Cooking food is definitely an art, and making desserts, particularly Indian desserts, is no cakewalk. Each mithai is made with a lot of precision and a whole lot of love. The Indian affair with desserts is no stranger to us. The interesting bit is that many desi sweets aren’t even of Indian origin. Take jalebi or gulab jamun for instance. Whatever their origins are, we have perfected them to their current shape, and these tips won’t let you burst the sweet bubble of gulab jamuns.
Ever thought of making gulab jamuns at home? While many of us may find it more convenient to get it packed from a nearby sweetmeat shop or halwai and relish it without any fuss, the master chefs hidden in some of us may want to experiment in the kitchen and create our own. And while we appreciate the effort, making gulab jamun is no joke. You need to be careful about the temperature of the oil, the shape of the balls, and much more in order to not let it crack open while frying.
Before we delve into the tips and tricks to acing gulab jamuns, let’s talk a little bit of history too. The deep-fried balls drenched in sugar syrup are usually made with khoya and maida. It is believed that the Persians brought it to India with them, and it was during the Mughal era that the gulab jamun attained its present shape and form.
So, without further ado, here are a few tips and tricks that will come in handy when making gulab jamuns at home so that they don’t burst open on your frying pan:
1. Smooth Dough
The dough for gulab jamun plays a huge role in making or breaking the sweet. Kneading for too long can make the dough fall apart easily. Similarly, if the dough is too sticky or too dry, it may break while frying, leaving you with an unsatisfactory result. So, make sure that the dough is lump-free, smooth, and binding. To ensure this, sometimes one can add a pinch of baking powder or arrowroot to the dough so that it doesn’t break. Corn flour can also do the job well.
2. Correct Shape
The most common gulab jamun shapes are round, cylindrical, or oval. This is because these shapes make it easy to hold the dough together and are easy to fry too. One needs to make sure that there are no tiny cracks in the shape because that would increase the chances of gulab jamuns breaking while frying. Also, while rolling the balls in your palm, grease them with some oil so that they bind well.
3. Appropriate Temperature
If you think that frying the balls in a high flame will give you the desired results, you are mistaken. The trick is to gradually increase the temperature of the ghee, alternating between low and medium for the initial few minutes. The temperature can be increased as soon as you see the gulab jamuns attaining a dark colour.
4. Sample Testing
To make sure you’ve got a good batch of dough, take a small portion and fry it. Dip it in sugar syrup, aka chashni, and you’ll know if the dough requires any improvement. This helps to make sure your effort and dough don’t go to waste, and you can perfect it in case of any gaps.
5. Soaking In Sugar Syrup
The next most important step after frying gulab jamuns is dipping them in sugar syrup. If you think your job is done by this stage, you are mistaken again. Keeping the balls in sugar syrup for too long can make them lose their texture and become extremely soft. So, your gulab jamuns can break at this point too.
Remember, it is important to avoid stirring the gulab jamun balls excessively while frying, as this can also cause them to burst.