Diwali Sweets-Part2: Gulab Jamun

Part 2 in the Diwali Sweets series brings gulab jamun. These are by far my favourite Indian sweets and I’ve probably consumed a gulab jamun too many over this festive period. They have a velvety texture and melt in your mouth within seconds. They’re like India’s version of doughnuts and are immersed in a warm, fragrant, sweet rose syrup. They taste perfect served warm with vanilla ice cream mmmmm..

Makes 15

What we need:
1 cup milk powder
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup milk
3 tbsp room softened unsalted butter
1/8 tsp baking soda
Oil for frying
For syrup-
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup water
2 tsp cardomom powder
1 tsp rose water
sliced almonds and pistachios for garnishing

How we do:

  • To make the gulab jamuns, in a food processor,  mix the milk powder, flour and baking soda.
  • Now add the butter and slowly add the milk. (The dough should be slightly moist and soft. You can add more milk if needs be.
  • Remove the dough formed and it let it settle for a few minutes.
  • Add some oil to your palms and being to knead the dough on a clean surface until smooth.
  • Divide the dough into 15 equal portions and roll them into smooth balls (there should be no cracks).
  • Heat the oil on medium heat. Once hot, test it by adding a gulab jamun to it. If it is the right temperature it will rise to the top in about 20 seconds.
  • Fry the gulab jamuns for 7-8 minutes (You may need to do this in two batches as they will expand in size).
  • Keep rolling the balls to ensure they cooke evenly.
  • Drain excess oil on a napkin.
  • To make the syrup, add the sugar, water, cardomom powder and rose syrup. Mix well on medium heat until it begins to boil.
  • Remove from heat allow it to simmer whilst mixing.
  • Set aside.
  • Allow the gulab jaumuns to cool for a few minutes before adding them to the syrup. Let them sit in the syrup for about 20 minutes before serving.

Diwali Sweets-Part 1: Rasmalai

Remember remember, the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot AND DIWALI! Yep, that’s right 2010 has conveniently brought us Bonfire Night an Diwali on the same date. Works for me as it means fireworks either way. Diwali is much like Christmas in that familes and friends come together and exchange gifts, enjoy a delicious feast but instead of Christmas pud, we overindulge on Indian sweets.  Diwali is the busiest times for ‘mithaiwalas’ or sweet shops in India. People order sweets in bulk and distribute them amongst family and friends. For this reason, last night Ma and I got in the kitchen and made some goodies including Rasmalai which is a sweet Indian delicacy made from paneer served in a chilled, sweet milk sauce or malai. It’s  surpisingly straight forward to make and is a good recipe if you’re making it for a lot of people. I will be posting a series of Indian sweet recipes over my next few blog posts, so stay tuned!

Makes 48

What we need:
For Ralsmalai patties:
16 cups milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
5 cup water
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2tsp cardomom powder

For Milk Malai:
5 cup milk
400ml condensed milk
1/2 tsp cardomom powder

Garnish with:
Shaved almonds and pistachios

How we do:

  • To make the rasmalai, in a pot, boil the milk. Just as it begins to boil,  add the lemon juice, stirring gently. Reduce heat to the lowest setting and stir to help the milk curdle.
  • This should only take a couple of minutes at maximum. The curds will coagulate and separate from the watery whey. At this point, remove from heat.
  • Line a sieve with a muslin/cheesecloth and place it on top of a saucepan or bowl. Strain the cheese and run some cold water through it. You can  discard the watery whey but  I love keeping it aside and using it to make chappatis as they come out really soft.
  • Wrap up the cheese tightly in the cloth and firmly squeeze out any excess water.
  • It is essential to ensure all water has been removed.
  • In a food processor, blend the paneer for a couple of minutes. To check if enough water is out of the paneer, take a little piece of paneer on your palm and rub into a little ball with your fingers until. You should be able to make a smooth, firm ball.
  • Remove paneer from processor and places on a dry surface. Begin to knead the paneer until it  rolls into a smooth dough.
  • Now, divide the paneer dough into 48 parts and roll into balls. Press each ball slightly on top with your palms so a pattie shape forms. The patties should be firm and smooth with no cracks.
  • In a pressure cooker, mix together the water, sugar and cardomom powder. Places the patties into the pressure cooker and cook for 8 minutes after the first whistle. ( We had to do this in two batches). Remove from heat.
  • Wait a couple of minutes before carefully removing the steam and open the pressure cooker.
  • Remove the patties and gently squeeze them.
  • To make the malai, bring the 5 cups of milk to boil and the condensed milk and cardomom powder, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and let it simmer, stirring gently every few minutes. Continue to do this for about 15-20 minutes or until the milk thickens.
  • Add the patties to the milk and let it simmer for a few minutes.
  • Place in a serving bowl and garnish with the almonds and pistachios.
  • Serve chilled.