Veera. I just love the sound of this name. It means brave. And I share a beautiful friendship with a brave girl by that name 🙂 Veera and my friendship goes back to high school. Being in the same school and going to the same tuition classes gave us a lot of time to chat about our dreams, aspirations and obviously, secret crushes 😉
Veera is passionate about whatever she does. She loves cooking and I have seen her cook Gujarati dishes with such sincerity since the age of 15, when I hardly ever entered the kitchen. When my mom wouldn’t be home, Veera used to take over the kitchen and cook for my brother and me. Sweet! I still mess up a roti but she has been making little, soft, round rotis as a teenager. Every day after our morning tuition class, I would stand next to Veera in her kitchen trying to learn the art of making rotis her way. She would begin with making the perfect, non-sticky, soft dough using her hands and I was surprised by the ease with which she did it. And there would be a mound of same-sized rotis in a casserole in no time.
But this recipe isn’t about rotis. It is about something that is as sweet, comforting and lazy yet creative as Veera herself. Lazy because it is made out of an instant mix using some creativity 😉 Although very brave about her own issues, she would break into tears if she ever saw any of her friend in trouble. Isn’t that sweet? Veera moved to the US five years ago and got married to a wonderful guy about a year ago but we have kept in touch like best buddies. She is just a call, sms, chat, FB post or email away and I know I can call her if ever am feeling low. Isn’t that comforting? There are so many other qualities and beautiful memories associated with this friendship. As I can’t put them all here, I shall proceed with the recipe. I happened to see pictures of Gulab Jamun, an Indian dessert, posted on her Facebook account two days ago and requested for the recipe, which she readily emailed. Here goes my gift to my amazing friend, Veera on Friendship Day!
Soft and fluffy khoya based dumplings in sugar syrup
100 gms Gits Gulab Jamun mix packet (you can use any other brand)
Few stands of Saffron
Take sugar and water in equal proportions. I take 400 gms of sugar with 400 ml of water mix them and simmer (high flames will destroy the sugar and will end up giving burnt sugar taste) for about 10-15 minutes. This will thicken and reduce the syrup to 340-350 ml which would be perfect to soak all of jamuns. Add saffron and cardamon in the syrup while it simmers to give a light flavor to the jamuns.
Keep it aside.
Take the mix in the bowl and add milk (approx.50-60 ml). Make a smooth dough, break all the lumps while kneading. Keep the dough aside for 10 minutes to let it absorb the milk so that you get fluffy jamuns.
Divide dough in to 20-25 equal parts, roll in to small balls of size little bit bigger than pebbles as it will grow in size during frying and in the syrup. Use some ghee on your palms and make smooth balls out of the dough. Cover with a thin cloth or paper towel to provide moisture to jamuns.
Heat the ghee on a medium flame. Do not put the gas on a high flame or the jamuns will remain uncooked from the middle. Test the heat of the ghee by pouring a little dough/batter into it.
Now deep fry the jamuns in the same flame. Once the jamuns turn golden brown in colour, take them out and drain excess ghee on paper for just 10-15 seconds. Put them in the sugar syrup when they are hot as hot jamuns will absorb the syrup perfectly and will taste really sweet.
Enjoy this dessert while it is hot.