Saturday, October 24, 2009

Taste & Create XXIV: Gulab Jamun

Taste & Create is my favorite food event! Started by Nicole of For the Love of Food, T&C is a fun event in which participants are paired off and asked to create a recipe from their partner's blog.

The first time I was paired with Divya of Dil Se.. for Taste & Create was last October, so being paired with her again, exactly a year later, is great! Last year, I made Divya's Mushroom-Peas-Corn Pulao.

Searching through her recipes, it did not take me long to decide what to make: Gulab Jamun. Divya says that the name basically translates into "rose berries," which really doesn't tell you what they are. These are the little round balls of doughy goodness, sort of like small donut holes, but lighter and soaked in rose-flavored water. I'd had them once, at an all-you-can-eat Indian buffet with some co-workers at an out-of-town training. None of us knew what they were or what they were called, but you can bet we all had "all we could eat!"

These are something that I've been wanting to try...

Obviously I've never made these before, so I had to figure out what kova is...Divya said I could use powdered milk. Also, although her recipe didn't call for rose water, I distinctly remember the rose essence in these little treats, so I asked and she recommended 2 to 3 tablespoons rose water.

First, in calculating the powdered milk, I just got out my kitchen scale, looked for the 1/4 kg mark, which equals roughly 8 ounces. 8 ounces of powdered milk equals about 2 cups, and I was nervous about this; it seemed like a lot.

I poured milk in gradually, and ended up using almost 1 cup (which also seemed like a lot, but it just wasn't coming together). My dough ended up sticky (too much milk, not enough kneading?) and not very smooth, but I didn't know what else to do, so I just balled it up and let it rest under a towel. It really tasted pretty much like milky dough. I hoped for the best.

I think I let the dough "rest" for too long, and I didn't realize I was supposed to form the balls before resting... So the dough was sort of dry. I formed the balls and hoped for the best. And I really wished Divya were here to guide me through this...

As I got ready to make the sugar syrup, do you think I was able to find my precious jar of rose water? Nope. Just plain old sugar syrup for my dry, misshapen jamuns. Sigh. I only used 2 cups of sugar and water, because 3 cups seemed like a lot. *Note to self: should have used 3*

I got about 30 dumplings, and they are nowhere near as smooth or beautiful as Divya's:

Divya's Beauties, picture from her blog

But thankfully, although I'm sure they're the ugly ducklings in the gulab jamun world, and I probably made every mistake possible, they fried up well, nice and golden, (maybe a bit darker than golden) and the sugar syrup worked wonders!

Ugly Ducklings, my "gulab jamun"

Although mine turned out heavier and denser and somewhat doughier than I remember, I will definitely try these again, and hopefully Divya will come to my house and teach me.

Please? =)

Gulab Jamuns

For the dumplings

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour / maida
1 tablespoon Ghee/butter
1/4 kg Unsweetened kova (I used 8 ounces--about 2 1/2 cups--powdered milk)
1 pinch baking soda
Milk enough to make the dough

For the syrup

3 cups sugar
3 cups water
2 to 3 tablespoons rose water, optional
1 pinch ground cardamom

Add the ghee to the flour and rub in with fingers to form a crumbly mixture. Add the kova and baking soda. Sprinkle some milk just enough to knead into a soft smooth dough. The dough should have a very smooth texture. Roll into small golf ball-sized balls. Cover with a tea towel and allow to rest for some time.

Meanwhile prepare the sugar syrup. In a saucepan, add the sugar and water and bring it to a boil. Add the cardamom powder and rose water. Simmer until the syrup thickens.

In a heavy bottomed pot add oil to about 1 1/2 inches height. Keep the flame in low heat. Add the balls carefully and deep fry them in batches until they turn golden brown.This might take about 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the deep fried dumplings in paper towels. Drop them in the warm sugar syrup.

Leave aside for at least half an hour for the dumplings to get soaked in the syrup.


Divya Vikram said...

Hats off to you! I would definitely tell that this is one Indian sweet that is hard to make. And I have had disasters in making these. Yours never look like they were made for the first time. And sure I would come there to help u next time!! So happy that u were able to make gulab jamuns. Glad u liked them!

Just me said...

i have an indian friend and she gave me these gulab ...good..maybe too sweet for my taste:))anyway i like to try always new desserts...!

Katy ~ said...

I applaud your efforts. They look tempting.

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