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:
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.
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.