Cheating & Gits Gulab Jamun

Posted by Anisha | Posted in , , | Posted on 9/16/2010

 I cheated and all I got was this tasty bowl of gulab jamun.

I've been with my boyfriend for three plus years and I can only fantasize about cheating    that is, cheating in the kitchen. Our mothers are both phenomenal cooks, employing ladles as wands and masalas as potions. Boxed curry mixes are unheard of in our households, which only led me to the dilemma known as Gits.

Seeing that my boyfriend no longer inhabits a third room in the house and that it was my housemate's birthday, it was the opportune moment to cheat. Without repudiating glances, I could attempt to make my first ever batch of gulab jamun... from a box.

Gulab jamun is an immensely popular Indian dessert, found on just about every wedding menu. Similar in size to a doughnut hole, jamun possesses three of our favorite traits:  fried, sweet, and spongy. The jamun dough consists of a blend of flours and milk. Once fried, it soaks for the remainder of its life in a rosewater syrup. When I was younger I thought jamun meant balls, since gulab translates to rose, the syrup the dough balls are drenched in. In fact, jamun refers to an indigenous fruit of similar size.

If you haven't had Indian desserts, imagine indulging in every sugary, artificially colored offering at a fair: cotton candy, funnel cakes, fried Snickers bars, etc. all rolled into one diabetic's nightmare dream. Okay, so maybe I'm exaggerating, but the point is: possessing sweet teeth is a prerequisite to enjoy this dessert.

step one: purchase a box of Gits gulab jamun, approximately $1.29, at your local Indian market

step two: empty the box into a bowl. ta-da!

step three: stir in two ounces of milk or water. like hot chocolate mixes, milk is richer!

step four: stir until smooth. if you think the dough needs a tinge more milk, go ahead and add some.

step five: form into fifteen-odd balls using warm water to keep it crack-free

step six: fry the dough evenly in a shallow pan of olive oil on low to medium heat

step seven: let the balls rest on a paper towel to soak up the excess oil

step eight: make a rose simple syrup. complicated? not at all! 
 heat up one cup sugar, one cup water, and a quarter cup rose syrup (Motumal Tanumal or Rooh Afza). 
if you're feeling fancy, add pistachios, saffron, and cardamom.

step nine: dunk your jamun into the warm rose-simple syrup

step ten: keep soaking for thirty minutes, look at them sink!

step twelve: eat warm or cold, they're divine!

There are many variations to the jamun if you're feeling spunky in the kitchen, as you should. There's kala (black) jamun, which refers to the color of jamun that has been frying and caramelizing longer for a darker appearance. Instead of rose syrup, dunk it in honey, maple or even booze to resemble baba rhum.

If you can't muster up the time to make your own, head over to Royal Khyber at the South Coast Plaza for SoCal's best gulab jamun or visit to Little India in Artesia for your quick fix. 

So go ahead and cheat! I'm thrilled I did     just don't tell our mothers!

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