I confess I have a sweet tooth.
But, my taste is more inclined towards traditional Indian sweets. And, in that too the favourite are Gulab Jamuns.
Although, the traditional method to prepare these orbs of ambrosia (don’t laugh, that is what they are) is by using mawa (the residue collected when we make clarified butter or ghee) there are times when I have no access to mawa and yet I crave these delicious sweets. It is at these times that milk powder comes to the rescue.
The Gulab Jamuns made with milk powder turn out splendid. Really, I kid you not.
You can partake in their yummy goodness with a dollop of vanilla ice cream or gobble them up as such. My recipe is fast and simple…and yes, it is pretty instant.
ORBS OF AMBROSIA (GULAB JAMUNS)
Ingredients for the sugar syrup
1 cup sugar
1 ½ cup water
3-4 pods of green cardamom (open them a bit)
1-2 drops (only drops, mind you) of lime juice.
1 tsp rose water (optional)
Method to make syrup– in a pan add the sugar, water, lime juice and cardamom pods.
Put this mixture on a high flame till it starts bubbling.
Then reduce the heat and let it simmer for a good 8-10 minutes. The syrup will change colour. From a transparent consistency, it will become slightly yellowish. After 10 minutes, you will get a slightly thicker syrup (not too thick though, it still needs to be drip consistency so don’t make it as thick as honey. We need half the consistency of honey). You can add rose water to the syrup at this stage.
Ingredients for the Gulab Jamuns
1 cup milk powder
2 tbsp all purpose flour (maida)
2 pinches of baking soda (use plain flavour Eno if you don’t have baking soda)
1 ½ tsp ghee/clarified butter
5 -6 tbsp milk (at room temperature or slightly lukewarm)
Oil for frying the Gulab Jamuns (traditionally ghee is used and you can use it too. I prefer refined oil as it packs fewer calories)
Method to make Gulab Jamuns
- In a bowl add the milk powder, baking soda and maida. Mix well.
- To this add the ghee/clarified butter. Mix it well till it reaches a clumpy consistency (you should be able to clump it in your fist)
- Add the milk and knead into smooth dough. This dough, due to the milk powder, will be sticky. Don’t panic or add more ingredients. It is supposed to be sticky. Knead till the dough turns soft and pliable, about 3-4 minutes. Make smooth dough and divide into round half inch balls. These are you jamuns.
- Heat refined oil in a wok (as much as you need for frying. These have to be deep fried). Keep the heat to low. Mind you, the oil should heat up but not reach smoking point. If it overheats the jamuns will burn on contact. So, test the oil after 5-7 minutes of slow heating. A trick to check the perfect temperature is to make one teeny tiny ball of the dough and drop it into the oil. If it swims up immediately, then the oil is done. If it sinks to the bottom, then oil needs to be heated a bit more.
- Once the oil is hot, drop the jamuns into the oil (about 3-4 at a time) and deep fry them gently. They burn very fast so keep an eye on them, turning them over frequently so that they cook and brown evenly.
- Once they turn a brownish colour, remove from heat and place on a kitchen paper towel to drain the excess oil. But, do not let them cool down. At this point pierce some holes into them with the help of a fork or better still use a toothpick. This will help the sugar syrup imbibe better into the jamun. However, be careful when you do this so that the jamun does not break or lose its shape. And, just 3 teeny holes are enough per jamun. If you make more then, the jamun may break after imbibing the hot syrup.
- Immediately immerse the jamuns in the hot syrup and let them soak for a good 1-2 hours. As the Jamuns absorb the syrup, they will swell up in size.
- Serve warm.