Today I bring to you, a very popular sweet Indian dessert dish (not for the faint hearted). Gulab jamun are a favourite Indian dessert – they’re like super-soft doughnuts holes made with powdered milk and soaked in cardamom sugar syrup.
So I’ve tried to attempt this dish. 3 times and each time there would be a problem, if it’s not the colour, it’s the toughness.
So why are my gulab jamun tough?
The question that everyone who makes them at home asks. If you’ve had them at weddings or restaurants, you know that good gulab jamun are super soft and spongy, allowing them to soak up the syrup deeply.
The important keys to getting them perfect in your own kitchen, I found, are as follows: a light hand, a really loose sticky batter, and the most crucial, the temperture: Never fry the balls in hot oil, the oil must not be too hot nor too low in temperature, a medium temperature will be the best. If you fry the gulab jamun at high temperature the outer portion will brown soon, but the inner portion will remain uncooked. (It’s happened to me before) 😭Also do not crowd the pan, fry them in batches.
You can use less milk if you prefer to shape them by hand, as is traditionally done – just start with about 3/4 tablespoons of milk and oil your hands to shape them. But they won’t be as tender also keep in mind that the dough gets drier and heavier as it sits, and if they are heavy before cooking, they will be tough after cooking also If you work the dough too much, it will be tough.
So guys don’t be disheartened if it doesn’t come out perfect first time around. Like they say if you don’t successed the first time, try, try again.
So let’s move along, to how to make this sweet dessert.
30min Duration / 15min Cook Time / 15min Prep Time / 10 gulab jamun Servings
For sugar syrup:
2 cups water
1.5 cups sugar
3-4 green cardamoms, husked & crushed or powdered
A pinch of saffron (optional)
1 tsp rose water (optional)
For gulab jamun:
1 cup skim or full-cream milk powder
1/4 cup all purpose flour or maida
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup whole milk
oil, for frying
To make the sugar syrup, combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Crush cardamom pods by pressing on them with the flat side of a chef’s knife, and add them to the saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves, then boil for one minute and turn off the heat.
In a medium bowl, stir together milk powder, flour and baking powder. Add butter and use your fingers to work it into the dry mixture until well incorporated. Add milk, using a very light hand, stir until just combined. Let mixture stand 10-15 minutes (it will thicken up).
Meanwhile, heat oil in a shallow saucepan to a depth of 1″ over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add a drop of batter to the oil to test to see if it is the right temperature – if it sizzles but doesn’t immediately change colour, it’s ready. If it floats and starts to brown immediately, it’s too hot. Tip: (remove from burner for a minute and reduce the heat; test again before proceeding). Note: If it sinks and doesn’t sizzle, it is not hot enough.
Drop dough by tablespoonfuls into the hot oil, cooking about 5 at a time. Using a slotted spoon, turn gulab jamun frequently until well browned and doubled in size, 4-6 minutes. Remove gulab jamun as they are reading, letting excess oil drip back into saucepan. Add immediately to syrup. Let stand in syrup until ready to serve. Repeat with remaining dough.
You can serve these delicious melt in mouth Gulab Jamun warm, cold or chilled on their own, garnished with pistachio.