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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Gulab Jamun


Wheat Halwa, Savory Mixture, Balushai, Gulab Jamun, Theratti Paal, Maida Savory Biscuits, Thattai... these were just some of the items my mom made in huge quantities especially for Deepavali. She made it all with such enthusiasm and care that I look back in awe... mainly to share it all with friends, family and staff. We'd have tins and tins of leftovers after generous distribution, and snack on these goodies till pretty much New Year's every year!

I am not as adept or patient as my mom, however. So, we celebrated Deepavali: Festival of Lights in a simple way at home just a few days ago. I made the traditional family meal for Deepavali: pearl onion arachu vitta sambar, simple potato curry, thayir pachadi* and semiya payasam†

*thayir pachadi - raita like yogurt-based side-dish which has many interesting variations in south Indian cuisine that I'd like to dedicate a separate post to it someday.
semiya payasam - a sweet dish made with roasted vermicelli, milk and sugar, recipe to come

But, just to stretch myself one little baby step at a time, I threw in Gulab Jamun to the festivities this year.

A few years ago, D gifted me this wonderful cookbook Lord Krishna's Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking by Yamuna Devi.

I treasure this book and refer to it for some authentic recipes that can be made from scratch easily with readily-available ingredients.

I love the little anecdotes and reminiscences the author scatters throughout the book while discovering and learning the recipes from royal families and temple cooks in India, some of which apparently were guarded for centuries. Makes me wonder how she got them to part with the recipes to share with the whole world...

Anyway, I usually follow the Gulab Jamun recipe given in this book rather than buying a boxed mix from Indian stores. I have nothing against the boxed mixes - I personally have tried Gits™ Gulab Jamun mix a few times and it turned out quite well. But, Yamuna Devi's recipe seems more satisfying to make... as always, I made one or two minor variations to the given recipe without significant change in taste :)

2½ cups water
2 cups sugar
1 Tbsp Rose water
1 or 2 pods of cardamom
2 cups instant nonfat dried milk powder
1½ Tbsp self-rising flour
½ cup warm milk, as needed
1 tsp ghee or unsalted butter

Ghee or Oil for deep frying (I simply used canola oil)

  1. Syrup:Bring the sugar and water to a boil over moderate heat, stir well till sugar dissolves, raise the heat to high and boil for about 4-5 minutes; off heat stir in rose water and crushed cardamom pod, set aside
  2. Jamun:
    • heat sufficient oil for deep frying to a moderate 225°F - if oil is too hot, the outside will char and darken before the inside is cooked
    • combine the jamun ingredients, adding a little of the milk at a time till the dough comes together soft and pliable
    • grease your palms and pinch off small portions of the dough and roll into about 24 balls
    • deep fry in batches till golden brown on the outside and cooked through on the inside, controlling the oil temperature appropriately as needed
  3. gently drop the fried balls into the syrup and allow them to sit for at least 2 hours before serving; refrigerate if serving cold

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  • At 1:45 PM, Blogger Asha said…

    Looks like you had a great Diwali east. Jamuns look delicious. I love her book too, very authentic, down to earth recipes!:))

  • At 2:34 PM, Blogger Nupur said…

    Those look absolutely gorgeous, Sheela! Thank you for sharing this recipe, it would be nice to make gulab jamuns from scratch.

  • At 3:04 PM, Blogger meeso said…

    Ahhh, the first Indian dessert I fell in love with and learned to make! These look so darn good I want that whole bowl to eat till I'm sick...and I do that too!!!

  • At 3:26 PM, Blogger Sig said…

    Wow, I love this picture Sheela! The jamuns look stunning! Hope you had a great diwali!

  • At 8:16 PM, Blogger Pragyan said…

    Even we had Gulab Jamuns for Diwali. Great to see a different varsion of my favourite mouth-melting sweet. First time on your blog, it looks great.

  • At 10:56 PM, Blogger KayKat said…

    That is an *awesome* picture!

    Happy (belated) Deepavali!

  • At 7:51 AM, Blogger Laavanya said…

    My mom used to always make jamuns for diwali. I have been looking for an easy made from scratch recipe with that milky taste (not found in box mixes). Yours looks very good. Thanks Sheela.

  • At 6:14 AM, Blogger Sandeepa said…

    The jamuns look too good. Can we do anything to substitute self rising flour ? I don't have any and don't want to buy a whole packet.

  • At 9:06 AM, Blogger Sheela said…

    Thank you, Asha, Nupur, Meeso, Sig - good to hear from you. Happy Deepavali to you all too!

    Pragyan, KayKat, laavanya: Thanks a bunch for your encouraging comments! Happy Deepavali to you all too!

    Sandeepa: Good point. Self-rising flour as you know is just all-purpose flour with some salt and baking powder. Now, it is hard to make just one Tbsp of self-rising flour at home, so, here is a small batch you can make: 1 cup all-purpose flour+1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder + a pinch of salt

    sift them together well, and use just what is needed for the recipe; store the rest as any other flour.
    hope that helps.

  • At 12:59 AM, Blogger Akal's Saappadu said…

    first time here, you've got a beautiful set of authentic and delicious vegetarian recipes.

    your Gulab jamuns make me mouth water, they look perfect.

  • At 3:44 PM, Anonymous said…

    hello Delectable, I've been searching for a proper gulab jamun recipe, and this may be it!

    PS I like your blog.


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