Soft and soaked in sweet syrup gulab jamuns offer an exalted experience to anyone who tries it. A staple at almost all celebrations in India, gulab jamun is easy to spot be it festivals, weddings or any other celebratory event. Gulab jamun is said to have roots in Persia, where it is called Luqmat Al-Qadi—it is a common dessert across the Middle East even today. The dough of the Middle Eastern cousin of gulab jamun uses yeast, but the cooking technique has distinct similarities to that of gulab jamuns: the tiny dough balls are deep-fried, soaked in honey syrup, sprinkled with sugar, sesame or grated walnuts.
Gulab Jamun also takes on different avatars in different corners of India; pantua is a Bengali variant while jhurre ka rasgulla is found in Jabalpur. Rajasthan is also home to savoury side dish counterpart of gulab jamun known as gulab jamun ki sabzi!
Instant gulab jamun mixes have become convenient and time-saving option, but they will never be as good as the real thing. If you find the thought of making gulab jamun from scratch at home, here are some tips from Chef Shrutika Koli from Mews Cafe at Taj Wellington Mews, Mumbai to make the perfect gulab jamuns.
Going Traditional with Gulab Jamun
To make this you will need hariyali mawa (haryali mawa is made of cow's milk whereas khoya is made with buffalo milk), paneer, rawa (semolina), maida, cardamom powder. The traditional dough kneads together 250 grams of haryali mawa, 50 grams of paneer, 10 grams of rawa, 25 grams of maida and 5 grams of cardamom powder. Knead with just enough water and milk to make a soft pliable dough. Make small balls of this dough and deep fry till they turn dark golden brown, once done transfer it into the sugar syrup and serve them warm.
Kneading the Dough
Make sure that you stick to the exact measurements of the recipe, even the instant mix recipe, and follow instructions properly. Knead the dough with soft hands, without using too much pressure on it. This will ensure that your dough balls do not turn out hard and dry.
Perfectly Round Gulab Jamuns
When you are making the small dough balls, ensure they are well shaped before frying. A hack for perfectly shaped gulab jamun is when you put it in kadai for frying, gently sway the kadai in a circular motion, away from the heat, so that the hot ghee swirls around. This cooks the gulab jamun uniformly and gives them nice round shape. You need to be extremely cautious while doing this task.
Deep Frying Gulab Jamun
To get the perfect gulab jamun, you also need to fry them at the right temperature. Deep fry them at 150-165⁰C till dark golden brown.
Chashni for Gulab Jamun
To make chashni (sugar syrup) for the gulab jamun add equal quantities of sugar and water with some crushed cardamom pods and bring it to boil on low flame till one-thread consistency.
You can serve the gulab jamuns with some chashni, but if you want to improve the presentation use some saffron threads and, finely sliced almonds and pistachios.
You can serve the gulab jamuns warm or cold as per your preference. Refrigerate the rest at 2-3⁰C in a closed container, you can store them for about a week.
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