Gulab Jamuns using Milk Mawa Powder soaked in Cardamom Star Anise Syrup are perfect Classic Indian Doughnuts. These delicious, soft, spongy and decadent classic gulab jamuns are syrup-soaked fritters about the size of a Ping-Pong ball.
Gulab Jamun is a traditional Indian dessert prepared in festive occasions.Like so many Indian sweets, its ingredients are simple – essentially milk mawa powder, sugar and ghee or unsalted butter. You can also use milk powder instead but milk mawa powder adds richness to the dessert. Though the ingredients are free and simple, but the recipe requires a great deal of precision and techniques.
The milk mawa powder is mixed with flour, baking soda and more milk and butter is added that forms the batter into balls and then they are deep fried in oil or ghee. Finally, they are soaked in sugar syrup flavored by cardamom and star anise. The end product ‘ gulab jamun ‘ is part doughnut, part baba rum with a pleasantly bitter edge from twice-caramelized milk sugars.
Tips and tricks for getting soft, delicious and spongy gulab jamuns :
- Always knead the dough lightly using fingers, If kneaded tightly, you will get hard jamuns.
- Cover with a moist cloth and allow the dough to rest for half an hour. This helps to activate the gluten in the dough. Since gluten is a protein, it hardens when it is heated — just like the protein in an egg hardens when cooking. This hardening of the gluten molecules is what allows the gulab jamun to hold its shape, and gives it its firm texture.
- Grease your hands with oil or ghee when shaping the gulab jamuns. This helps to make the gulab jamuns as smooth as possible because cracks will make the gulab jamuns disintegrate when they are soaked in syrup. Also the shaped gulab jamuns should be fried immediately, else when left for long, they will dry and crack.
- Putting elachi dana or raisin inside the gulab jamun helps to make them soft and moist.
- Test the temperature of the oil when deep frying the gulab jamuns. The oil should neither be too hot nor too cold. If the oil is too hot, the dough balls will cook quickly on the outer side but the inside will be raw. Similarly, if the oil is cold, then the dough balls will abosrb oil and crack. Drop a little piece of dough into the oil. If it browns too quickly, then the oil is too hot. Lower the heat and wait for 2 minutes before start frying. If it rises to the top, then the oil is of right temperature for frying the dough balls.
- When frying the dough balls, let them sink to the bottom of the pan and rise to the surface on their own. Do not try to move them. Once they rise to the surface, keep turning them lightly so thay they are evenly cooked on all sides.Make sure that all sides have browned evenly. It usually takes three minutes to fry the dough balls.
- The sugar syrup must be warm when soaking the gulab jamuns. Keep the dough balls soaked in sugar syrup for atleast half an hour before serving.
- For jamuns or doughnut balls :
- 1/2 cup Milk Mawa Powder
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/8 tsp Baking Soda
- 1 tbsp desi ghee or unsalted butter( at room temperature)
- Milk to knead the dough( 3 tbsp approximately)
- 8-10 golden raisins or elachi dana
- Oil for Deep frying
- For sugar syrup :
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 tsp cardamom powder OR 6-8 green cardamom pods ( peeled and ground)
- 1/4 tsp ground star anise ( you may also use nutmeg powder)
- 1/2 tsp edible food color(optional) or 2-3 strands of saffron
- 1-2 drops kewra water
- Prepare the dough. In a mixing bowl, combine milk mawa powder, all purpose flour, baking soda.
- Add unsalted butter or ghee into the flour. Mix all together lightly with your hand so that the flour is well coated with the unsalted butter. Add milk 1 tbsp at a time and knead the mixture into a smooth dough.
- Cover the dough and let it rest for half an hour. While the dough is resting, prepare the sugar syrup.
- Combine sugar and water in a pan and cook it on medium heat till the mixture comes to a boil and the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the kewra water, food color or saffron, cardamom powder and star anise or nutmeg.
- Boil the mixture till the syrup reaches half a string consistency. This means if you take the syrup in a ladle and touch with your hands it will be sticky. This syrup is used for Gulab jamun.
- Turn off the gas and keep aside the sugar syrup. Make sure the syrup is warm when you dip the fried gulab jamuns. After the dough has rested well, divide the dough into 8 equal parts. Apply some ghee on your palms and roll them into small dough balls.
- Using your thumb, press in the center of the ball and make a shallow well. Insert a raisin into the well and and bring the sides up around it, rolling it into a smooth ball.
- Heat sufficient oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Drops a little piece of dough into the oil. If it rises to the top, then the oil is of right temperature for frying the gulab jamuns.
- Deep fry the gulab jamuns on medium low heat till it turns golden brown on all sides. Take care not to overcrowd the pan.Take out the fried jamuns on a plate.
- Dip the fried gulab jamuns in the warm sugar syrup and leave it undisturbed for atleast 30 minutes.
- Serve the gulab jamuns hot or cold. You can also store it in refrigerator for 3-4 days. Enjoy the Delicious, Soft and Spongy Melt in Gulab Jamuns !!