Easy Food Smith

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GULAB JAMUNS (Milk Powder Dough balls in Fragrant Syrup)

The gulab jamun post has been there in my recipe archives since 2011. I am reposting it with some pictures this time around. Amongst all the Indian mithais, gulab jamun can be labelled as the king of them all, especially in the north India. You are most likely to find a recipe for gulab jamuns without fail on almost every blog or website dedicated to Indian food. I think rasogullas and gulab jamuns will win hands down as almost everyone’s favourite Indian confection.

In the year 2006, my husband was posted abroad for almost a year and to cater to one’s sweet tooth to traditional Indian sweets, one had to either rely on the Indian cooks working in some Indian restaurant or dish them out by ourselves. I didn’t quite like the preparation of the cooks who charged a bomb and still the taste was nowhere near satisfaction. I was at loss on how to make gulab jamuns at home since khoya/ mawa (reduced milk) was not available anywhere and making my own was too cumbersome a job. I usually avoid cooking very elaborate recipes. Indian traditional sweets, especially, are mostly quite elaborate and involve a lot of time and effort in either the preparation or the cooking. Exasperated I surfed the net for an easy gulab jamun recipe. Lucky for me, I happened to stumble upon a recipe that used milk powder. This recipe has been with me for over 10 years and after some heavy tweaking it has proved to be a fool proof one.

I had never before made any Indian sweets at home except for halwa or kheer. And at that point of time I wasn’t that confident about pulling it off. But making gulab jamuns with powder milk proved to be an absolute cakewalk! It is simple, easy and yields almost professional results. The gulab jamuns are soft and grainy, exactly the way they are supposed to be. For the syrup instead of using rose water (I can’t stand roses, rose flavour or rose water in my food or drink) I have used saffron and cardamom. On a closing note I can definitely claim that whenever I served the gulab jamuns at the parties, they were always a hit and I was bombarded with requests for its recipe. So go ahead and… INDULGE!!

Here is the recipe:

Syrup  

400 gm Sugar

400 ml Water

1 tsp Lemon Juice

½ tsp Cardamom Powder

A few strands of Saffron

Gulab Jamun Dough

1¼ C Milk Powder (unsweetened)

4 tbsp Maida (Flour)

¼ tsp Baking Soda (Bicarb of Soda)

50 ml Whipping Cream

1 – 2 tbsp milk (as required)

Ghee to deep fry the dough

Mix sugar, lemon juice and water in a pot and place it on high heat. Bring to a boil while stirring to ensure that the sugar does not stick or crystallise at the bottom of the pan. Let t be on a rolling boil for 4 – 5 minutes yet careful not to bring the syrup to one string consistency.

 

Remove the pot from the heat and sieve the water to a casserole warmer and add the cardamom powder and saffrom strands. Close the lid and keep it aside.

Heat the ghee in a kadai (wok) or pan on medium low temperature. (I prefer a wok)

While the ghee is heating, whisk together the milk powder, maida and baking soda in a mixing bowl. Add whipping cream and very gently mix it into flour. Add a tablespoon of milk to make soft sticky dough. DO NOT knread the dough. You just need to bring everything together. (Add the other table spoon of milk only if the dough looks dry)

Grease a plate with a little ghee and make 28 balls. Ensure that the balls are smooth else they will break or split while frying. Cover them with damp cloth.

In three to four batches fry the dough balls turning them gently every now and then to ensure even cooking and browning.

Once the dough turns brown, remove them from oil with slotted spoon and drop them in the syrup. Close the lid of the casserole warmer to allow the balls to soak the syrup.

Fry rest of the balls in a similar fashion. Allow the balls to remain in the syrup for atleast an hour or till the balls have absorbed the liquid and softened.

You can serve them with their syrup or drained. The gulab jamun is ready! Serve hot garnished with nuts. ENJOY!

Yield: 28 Gulab Jamuns (medium size)

 

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KHICHU / खिचु (Steamed Rice flour Savory Donuts) – Gluten Free & Vegan

The approx one year that we spent in Dubai went by in a blink of an eye and before we knew it was time to head back home. The first two months there were spent in settling in at a new place and getting used to a new way of life. Yet within that very short span of time, God sent into my life some amazing people. The ways of destiny are amazing. I am not one of those people who make friends easily. But it does not happen often that one comes across people with whom one clicks so well, who are full of positivity, who make us feel good about ourselves, who support us, who accept us the way we are and who make one feel how blessed one is. Sounds unreal, doesn’t it!? I find it indeed incredible that within that short span of time I was blessed with the company of some wonderful friends.

I strongly believe that we don’t meet people by accident. They are meant to cross our path for a reason. They either give us some tough lessons or beautiful memories. Our one year in Dubai was certainly a mixed bag of experiences, as life always is. But I choose to focus all my energy on my blessings and my lovely friends are a significant part of those blessings. It goes without saying that I miss the camaraderie and I cherish the time we spent together as a cohesive group of friends. I carried back home some beautiful memories.

And today’s recipe is one that I learnt from one of those friends.  I love this dish for its simplicity and how easy it is to make it. I am tempted to call them savory donuts however unlike the donuts, they are dense and they are steamed. They taste fab served with chilli oil, jiralu (a kind of spice mix) and achari methi masala (yet another spice mix). The process of making the dough is kind of making a choux pastry but with rice flour (sans eggs) and then shaping it like a donut and steaming it. Though this simple gluten free dish is served as snack but I don’t mind having it for any meal. Here is what you will need,

2 Cups Water

1 C Rice Flour

½ tsp Ajwain (carom seeds)

2 tsp Cumin Seeds

½ – ¾ tsp Salt (adjust to taste)

2 Green Chillies (finely chopped)

Pour enough water in a bowl or pot and place a steamer over it. Allow it to heat.

Meanwhile, in another pot heat 2 cups of water and add ajwain and cumin seeds along with salt & green chillies.

Let the water come to a rolling boil.

Without reducing the heat, quickly dust the rice flour all over the boiling water. (It is imperative that you scatter the flour all over the boiling water) Do NOT stir.

Allow the water to rise up on its own. It will begin to moisten the rice flour within 30 seconds or so.

Using the back of a wooden ladle carefully (so as not to splatter the hot water) and vigorously stir the mix for a minute.

Remove from the heat and decant the mixture in a bowl.

When the dough is hot enough to handle, pinch the dough in 12 balls of equal size.

Make an indent in the centre just as one makes for balushahi or a doughnut. (The idea is not to create a hole through it.)

Transfer these dough balls onto the steamer and steam them for 5 – 7 minutes

Remove the balls from the steamer and serve hot drizzled with chilli oil, jiralu (a kind of spice mix) and achari methi masala.

Incredibly simple, gluten free, healthy and ready in less than 15 minutes!

Note: In case you are unable to find jiralu spice mix, you can easily swap it with chaat masala.

Note: You can add half a teaspoon very finely chopped ginger to it.

Yields – 12 in number

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GUR KA HALWA / गुड़ का हलवा (Jaggery Semolina Pudding)

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WISHING EVERYONE A VERY HAPPY GANESH CHATURTHI 

If you are wondering what struck me on head for uploading a Halwa post in the midst of hot and sultry Indian summer, well there are two reasons. One, the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi begins from 25th of this month and the other reason is that I am making the most of the beautiful and cool monsoon weather here, which will start to recede in a few days’ time and usher in the hot and sultry two months of autumn. The pleasant cool and breezy weather has provided me all the reasons to indulge in this hot bowl of comfort. I have posted a few halwa recipes earlier; one of them being a similar halwa but sweetened with sugar. It is similar to that halwa but with a little tweaking here and there. We have been trying to make conscious effort to include less of refined sugar in our desserts and bakes. And this halwa is one such dessert in that endeavour; the other being the Sabudana Kheer I posted for Diwali last year. I intend to share more of such desserts that have been sweetened with jaggery (gur) in times to come. While I sit curled up at my favourite spot in the house, enjoying the rains with a comforting bowl of this halwa, you grab the recipe and do try it in your kitchen 🙂

½ C Milk

1 pinch Saffron

2 C Water

100 – 120 grams Gur (Jaggery) – adjust sweetness

¾ tsp Cardamom powder

6 – 7 tbsp melted Ghee

1 C Semolina (Suji)

Assorted nuts to garnish

Soak saffron in warm milk for at least an hour to allow the flavours and color to steep. Set aside.

Scrap the jaggery and melt it in water (I do this by placing a pan with jaggery and water on heat and stirring the contents till the jaggery just melts. You do NOT need to cook it). Sieve the contents and add cardamom powder to it and set aside.

In a heavy bottom pan or kadahi (wok), melt the ghee on medium heat and fry the semolina till it attains golden brown color and becomes aromatic.

Add saffron milk and jaggery water and cook on high heat stirring vigorously till the liquid is absorbed. (Be careful the hot contents will splatter around.) Keep in mind that the halwa will absorb the liquid further on as it sits and so adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Remove from heat and serve garnished with nuts of your choice. Enjoy!

Note: If you want, you can dry roast the nuts or fry them in a little ghee before serving.

Note: Keep the amount of jaggery to 100 grams if you like your dessert less sweet and if you prefer more sweetness, increase it to 120 grams.

Note: Feel free to add a little cane sugar (gur shakkar) if you want to add more sweetness. Stir it in a little milk and heat it along with the halwa.

Serves 6 – 8

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