Monday, July 18, 2016

Gulab Jamin

We have some dear friends from India and over the years, they have had us into their home and served us authentic Indian food many times. In return, they love venison, so I have prepared that for them, and one of Gerald's kills each year goes into their freezer. 

Rosie is from the East Coast of India, and they eat a lot of seafood there, so shrimp is usually on the menu at the Khadanga's home. And she always, ALWAYS, makes Gulab Jamin...because she knows they're my favorite. In fact, she always doubles the recipe and sends the leftovers home with me. I guard them with my life...sharing only if I have to!

I thought it was time I tried my hand at this classic treat, and it fit perfectly with my Asian-inspired menu. I hope you'll like them as much as I do.

The recipe does call for three unusual ingredients, but I found them at Fresh Market. First, the rose water. Rosie does not use this in her's but it was called for in many of the recipes I saw. It really adds to the exotic flavor of this dish. If you can't find it though, don't worry. Just omit it. Next is red saffron, which is arguably, one of the most expensive spices around. It comes from the crocus flower and is plucked and dried. It adds color and flavor. All you need for this recipe is a pinch (maybe four or five threads). I think I paid less than $5 for the pack. I also bought a small package of ground cardamom. It's a warm spice, kind of like cinnamon.

I am giving you the basic recipe, but what you see below will look like more. I quadrupled it. Yep, it's that good.

In a large saucepan, make your simple syrup by combining 1.5 cups of water and 1.5 cups of granulated sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook unitl sugar is completely dissolved.

When the sugar is almost completely dissolved, add 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder.

When the sugar is dissolved, the water will look somewhat opaque.

I let it cool until I could handle it, then poured this into my crockpot and added 1/8 teaspoon of rosewater. (Yes, the measuring spoon above says 1/2 teaspoon - remember I quadrupled my recipe!) Go easy on the rose water. It is NOT as subtle as the name sounds!

Add a pinch of saffron - four or five strands.

This is what I used for a quadrupled recipe.

Stir well and allow to dissolve in the warm water.

Time to make the doughnuts!

This recipe calls for dry milk. I know, doesn't sound all that appetizing, but stay with me. By the way, this can be found on the baking aisle.

Add 1 cup milk powder, 1/4 cup all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, pinch of salt and 1 teaspoon softened butter (not melted). Mix with a whisk.

Add one to two tablespoons milk and mix to get this sticky, damp dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit on the counter for thirty minutes. It will thicken.

I forgot to take a picture of this, but I laid out a piece of parchment paper and after thirty minutes, I used a spoon to drop healthy teaspoons sized balls.

Preheat your canola oil to about 350 degrees. When my oil was ready, I picked up each ball and lightly shaped them with my hand and gently dropped them into the hot oil. These will drop to the bottom when you first put them in. Gently use a spoon to loosen them.

Keep an eye on your oil. Don't let them burn. Adjust heat as needed.  These will generally roll over all by themselves as they cook - kind of like hushpuppies. I used my slotted spoon to gently stir them to encourage them to cook evenly.

Remove them to a paper towel lined sheet pan as they are done. They are rather small when they come out of the fryer, but don't worry...

When they were finished, I placed them all in the simple syrup in my crock pot and covered it. Mine has a "keep warm" setting. As they sat, they absorbed the liquid. I would GENTLY press them into the syrup until they were all plump with the delicious rose-scented liquid. Once they are plump, they're about the size of a golf ball.

I like to serve these warm. Leftovers go into the fridge and you can easily heat them in the microwave for about 20 seconds. A perfect serving is about 4-6 gulab jamins. They will last a couple of weeks in the fridge - but only if no one knows they're there and you (secretly) only eat a few a day! Enjoy!

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!

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