The festive season officially begins with Raksha Bandhan. For a sweet start, it could be a good idea to try your hands at making mithais. Beginners can opt for the gulab jamun recipe and if you are feeling adventurous, go all out with ghevar.

Gulab jamun

Ingredients

Chaashni (sugar syrup)

4 cups sugar
3 cups water
1 tbsp gulab jal
3-4 pods green cardamom (slit open with peel)

Jamun

1 cup hariyali mawa or soft khoya
One-fourth cup malai paneer or chena
4 tbsp refined flour
1 tsp baking powder
Oil for deep frying

Method

Jamuns

1. For making perfectly soft gulab jamuns, hariyali mawa is needed. If it’s not available, substitute with soft mawa. But, hariyali mawa is preferred.

2. In a large thaal or paraat, knead the mawa. If the mawa is a bit hard, use a grater. Using the base of your palm, knead until it’s absolutely smooth and creamy. There should be no lumps and the texture shouldn't be grainy.

3. The process takes at least 15 minutes. You can also knead in small batches for efficiency and better results.

4. In another thaal or paraat, take the malai paneer, and knead until it’s completely smooth.

5. Mix the malai paneer and mawa. When they are well combined, add maida in batches until it forms a dough-like texture. You need to add in batches because the moisture in the mawa-paneer may yield different results. Add the refied flour and knead until the dough starts to leave the thaal.

4. Now, knead in the baking powder.

5. Rest the dough for 10-15 minutes. Cover with a cloth and make the chaashni.

For chaashni (sugar syrup)

1. On a slow flame, place a stock pot or wok. Pour in the water and add sugar. Stir till the sugar completely dissolves.

2. If needed, lower the flame to medium and bring to a boil. Stir in the rose water and slit green cardamom and turn off the flame after three minutes. It should just be a simple sugar syrup. We do not require one or two-string consistency.

3. Keep the sugar syrup aside. 

For gulab jamuns

1. Divide the dough in small and equal-sized balls. They will get bigger after they are soaked in the chaashni.

2. Keep the size small so that they cook through. Each should be about 1.5 centimetres in diameter. The size needs to be uniform to ensure that when they are fried in batches, the smaller ones don’t get burned and the bigger ones don’t remain uncooked.

3. Shape them in perfect roundels one by one. There shouldn’t be any cracks on the surface. Cover them with a moist cloth to avoid them from drying.

4. Place a wok on medium flame. Pour in oil for deep frying. The oil should fill about three-fourth of the wok and it should not be too hot. The ideal temperature for frying the gulab jamuns should be somewhere between 145-155 degree celsius. If you don’t have a cooking thermometer, here’s a test: drop in one gulab jamun ball, if it gets dark too quickly, then the oil is too hot, but if the ball starts to float in a few seconds and bubbles start to appear, you're good to go.

5. Reduce the flame to low. With a spatula, in slow stirring motions carefully make a whirlpool. Add the gulab jamun balls one by one, and try to not let the spoon touch them to avoid breakage. Fry in small batches and do not overcrowd the kadhai.

6. The stirring is needed to ensure they are cooked evenly and there’s an uniform brown colour. 

7. Once they acquire a nice golden brown hue, gently drop them in the warm sugar syrup. The temperature of the sugar syrup should not be more than 50 degree Celsius or the gulab jamuns get too soggy and may lose their shape.

8. Let the gulab jamuns rest in the sugar syrup for at least four hours.

9. Serve warm.

Recipe by chef Sanjyot Keer, digital content creator and founder of Your Food Lab

Rose Ladoo

Rose laddoo
Rose laddoo

Ingredients

600 gms gram flour (besan)
400 gms ghee
300 gms sugar
Half tsp of cardamom powder
200 ml water
100 gms almonds
60 gms dry hydrated rose petals
70 gms cold glaze (optional)

Method

1. In a heavy bottom pan, heat ghee till it melts and add gram flour. Keep the flame low.

2. Stir and cook till the mixture gets bubbles. Turn off the flame and keep aside.

3. Place another heavy bottom pan on low flame. Pour in water and add sugar. Let them dissolve.

4. When the sugar syrup comes to a nice boil (about 110 degree Celsius), mix in the ghee-roasted gram flour. Stir continuously and keep the flame low.

5. When it’s well combined, it will form a dough-like consistency. Sprinkle the cardamom powder and mix well.

6. Remove from heat and let it cool. It should be warm enough for you to be able to touch.

Assembling the ladoos

Take the dough and make small lime-sized balls.

Coat each ball with the cold glaze which ensures an even coating of the dry rose petals. But, you can skip this step and roll them directly over the rose petals. They may appear slightly disproportionate but they taste delicious.

Chef Ram Singh Baghel, Halwai Chef, Sheraton Grand Bengaluru Whitefield Hotel & Convention Center

GHEVAR

Ghevar
Ghevar

Ingredients

For ghevar

300 gms maida (all-purpose flour)
100 gms ghee
100 ml milk
300 ml water
Ghee to fry

For sugar syrup

300 gms sugar
200 ml water

Rabri

1 litre milk
2 tsp sugar
10-15 pistachios
4- 5 cardamom pods
Saffron (optional)

Method

1. Sieve the maida.

2. In a large bowl, mix the ghee and cold milk with a whisk.

3. Add maida and whisk again. The batter should be completely smooth. The consistency should be similar to pancake batter.

To fry the ghevar

1. Heat ghee in a small wok or heavy-bottomed saucepan on medium flame.

2. To test whether the ghee is hot enough, add half a teaspoon of batter and if it floats to the surface with a crackling sound, you are good to go.

3. Scoop out a spoonful of the batter and pour it into the ghee in long strings. The idea is to not let it clump like a pakora. You can spread out the batter in the ghee while pouring it in. Use a slim wooden spoon or even chopsticks to make an empty space in the centre of the batter. At this point, the batter breaks and looks like uneven boondi and that's okay. The batter will start to move towards the side of the pan and the ghee will start to foam.

5. Keep the flame low. When the foam subsides, add the next spoonful of batter in the centre. It will start to crackle and stick to the batter that’s already frying near the sides of the pan. You might have to create an empty space in the centre to add the next spoonful of batter. Remember, it needs to be added slowly while maintaining a little distance from the wok or saucepan for a string-like consistency. Again, like magic, the fresh batch of batter will start to move towards the fried portion. Repeat this process once or twice and your first disc of fried ghevar with a sponge-like texture is ready.

For the sugar syrup

1. Boil the water and sugar till the syrup forms a string-like consistency.

2. Keep aside and let it cool till it’s lukewarm.

3. Now, dip the fried ghevar discs in the syrup. Alternately, you can use a spoon and spread the sugar syrup over the ghevar. 

For the rabri

1. Boil one litre full cream milk in a pan. When it comes to a rolling boil, lower down the flame. Keep stirring at short intervals so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom.

2. Stir in the cardamon and let it reduce to one-third of the original quantity.

3. Turn off the flame and mix in sugar as per taste.

4. Garnish with nuts and saffron and serve with ghevar.

Chef Narpat Singh Rajput, Chef de Partie, Courtyard by Marriott Bhopal