A New Discovery and an Old Love Story

August 9, 2011 § 6 Comments

Recently I have stumbled upon a food blog that I cant believe or forgive myself that I haven’t discovered earlier. It’s Sinfully Spicy by the Lovely and talented Tanvi. Two weeks ago her blog turned 1 so happy blog-birthday to her!!

My love for Indian cuisine is no secret. I got this deep love, respect and appreciation for that cuisine! All this is traced back to my Father. Ever since we were little kids he used to take us to the most traditional indian restaurants in Dubai and introduce us to all the different flavors, textures and ingredients in it.

He used to talk to us about the history behind it and always always used to say “can you imagine how the maharaja’s used to live? how they were pampered? how all this food was created in a way to please them?” this always took me to another world, imagining their lives, how lush, extravagant and heavenly it was. I have a dream and I hope it comes to reality soon, it is to travel to India. Visit all the different regions and experience the different flavors and history from one another.

Who doesn’t love Indian food? seriously?? can u name one person? they don’t deserve to eat if they do….

Back to the food blog that got me head over heels for her recipes, photography and writing. She got me hooked when I read why she named her blog Sinfully Spicy. She writes “‘Sinfully Spicy ‘…my food blog finally! Why this name..you might ask…and will agree instantly that Indians are sinfully in love with spices.Well I m no exception either! Totally in  love with spices, herbs, fruit extracts,essential oils and anything & everything edible which infuses aroma into food.Very often people relate the word ‘spicy‘ with foods which tingles on the tongue…I am totally in love with that concept and the fact that spices unite individual entities in a dish into one.”

and I totally agree…

Since I’m in my last few weeks of my pregnancy I got so lazy and I decided to feature one of her recipes on my blog, It was so sweet of her to agree to this. There were loads of recipes that I wanted to feature but the one I settled with was the Gulab Jamun… an old love story of mine.

I just love this smoth sweet little balls from heaven, when at an indian restaurant I cant help myself from ordering one at the end of a meal. When they put it infront of me, this warm, and  shiny  little tanned brown ball sitting in a pool of golden syrup  with the  sweet aroma of cardamom steaming out of it, it just puts a smile on my face. aaaaaahhhh and when I bite into it its so smooth and spongy, warms you up instantly. I love it!

I’m never too full to have more.

Here is Tanvi’s recipe:

Ingredients (Makes 18-20 of the size shown)

For the Dough Balls (Jamuns):-

  • 1 cup nonfat milk powder ( I use Organic Valley )
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp fine crushed nuts (see notes)
  • 1/4 tsp green cardamom powder (see notes)
  • 3 tbsp ghee, at room temperature (substitute with unsalted butter)
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature (or as required for kneading)
  • Canola Oil for deep-frying
  • Nuts/dessicated coconut for garnish (optional)

For the Sugar Syrup:-

  • 1.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • Few saffron strands (optional)
  • 4 green cardamom pods, cracked open
  • 2 tbsp rose-water (use 1-2 drops if using essence)

Notes:-

  1. I take 8-10 mixed nuts (cashews, almonds & pistachios), grind them in coffee grinder to a  fine powder.Adding this to the dough gives a terrific, nutty taste in each bite.This is my mom’s trick & I really love it to pep up the texture of the jamuns.
  2. You dont need to buy cardamom powder (its uber expensive), buy whole pods instead from any indian or middle eastern store, just crack open the pods and use your mortar & pestle to grind the seeds into a powder.This is how cardamom is commonly used in Indian homes.
  3. Traditionally, jamuns are fried in pure ghee, however I add 2-3 tbsp of ghee to the oil to add the rich aroma, if you don’t have ghee,then skip)
Method:-

For the Syrup:-

  • In a large pot,add water, sugar along with cardamom pods and bring it to a boil.We are not looking for any consistency here, just boil & stir till the sugar dissolves.About 6-8 minutes on medium heat. If you see some scum on top, remove with a spoon.
  • Let the syrup simmer for a minute and then put off the stove. After 5 minutes when the syrup has cooled down a bit, add saffron strands & rose-water to the syrup.
  • Set the syrup aside.

For the Jamuns:-

  • In a bowl or pastry board ,combine the milk powder, flour, baking powder, soda, green cardamom powder & nuts powder and mix thoroughly.You can sift this once to catch the coarse nuts or lumps if any.
  • Next add the ghee to the mix and rub between hands so that the whole flour mix is moistened.Start adding milk and mixing simultaneously to make a soft dough.The dough will be quite sticky.Cover the bowl with a cloth & let the dough sit for 5 minutes.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan/kadhai on medium heat. The frying pan should have enough oil to cover the balls completely while deep-frying. The indian way of testing the oil temperature is to pinch a small ball of dough & tip it in the oil, it should riseslowly to the top. If using a thermometer, use the temperature you fry doughnuts at.
  • While the oil is heating, with greasy palms pinch the dough into 18-20 equal parts and roll into small, smooth balls.As far as possible, roll out such that there are no cracks on the balls.This will give the jamuns a smooth look.The balls will double up after frying & soaking in syrup so do not make big balls. Line the balls on a plate & keep covered till ready to fry.
  • Meanwhile if your sugar syrup is cold or luke warm, put it on stove again so that it warms up.We want the sugar syrup warm (not hot) when the fried jamuns are tipped into it. Once warm , transfer the syrup to a bowl big enough to accommodate all thejamuns & keep them soakedAlso keep the sugar syrup nearby because the friedjamuns will go straight from frying pan into the syrup.
  • Once the oil is hot, tip in the rolled jamuns into the oil.Do not over crowd the pan/kadhai.While frying keep flipping the balls gently for even browning all around. Fry until the jamuns become golden brown. About 4-6 minutes depending on size.
  • Once browned,using a strainer, transfer the jamuns straight to the warm sugar syrup.The jamuns should sit undisturbed in the hot syrup for at least 30 minutes before ready to serve.
  • Once soaked, serve in bowl with few tablespoons of syrup & nuts/dessicated coconut garnish.I like them slightly warm.
  • Notes:-
    1. Do not knead the dough.Just mix the ingredients gently to combine everything till a dough is formed.
    2. Do not fry the gulab jamuns too much or on very high heat..they will harden & wont soak up the syrup.
    3. Gulab Jamuns can keep well in the fridge for up to 20 days.Whenver you want to serve, just microwave for 10-15 seconds.They can be frozen for 3-5 months.

All the photos in this post are taken by the talented Tanvi.

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