Friday, April 23, 2010

Super easy gulab jamuns

A tea-time special, a great dessert, a festival sweet...the gulab jamun is a perennial favorite.

Here is a light version of this old sweet...years ago an American friend named them the brown 'thingummyjigs'...and whenever she came over she called ahead to give me ample warning that she wanted some.

The original version of this recipe was brought back by my sister's mother-in-law when she returned from the States in the 70's. I've adapted it to make it even more suitable for the calorie conscious and diabetics.

For the gulab jamuns:

1 cup pancake mix. (I use a complete pancake mix...the just add water kind...if I'm making this for a party. If it is for a puja/prayer offering then I get the kind that has no eggs in it.)
1/2 cup milk powder
2 tablespoons butter melted
A few tablespoons cold milk.

Mix the first two ingredients,then add melted butter and mix lightly.
Add milk, tablespoon by tablespoon till dough holds together.
TIP: Do not add all the milk at one time and do not knead like roti/bread dough...the dough should just hold together well. Roll in bowl to smoothen top.
You'll be surprised how quickly it becomes too sticky so be slow and careful with this 'adding the milk', stage.
TIP: If it gets too sticky add another tablespoon of pancake mix.
Cover the dough and let it rest five minutes.

For the syrup:

1 1/2 cup Splenda (use only sugar if making this for children and expectant warning labels on Splenda package).
1/2 cup sugar.

2 cups water
1 level tsp cardamom powder.
1 pinch saffron.

Place all ingredients on stove top...bring to boil...reduce heat slightly and let it boil for 5 minutes by the clock.
This gives you a one string or one 'tar' consistency syrup, which is what you want for gj's.
Divide this quantity into half and place one half in a flat bottomed dish. The other half should be cooled and refrigerated in a separate container.

To fry gulab jamuns:

Heat one inch of oil on medium heat in a flat pan.
(corn oil or canola is good for frying this...olive oil is too dense).
While oil is heating, wet your hands.
Divide dough into quarters or thirds.
Take each section and roll between your hands into a caterpillar/snake, half inch thick.
Cut into half inch segments with a knife.
If necessary wet hands again and roll each segment into a ball as lightly as possible.
TIP: Do not use pressure while rolling...keep the balls light.
Wet hands will make for outer smoothness of gj's.


Oil has to be heated on medium high...fry six jamuns at a time.
If oil is too cold outside will start puffing too much...see the last few in picture have bulged on one side as the oil got cooler.
If oil is too hot, outside will burn and inside will remain uncooked.
Turn the gulab jamuns after twenty seconds with a spoon...almost like dribbling with a hockey that all sides brown evenly.

TIP: Frying needs attention so make all the balls before you start frying.
Cover with a damp paper towel so dough does not dry out.
Let it get one shade darker than golden brown, remove and drain on paper towel and then put into syrup in dish... for some reason the gj's get lighter in the syrup

After frying is complete and all gj's are in the dish...cover and leave on counter.
Turn gj's, after half an hour...again using a spoon carefully, so you don't break them allow all sides to absorb syrup. If they have already become too soft...leave them alone!
Refrigerate if serving in a day or will notice all the syrup is absorbed.
We like eating them this way but as most people like syrup with gj's...just before serving pour second half of syrup over gj's.

This comes out superb and is easy. Once you get the hang of takes about ten to twelve minutes. There's no hurry, so take your time with it.
Here's the plan I follow:
Make syrup.
While making syrup, mix dough.
Take a 5 min break while dough rests.
Place oil to heat on medium.
While it is heating, roll balls.
I do this dish solo, but if there is another pair of helping hands, one can roll and one can fry.


lan said...

long time no see geets. where art thou? this is an easy one for a home made version. is milk powder the same as formula? said...

I've been hibernating in a cave filled with busy, busy, busy...thinking up recipes but procrastinating writing them up.
Thanks for the affectionate nudge, lan.

No milk powder is not the same as baby formula. It has to say milk powder or dried milk on the box, is sold under the brand Carnation and Nido in my is also sold in bins in wholesale grocers. I keep mine in the refrigerator so it lasts for a year or more.
These really are super easy and super scrumptious to make.
lan the milk powder can also be added to burfees/any sweet that needs to hasten the process.