I've started cooking feasts lately and they're turning out well,
thanks in large part to your books and my time in Melbourne with
you where I learned what good cooking tastes like, especially the
gulab jamuns. I'd like to try and make my own gulab jamuns.
I'll use your recipe from GVD, but tell me, is there a secret to
good gulab jamuns? Is there one part of the process that
makes or breaks?
Lyall Ward, Belfast, Northern Ireland
I cook gulab jamuns a lot these days for feasts and cooking
classes. I only follow my recipe in Great
Vegetarian Dishes and they turn out good every time. But there
are fluctuations. Good quality milk powder helps.
Also, the softer the dough the harder they are to roll but the
softer and spongier the finished products. So, "no pain, no
gain" is the motto for the dough and rolling. (As opposed to
my philosophy on exercise - "No pain, no pain").
Keep a careful check on the ghee temperature. Too hot and they
puff up too quick and rupture. I think 40-45 minutes in the ghee
seems to be the average time they fry for. And make sure the milk
is warm when you add it to the dough, not boiling hot.
Good Lebanese rosewater makes the best rose scented results. Cortas
brand is the very best, if you can find it.
I have made some great alternative flavourings. Still using rosewater
in the syrup (added after the syrup is turned off, by the way),
I have also added saffron to the dough (soak and grind saffron threads
then mix with the warm milk in the dough), or added saffron to the
syrup (soak and grind first then add to the syrup. The sugar in
the syrup will impede the saffron doing its job if you don't soak
and grind it first).
I have added cardamom powder to the dough, or syrup or both. I
have also added cardamom pods + a few cinnamon sticks + a few star
anise to the syrup for yet another flavouring. I have even added
fresh raspberries macerated and mixed with the syrup for a totally
different gulab experience - no rosewater with berries though -
just as is.
Overall, the best advice I can give you is to be patient, and don't
attempt to cook gulab jamuns if you risk being distracted.
To get you inspired, click here
for a picture of perfect gulab jamuns.
Happy gulab jamun-ing!
<< Previous Answer Next