Well..had a great time today.. Made perfect (well.. almost..) Gulab Jamuns from scratch.. for the Indian Cooking Challenge..
Mom in law made some awesome pav bhaji too.. loaded with butter here :) And believe me, she doesn't need to use pav bhaji masala, her own masalas are enough
Gulab Jamuns turned out the authentic Sindhi ones that I love (since I was born a Sindhi..)
Followed Alka's recipe, which goes thus..
"For sugar syrup:
Sugar - 500 gms (This can be reduced as per taste)
Water - 1 & 1/2 cup (bit more or less)
Cardamom - 2-3
One spoon of milk (optional)
Few threads of saffron (optional)
2-3 drops of rosewater (optional but highly recommended)
Mix about 500 gms of white sugar in one and half cup water and keep it for boiling.
Add a spoonful of milk to remove the impurities (impurities if any, will form a scum on surface)
Add 2-3 green cardamoms also in syrup for strong flavor, and a tad of saffron strings (optional)
Boil until you get just a tad sticky syrup. Gulab Jamun syrup is not very dense nor too dilute as in Rasgulla
Strain the syrup, add rosewater when syrup is slightly cooled.
Always remember two things while using rose water, do not add it while syrup is bubbling hot or on fire, and be particular about the quantity mentioned in every recipe, since even few drops of excess rosewater could lend a bitter taste to the final product.
For Gulab Jamun:
Unsweetened Maawa* - 250 gms
All purpose flour - 1 & 1/2 - 2 tsp
Cornflour - 1 tsp
Green cardamom - 1-2 crushed
Oil for shallow frying
* (khoya-the condensed milk thickened till it turns into moist dough, preferably made from cow’s milk, also known as Hariyali mawa)
Mix all the ingredients in a wide mixing bowl until soft textured dough is obtained (keep mixing until it is really soft)
Make very small sized balls (bit larger than pebbles) as they swell up after frying and soaking in syrup
Make sure that the surface of dough balls is really smooth without any cracks. In case the cracks refuse to go away, slightly wet your palms with water and roll the flour till absolutely smooth.
Now take little oil for frying in preferably flat bottomed pan, and heat the oil. But gulab jamuns are to be fried on LOW FLAME or else the surface will be browned while the core will remain uncooked. Some prefer to place an unsalted pistachio in the center of every gulab jamun while making balls, that way the core of gulab jamun is not left uncooked .
Fry one or 2 gulab jamuns at a time and always remember to STIR THE OIL with slotted spoon AND NOT TO TOUCH GULABJAMUNS, which means keep swirling the oil without tossing or turning gulab jamun.
Fry till light brown in colour, remove on tissue paper and repeat the procedure with rest of dough.
Now soak these in COOL syrup for few hours. They will surely swell up
These can be stored in the same syrup till consumed
If there are cracks in the balls before frying it will burst open while frying, in that case adding a bit of cornflour will surely help
You can enjoy it hot or cold ,either way it is delicious"
First thing.. mom in law was there to guide me on intuitive things.. cos I rely a lot on her experience!
I took less than 1/2 the quantity
Sugar syrup - Took 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water and boiled it. Didn't need to add milk to clean the syrup. Added cardamom powder, and the flavor's so good, that I've not yet added rose water.. may be I'll add it later..
I'd made mawa from 1 lt milk reduced by 2 tea cups, day before yesterday.. (can't make mawa and gulab jamuns in one go, cos of routine office and house work.)
Took that mawa from the fridge, added 1.5 tsp cornflour and 1 tsp maida and kneaded it till it got soft and smooth. Added some cardamom powder to this dough. Then rolled it into small 'pebble' size balls - they just didn't crack at all
Then deep fried it in ghee in a kadhai, stirring continuously. Well, Alka says not to touch the gulab jams, but I kept stirring them all the time!! Cooked 4-5 at a time, at a very low flame till nice and brown and soaked in the sugar syrup.. and ready to eat in 1/2 an hour.
I guess, they are just a little bit hard right now (still may be to soak more syrup overnight), but the moment I microwaved them for 10 secs, they got real spongy and yummy..
So far, one of the easiest (like a breeze) and best cooking experience.. Thanks ICC!!