I could eat this sweetmeat, anytime, anyplace and for the rest of my life. If I was to be on death row, a tray of gulab jamun would be my last meal.
At any function, you can find me making a bee line for the sweetmeat table to check and sample the gulab jumun. Diwali trays, I always steal these sweet fingers off the tray and hide them. I eat soo many that I 100% sure I suffer from sugar highs for the rest of the week.
My first few attempts were disastrous. They kept falling apart in the syrup and they were stone dry in the middle. A few attempts even had my parents in fits of laughs as a few were shaped long like poo and had browned to a similar colour as well. To this day, they have not let me live this poo attempt down.
It seems that when people give a recipe, they give the easy part, they give the ingredients in full detail, but the most important part the method, they tend skimp on it. For example, when I am learning from a recipe, and the recipe states, soak in the syrup. How long to be exact do I need to let it soak, a few seconds, minutes, hours??? How much damage can I cause with the proper recipe? God said share.
Oh well, this recipe and the method came about after many late nights of making and remaking and re-remaking the gulab jamuns. The results speak for themselves, they are soft and tender in the middle, and golden brown on the outside and ohh so delicious.
Thank you to Aunty Eswari, who is a master baker in own right, once told me that she weighs everything she bakes so that everyone gets the same. Ever since she has told me that, I make sure that every sweetmeat I make weighs the same, so that when they fry or when they bake, they all come out uniformed in shape and colour.
Gulab Jamun comes in every shape and size. Tamil Aunties make finger like shapes, Gujarati Aunties, make them round. Some aunties even roll them in coconut. I tried coconut, but my parents are very old school when it comes to sweetmeats, they do not approve of any modern twists or variations. I have tried bringing them into the 21st century but to no avail, so for now we will have to stick to tradition, after all, why mess with a recipe that was perfect to begin with???
The only thing that I know for sure is that no matter what recipe you use when making a gulab jamun, there must always be that distinguish crack down the middle. No crack, then you my friend are not Indian and are bringing shame to your family and the family that has come before you. Just kidding, you won’t get disowned but you will hear people asking you what kind of Indian are you that you can’t get a crack, by people I mean my parents, they kept asking me that when I was learning to make this sweetmeat.
I can’t wait to come across someone whose gulab Jamun doesn’t have a crack, so I can act like one old Indian Granny and ask them. I better make sure my life insurance covers accidental death by gulab jamun before I attempt to ask someone though. They could take it the wrong way and attack me or they could ask me who I think I am, and I could always tell them. “You don’t know who I am? I am the great Granddaughter of the late Annasamy Veerasamy Naidoo.” Then flip my hair and turn on my heel and walk away, how dare they not know me, the horror. LOL.
I have wanted to use this line since I can remember, but have never had the opportunity. My parents always think it’s hilarious when they want me to do something and I ask them do they know who I am, that I am the great granddaughter of the late Annasamy Veerasamy Naidoo. My mother always replies, she is the granddaughter so she outranks me. I just can’t win with this family tree, I tell you, I give up. I am destined to always be the baby of the family.
I am going off track here, no more family politics, back to the recipe.
I can’t remember where I got the original recipe from. It might have been Facebook.
Ingredients for the dough:
- 2 ½ x cups cake flour, sifted.
- 1 x tin Clover condense milk.
- 1 x tsp elachi powder.
- 1 x tsp nutmeg powder.
- 2 x tbsp. tastee wheat.
- 1 x tbsp. butter.
- 2 x tbsp. milk.
- ½ x tsp bicarbonate of soda.
- 2 x tsp baking powder.
- In a medium bowl, add all the ingredients.
- Using your hands, combine all the ingredients, knead till a nice soft dough is formed.
- Leave aside while you make the syrup.
Ingredients for the syrup:
- 3 x cups castor sugar.
- 2 x cups water.
- Place the ingredients in a sauce pan and over a medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil.
- Allow the mixture to come to a steady boil, before removing from the heat and setting aside.
To shape the dough:
- Break of small pieces and roll between the palms of your hand to a shape into a finger biscuit.
- Taper the ends and repeat until all the dough has been shaped.
- Deep fry the shaped gulab jamun, till lightly golden and a crack has formed down the middle.
- Remove the oil with a slotted spoon, shake off the excess oil and place on a paper towel to drain while you fry the others.
- Once all has been fried, place in a deep dish.
- Pour over the syrup, ensuring that all the gulab jamuns are covered.
- Leave for 30 minutes, before turning each gulab jamun over and leaving it for a further 30 minutes to soak.
- Using a slotted spoon remove the gulab jamuns from the syrup and place on a cooling rack for an hour. This will allow the excess syrup to drain and thus preventing the gulab jamun from becoming soggy.