Tomorrow is holi, and here it will be just like any other working day for us in abroad. How we miss the festivity and warmth of colors while we all are away earning our bread n butter here in abroad. You earn something and tend to loose something in return and that is how the journey of life is.
We will be having a small gathering over weekends, just few of our friends. And we will discuss and nag about festivity and how we miss our home, our people etc...And then we will head to our home and again a new week-working week will start. And soon we will be busy doing the things we are used to do normally. And it will go on just like that.
If I can have a rewind button, how I wish I can rewind it and play it again- those sweet and innocent childhood days when everything was anticipated, counted and wished for. Life was unpredictable and full of surprises, so many new things to be known and each day brought so many memories to treasure. I now feel that similar feelings when I see my DD anticipating festivals and everything associated with festivity.
One sweet memory was to see my Ma making Gulab Jamuns very enthusiastically. When I say enthusiastically, I mean that. She would make them from scratch. Her recipe was simply go and follow your instinct. She has become so much habitual of making these Gulab Jamuns, she would tell seeing the dough, will it rise , puff up well or become soft or not. She would make it from the khoya that our milkman would bring especially for her. There would be no compromises on the quality of khoya.I have seen her being strictly telling our “Doodhwalah Bhaiya”...”Agar quality acha nahi hua, hum tumhara paisa Cut kar lenge.” Lo Behold and here I am having milk from plastic bottles and that too from a superstore which is half a mile far where we live now.
Last time when I was visiting her, she made it just for us, as DD is very fond of having Gulab Jamuns, I would say who is not? She would then neatly pack some of it for her Jamai/son-in-law to be eaten as snack or "mishti mukh " on a long train journey.Yeah, small town has its own charm or may be journeys through Rajdhani is one in a life time experience.
Ok Dol as this is what we call in Bengali, meant eating Doi Bora , and Nimki and Gulab Jamuns, all made in comfort of our home amidst all the chaos and our relatives and family friends. We had a large joint family living together but with partitioned walls, individual rooms and separate kitchens.
But on this day everything will be made together and in huge batches. All the sons and few daughters of the family would come and assemble particularly for Pujo and Dol.And believe me it would be one heck of a holiday. From a 1 year old family member to a 60 years old family member, the spirit of festivity would catch everyone, kind of a bug that hit hard.”Hoojoke” and more “Hoozoke” I mean crazy and crazier people.
Now the sons and daughters of that joint family have shifted to metros, some of them even to abroad and with them their parents, so no more these “hoozokepana”/ madness.Ah! Well all days don’t remain same, it can’t be….
The recipe below is what I saw in the reverse side of whole milk powder packet and improvised it little bit. It asked for semolina to be added also, I didn’t have so skipped it. And made it with all purpose flour instead of self rising flour. They came out so soft; my DH even asked have I made it from boxed one! Lo behold what can I say to that?
Recipe requirements( measurements are approx)
1 and half cup of good quality whole milk powder tightly packed
2-3 heaped tbs of all purpose flour
1/2 tsp of baking soda-
About half cup of water to knead
1/2 tsp of oil
1 -1 ½ cup of cooking oil
For the sugar syrup
1 ½ cup of sugar
2 -2 ½ cups of water
Knead all milk powder; all purpose flour, baking soda and oil into semi tight dough. I happen to add 1 tsp of rose essence in the dough itself. If you wish you may add milk, but I haven’t used it. Water worked fine for me.
Let it rest for 2hrs over kitchen counter.
While the dough is resting. Prepare the sugar syrup.
In a large saucepan. We do need large saucepan, as Gulab Jamuns will puff up absorbing sugar syrup. They need space to puff up well.
The sweetness of sugar syrup depends how sweet you want your Gulab Jamuns to be.Add more sugar for very sweet Gulab Jamuns.I happen to follow my instinct and so end up utilizing 1 and half cup of sugar to 2-2 and half cups of water. Reduce sugar if you don’t want very sweet Gulab Jamuns.
Let it simmer at medium flame, till all the sugar is dissolved. Now turn it to low and let it simmer slowly. Prepare yourself now to deep fry the Gulab Jamuns.
Now make small balls from the dough. This much of dough will make 15-18 medium size Gulab Jamuns.
Now roll each ball into even sphere or rounds with the help of your palm. Rub little bit of oil in your palm. The more the smooth outer surface, chances are it won’t crack at the time of frying.OK even if it cracks, make sure it doesn’t fall apart at the time of frying. If you can see in the picture my small rounds have little cracks but it still managed to hold on while frying up in hot oil. The trick lies in kneading it properly. This is essential that you have to knead it properly and make semi tight dough so that it can hold on to itself even having few minor cracks while frying up.
Place elaichi seeds/cardamom seeds in the middle, and then again roll into small balls. If you have Boro Elaich/big cardamom, use them. This gives a nice flavor to Gulab Jamun.This time I added one chocolate chip in every gulab jamuns.The centre had that mild chocolaty flavor which my DD liked a lot.
Add about 1-2 cups of cooking oil to the pan. Yes we do need ample amount of oil to deep fry the rounds.
Check if the oil is ready to be deep fried. Drop a tiny round from the dough in the hot oil and if it floats towards upward sizzling, the oil is ready. And if it sinks the oil is not ready for deep frying. Frying the gulab jamuns is crucial step as right temperature is required for deep frying.
Never hurry the process, and fry them at high. The outer surface will be cooked, but the inner surface will not be cooked, making it lumpy or under cooked inside.
Deep fry gulab jamuns maximum of 4-5 at a time if you happen to use a small frying pan, like the one I have.Gulab Jamuns will puff up so they require that much of space to swell and fry well.
Take them out and after few seconds later dunk them in sugar syrup. Don’t stop the flame for the sugar syrup. TIP- for a soft Gulab Jamuns, you need to put the sugar syrup simmering at very low so that it remains hot, and this helps in proper absorption of syrup and Gulab Jamuns turn out soft.
Let the Gulab Jamuns soak the syrup and flavor overnight. Serve and enjoy the other day.Or who wants to wait till that time!! mmmm..I am not ..delicious.
Happy Holi Friends.