Happy Diwali! Tomorrow will mark the beginning of Diwali (दिवाली), the “festival of lights”, a 5-day Indian festival that celebrates the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. Light is the symbol of the celebrations and many clay lamps filled with oil are lit during the 5 days of the festival. As you know, even though my husband is of Indian origin, we are not hindus, but we think that the meaning of this festival is “universal”, so we too like to celebrate Diwali. As part of our celebrations, I made some Indian sweets like Jalebi, Gajar ka Halwa, Shankarpali and… these Gulab Jamun (गुलाब जामुन). These are probably the most well known Indian sweet outside of India and you can find it in all Indian restaurants, so if you like Indian food, I am sure you have tasted them at least once. The term Gulab (गुलाब) means “rose” in Hindi and the dessert’s name comes from the fact that the syrup used to soak the Jamuns in, is scented with rosewater. Gulab Jamun are always served at festivals, celebrations and weddings in India, with or without vanilla ice cream. This is my daughters’ (and hubby’s) favourite Indian dessert and one that never lasts long enough in my house!
Follow the recipe below to make some delicious Gulab Jamun at home and join in the celebration of light! दिवाली की शुभकामनाएं to everyone who celebrates!
The recipe for one of the most renowned Indian dessert: Gulab Jamun, soft balls of fried dough in rosewater syrup.
- 1 ¾ cup sugar
- 1 ½ cup water
- ½ tsp cardamom powder
- 1 pinch saffron
- 1 tbsp rosewater not in the picture
- 1 cup skim milk powder
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour maida
- 3 tbsp ghee
- 1/4 cup whole milk at room temperature
- 1 pinch of baking soda
- 1 tbsp sliced almonds and pistachio
- Vegetable oil for deep-frying
In a bowl, mix the milk powder, flour and baking soda.
Add the ghee and mix well.
Add the milk and knead well until you get a soft and sticky dough (the milk powder will slowly absorb the extra milk). If the dough is dry, add more milk to make it soft. Let the dough sit for a few minutes.
Grease your palms with ghee and knead the dough again.
Heat the vegetable oil in a sauce pan over medium heat. To test, place a small piece of the dough into the oil: the oil should sizzle and the dough should take a minute to rise. If the dough rises faster, the oil is too hot; if the oil does not sizzle, it is not hot enough.
Place the gulab jamun in the sauce pan. Do not overcrowd the pan, as the gulab jamun will expand.
Fry the gulab jamun on medium heat for about seven minutes, rolling them around for even browning.
Let the gulab jamun sit fully submerged in the syrup for at least 20 minutes before serving. They should double in size.
Gulab jamun can be served warm or at room temperature. They can also be served with ice cream.
If the gulab jamun are fried on high heat, they will be hard inside and not fully cooked.
Too much baking soda will make the gulab jamun too soft or cause them to break when frying.
Don’t place the gulab jamun in the syrup immediately after frying, or they will lose their shape and be too chewy.