A few of you that are long time followers of my blog know that I am just crazy about Indian food. There is nothing better than sitting down to a meal of Chicken Tikka Masala and Garlic Naan. Despite my love for Indian food, the high caloric sauces that many of the entrees are served in means that we don’t have it as often as I would like. But every now and then we indulge in a delicious Indian meal. In my mind, an Indian meal is never complete without a traditional Indian dessert.
My absolute favorite is Gulab Jamun… spongy milk balls that are fried and soaked in rose scented syrup. If you have never tried Gulab Jamun, you are really missing out! If you like doughnuts, then you are certain to enjoy this delicious dessert. An Indian version of donuts soaked in a warm sweet syrup and topped with pistachios…in other words, heaven!
For the Sugar Syrup:
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
Few saffron strands
4 green cardamom pods, cracked open
2 tablespoons rose-water (1-2 drops if using essence)
For the Dough Balls:
1 cup milk powder
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoons baking soda
10-12 mixed nuts (cashews, almonds & pistachios)
1/4 teaspoon green cardamom powder
3 tablespoon ghee (or unsalted butter), melted and the cooled to room temperature
1/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
Oil for deep-frying
Nuts for garnish
For the Syrup: In a large sauce pan, bring water, sugar, cardamom pods to a boil. Let the syrup simmer for 1 minute then remove from heat. (The syrup should still be a little liquidy and not too thick.) Let the syrup sit for 5 minutes, then add saffron strands and rose water; cover and set aside.
For the Dough Balls: Place mixed nuts in a spice grinder and grind them into a fine powder (you should have about 2 tablespoons); set aside
In a large bowl, sift together the milk powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda, green cardamom powder and ground nuts. Add the melted ghee (or butter) to the flour mixture and rub between hands so that the mix is moistened. Start adding milk and mixing simultaneously to make a soft dough (The dough will be sticky). Cover the bowl with a cloth and let the dough sit for 5 minutes.
Add enough oil to a deep-sided pan to cover the balls completely while deep-frying. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and heat over medium heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees F.
While the oil is heating, divide the dough into 20 equal parts and roll into small, smooth balls. (The balls will double up after frying and soaking in syrup so do not make big balls.) Keep the rolled balls covered with a moist cloth until ready to fry.
Meanwhile if your sugar syrup is cold or luke warm, put it on stove again so that it warms up.You want the sugar syrup warm (not hot). Once warm, transfer the syrup to a bowl big enough to keep the fried balls completely submerged in the syrup.
Carefully add a few dough balls to the oil, being careful not to crowd the pan, and fry, turning frequently, until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove the balls from the oil and place into the warm syrup. Allow the fried balls to soak in the syrup for at least 30 minutes (or up to 20 days) before serving.
The Gulab Jamuns are best served warm. Microwave until warm, about 10-15 seconds and place in individual serving bowls with a few tablespoons of syrup and nuts garnish.
Source: adapted from Sinfully Spicy
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