favorite. He is such a big fan of this dessert that he makes it a point to order it whenever we eat out at Indian restaurants. VJ loves fresh & warm jamuns, though most of the restaurant version are 1 or 2 days old which are obviously microwaved & served. Sometimes, the jamun 's exterior is so hard that you successfully break it, only to eat jamuns that are either uncooked or not properly soaked.
In the past, I have prepared gulab jamuns at home using instant mixes. But, for whatever reasons, VJ has never been happy with them. Instant mixes have always ended in soft (to mushy sometimes) jamuns (atleast for me) and quite frankly, I had no way to find where I was going wrong (or) how to make them better.
Couple of months ago, as I was blog hopping, I stumbled upon this recipe of making jamuns right from the scratch using milk powder and I was ecstatic! Since then, I just couldn't wait to try my hand at the recipe. Jamuns turned out to be so good that it held its shape better than the instant mix version.
Jamuns ended up having a perfect exterior, neither too soft nor too hard, but just right so that you could cut through it with a spoon to enjoy its juicy center! VJ thought these were the best home-made jamuns ever!
Complexity - Medium
Prep time - 25 mins
Cook time - 25 mins
Serves - 18-20 jamuns
Sugar - 1.5 cups
Water - 1 1/4 cups
Green cardamom seeds - from 4 pods
Saffron - few strands (optional)
Rose water - 1/8 cup (optional)
Full cream milk powder - 1 cup (I used DANO milk powder)
All-purpose flour - 1/4 cup
Baking powder - 1/4 tsp
Baking soda - 1/8 tsp
Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt - a pinch
Ghee, at room temperature - 3 tbsp
Whole milk, at room temperature - 1/4 cup (more or less, as required)
Oil for deep-frying
Bring sugar & water to a boil. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Let the syrup boil for 3-4 minutes on medium heat and remove from the stove. Let it cool and then, add powdered cardamom seeds, saffron threads, rose water. Keep it aside.
In a large bowl, mix milk powder, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom powder, salt really well. Add ghee and rub between fingers so that the flour mixture is moistened. Now, add required milk and mix to get a soft but sticky dough. Cover the dough with a wet kitchen towel and let it sit for 5 mins.
Heat oil in a kadai/frying pan on medium heat. While the oil is heating, grease your palms with ghee and start making balls out of the dough. Make about 15 - 20 balls of equal size and roll them into smooth, soft balls (without any cracks). Place these balls in a plate covered with a wet kitchen towel until ready for frying.
When the oil is hot enough, slowly drop the balls one-by-one into the oil and fry them until golden brown (or a shade darker as you prefer). Drain the fried balls in a paper towel and let them cool.
In the meanwhile, if the sugar syrup is cold, put it back on the stove for it to warm up.
Place all the fried balls in a flat, shallow pan and pour the sugar syrup all over the balls until it uniformly covers all the balls. Let it remain undisturbed for atleast 20 mins for the balls to soak all the sugar syrup.
- Do not knead the dough too hard as you would do with chapathi dough. Just mix the ingredients gently until it forms a dough.
- Always keep the dough/rolled balls covered with wet towel so that it doesn't dry up and having cracks all over. If the dough is dry, sprinkle little water / milk and mix it well.
- While rolling the balls, make sure they are smooth and have no cracks.
- Do not roll the balls too big, as it doubles in size after frying and soaking in sugar syrup.
- Oil should not be very hot. If the oil is too hot, the exterior of the jamuns cooks faster and ends up with a center that is not cooked enough.
- To check the readiness of the oil, just drop a small ball of dough and it should take a couple of seconds before it starts to bubble-up and raises to the top.
- Do not over-crowd the frying pan, as you need space to roll the balls for even browning.
- While frying, keep flipping the balls around for even browning.
- Sugar syrup should be warm to hot (not boiling hot), shouldn't be cold either.
- Fried balls needs to be cooled down before soaking in the sugar syrup, for it to hold its shape better.