When Srivalli chose gulab jamuns for this month’s Indian Cooking Challenge, I was kind of excited and nervous since I have never made them from scratch before and was expecting a total failure with exploding jamuns in oil. The good news is they didn’t explode but the bad news is my jamuns got a tad bit harder after frying which I assume is because of the excess amount of flour I added to the khoya.
Ok let me back up a little bit and tell you the whole story. I chose Alka’s recipe for my Gulab Jamuns. I started out making the khowa with 4 cups of whole milk which I boiled for 2½ hours on low simmer. The khowa was still a little wet when I took it out of the pan. I let it cool for about 2-3 hrs and then I made the dough by adding the flour & corn starch. I added a tbsp of flour in the beginning and when I saw that the dough was still wet, I added another tbsp of flour and then another and then another and so on.. Well in the end the dough looked pretty good and I was able to make tiny jamuns. I didn’t realize that they formed a crust on the top and didn’t let the jamuns soak the sugar syrup. They tasted pretty good even though we had to struggle to cut them with spoon :-). I was a little disappointed with the end result but now I think I have the tools to make gulab jamun from scratch.
Here’s Alka’s recipe verbatim:
For sugar syrup:
- 500 gms Sugar (This can be reduced as per taste)
- 1 & 1/2 cups Water (bit more or less)
- 2 - 3 Cardamom
- One milk spoon of (optional)
- saffron Few threads of (optional)
- 2 - 3 drops rosewater of (optional but highly recommended)
For Gulab Jamun:
- 1 & 1/2 - 2 tsp All purpose flour
- 1 tsp Cornflour
- 1 - 2 cardamom Green - crushed
To make Sugar Syrup:
- 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.
To make Gulab Jamun:
- 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.