Saturday, March 23, 2019

Cook with Manali: Gulab Jamun (Rose Berries)

Every time I go to an Indian food buffet, I'm always scoping out the gulab jamun dish.  Even before I get my first plate of food.  If there is none, you're pretty much guaranteed that I won't be returning.  Luckily, this seems to be a standard dessert these days.  Because who doesn't like fried dough soaked in sugar syrup?  Answer: no one.  At least no one honest.

Note: The recipe below calls for 1½ teaspoons rose water in the syrup, and according to a good friend at work, this amount of flavoring is more of a Bengali thing.  If you're aiming for more of a northern Indian take, I'd probably back it down to just ½ teaspoon.

Gulab Jamun (Rose Berries)
Adapted from Cook with Manali blog

4 ounces milk solids (khoya/mawa), finely grated
¼ cup cake flour (maida)
Pinch ground cardamom
½ teaspoon baking powder
1½ tablespoons melted ghee, plus additional for forming dough
1 to 2 tablespoons warm whole milk, as needed to knead the dough
Oil, for frying
Chopped pistachios, for garnish

For the sugar syrup:
1½ cups granulated sugar
2 cups water
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1½ teaspoons rose water
¼ teaspoon pandanus essence (kewda/kewra) (optional)

In a large bowl, mix together grated milk solids, cake flour, ground cardamom, and baking powder. Mix until well combined.  Add melted ghee to the bowl.  Use your fingers to mix the ghee with the milk solids mixture.  Start adding warm milk, little by little, until it all comes together as a dough. Don’t knead the dough too much; just bring it all together to a smooth dough. Cover and let it rest for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, to a wide pan, add the sugar, water, ground cardamom, and lemon juice.  Bring it to a boil, then lower the heat and let the syrup simmer for 6 minutes.  Stir in the rose water and pandanus essence (if using), remove pan from heat, and set aside. Keep the syrup warm.

Now give a quick knead to the dough.  Coat your hands with ghee, and make small balls, about 15 grams each, working with soft hands and squeezing the ball between your palms to shape it.  Form a smooth round ball with no cracks.  Repeat with the remaining dough until you have formed 14 balls.

Heat oil in wide kadai or pan on medium heat.  Heat the oil for 5 minutes on medium heat and then lower the heat to medium-low.  The oil should be 300°F.  Add the dough balls to the oil, and fry until golden-brown, approximately 7 minutes.  Keep rotating the dough balls regularly with a spoon so that they get cooked evenly.  Once they are dark brown in color, remove them from the oil and drain on paper towels for 1 minute.

Drop the fried balls in the warm sugar syrup.  Let the balls soak in the syrup for at least 30 minutes.  Garnish with pistachios and serve warm or cold. You may also decorate them with edible silver leaf (chandi ka vark).

Makes 6 to 8 servings

No comments: