Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Gulab Juman

This past weekend we were invited to go to a friends place for Sunday afternoon Indian feast. I finally convinced the hostess to let me bring dessert as the menu was huge.

Gulab Juman had already been planned, so I thought I'd fit in. I rang a dear friend, Padma, who makes the BEST Gulabs I've ever had. Generally I am not a fan, cos they're too sweet and too mushy, but Padma's are perfect.

I got the low down over the phone but she said do a practise run. When Padma originally said that I have to admit, I arrogantly thought 'oh I'll be fine'. But that night when I bought the ingredients as I knew I might not have another chance, I thought I might as well. I'm so glad I did 'cos I let the sugar syrup cook for to long and it set like toffee. After another phone consult and I decided I'd better do another practise run and this time my oil was too hot and they got brown to quickly so when I added the sugar syrup they went mushy.

On Sunday morning, we tried again. Tony was by now a pro with the dough and the rolling process and I had the oil and the syrup just right. They were purrrrfect, if once again, I may say so myself.

Something else I learnt is that the Northern Indians make their sugar syrup with rose water and in South India they prefer cardamom. Cardamom is one of my favourites, but you could probably easily adapt this recipe or add both!

1 cup self-raising flour
2 cups full cream powdered milk
300ml thickened cream
sunflower/canola oil for deep frying
1 kg sugar
water to cover the sugar
10 cardamom pods,
(break open the pods and remove the black seeds inside and grind in a mortar and pestle. Sometimes a little sugar helps with the grinding)

Mix the SR flour and the powdered milk together.

Add the thickened cream and mix to form a dough. You may need a little less than 300ml cream, the dough shouldn't be sticky and shouldn't be that dry that it breaks.

Pull off small amounts of the dough and roll into small lime size balls (makes 40-50).

Heat the oil in a large pan until very hot. Turn the heat to low and add approx 10 balls at a time (depending on the size of your pan) and fry till golden brown.

Fry off all the balls.

Whilst you are doing all this you can put the sugar and water in a separate pan and bring to a simmer. When all the sugar has melted and this a a nice syrupy consistency remove from the heat and add the cardamom.

The best way to judge if the syrup is the right consistency is when you put a little on your index finger and press you thumb and finger together and when you pull them apart its a little stringy. It shouldn't hold the string, the stringiness should fall away. If you're not sure, its better to take the syrup off the heat earlier rather than later.

Pour the syrup over the fried balls to cover. Note - the syrup MUST be hot. After 15 minutes, turn the balls in the syrup and serve.



surya said...

Wow, they look great! As a veteran of MANY of padma's gulabs these look pretty close. I totally agree with the cardamon vs rosewater, no competition. The ingredients are so simple but its the method in the madness thats important. Love ya.

Peabody said...

So I am allergic to 90% of Indian Gulab Juman is about the only thing I get to order...but they are good.

meli said...

yum! they look amazing. and complicated...

Anonymous said...

I have seen several recipes for this and am dying to try them, but why do I see them called 'cheese balls' when there is no cheese involved? Even a restaurant owner told me they have cheese in them... is something lost in the translation between milk powder and cheese?