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Cover: Some like it hot

Desserts

14May 12

Sweet Gulab Jamoon

Sweet Gulab JamoonGulab Jamoon is a delicious Indian dessert. It consists of deep fried balls of dough, called jamoons, in a sugary syrup. Gulab Jamoon was served at all my cousins’ weddings. In fact, it is one of the most typical desserts served at traditional Indian weddings, and one of my very favourites of all sweets.

These days, gulab jamoon powder is internationally available, so it’s not difficult to find and pepare; however,  it takes a little more time compared to other desserts as it sometimes requires being dipped in sugar syrup for whole night. The texture resembles the liqueur syrup-saturated French cake Baba au Rhum.

They also remind me a bit of doughnuts. Speaking of, did you know that May 12th through May 19th is national doughnut week? Maybe you should try this recipe to celebrate!

The term gulab jamoon comes from Persia, and it means “rose water”, referring to its rosewater-scented syrup. This very tasty dessert is often eaten at important celebrations, like weddings, but also commonly enjoyed at Diwali (the Indian festival of light) and the Muslim celebrations of Eid ul-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

There are lots of varieties when it comes to gulab jamoon, and each one has its one appearance and special taste. You can eat them cold, but our favourite way to enjoy gulab jamoon is to warm them a bit before serving. It adds another dimension to the dish;  it’s perfect for special occasions when you want something more exotic than cake.

I got this recipe from my aunt, who really knows how to make tasty sweets.

Sweet Gulab Jamoon
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10
 
Gulab Jamoon is a delicious Indian dessert.
Ingredients
  • 250ml Water
  • 250g Sugar
  • 500ml Khoya
  • 125g Flour
  • ¼tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 pinch of Saffron, crushed
  • ½tsp. Cardamom Powder
  • 125ml Milk
  • 900ml Vegetable Oil for deep frying
Instructions
  1. To make the syrup, combine the water and sugar in a large pot and let simmer while you are preparing the jamoons.
  2. To make the balls of dough, start by crumbling the khoya into a large bowl.
  3. Add in the flour and baking soda. Mix these ingredients together.
  4. Sprinkle in the pinch of crushed saffron and cardamom powder.
  5. Knead these ingredients to form dough. Slowly add in the milk as you are kneading. Only use as much milk as you need to make the dough soft. You might not need as much as 125ml.
  6. Take a small bit of dough in your hands and roll it into a perfectly round little ball. There should be enough to make 30 balls.
  7. Put these balls on a plate and cover them with a slightly damp kitchen towel. Let them sit for up to 10 minutes.
  8. Heat up the vegetable oil until it is very hot. (You may substitute ghee for vegetable oil). Then lower to the lowest flame.
  9. Slowly drop in the balls of dough. Be careful not to burn yourself. These balls will rise to the top of the oil. Let them fry until they are light brown.
  10. Remove the balls from the hot oil and leave them aside on a paper towel. Let the oil drain off them.
  11. Now add them to the syrup, which should be still simmering in the pot. Cover the pot and let simmer for 1 hour, then turn off the flame. My aunt then lets them soak in the syrup overnight. If you have time for this, it will give the balls a much sweeter flavour.
  12. Serve in a dish with plenty of syrup and perhaps a bit of icing sugar!

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01May 12

Malai Kulfi (Pistachio and Almond Ice Cream)

Malai KulfiKulfi is a dessert that most of us are familiar with if we’ve eaten out at a few Indian restaurants. I’m sure that you’ll agree, however, once you’ve tried and tested this Malai Kulfi recipe, that nothing beats making it fresh at home – it’s much more aromatic and definitely creamier when home-made!

Lots of Indian desserts combine milk and cardamon, and this recipe is no exception. The play of the sweetness of condensed milk with the fragrance of the cardamon seeds is surprising to some, a taste to acquire for others, and simply delightful to most. Mango and rose Kulfi are also very tasty.

Kulfi is often described as ice cream because this is the closest way to express what the dish looks and tastes like, but in fact Kulfi is denser in texture and takes longer to melt than traditional British ice-creams, which are usually whipped. (Try this homemade strawberry ice-cream.) Kulfi tends to have a richer flavour too.

Ingredients
• 205g evaporated milk
• 150g condensed milk
• 150ml whipping cream
• 2 drops of vanilla essence
• Pinch of ground cardamon
• 12g ground almonds
• 12g ground pistachio nuts and a few left whole for decoration

Preparation Method
1. In a large pan, pour in the 2 types of milk and the cream. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes by which time the consistency of the contents should have thickened and the quantity reduced.
2. Add the vanilla extract and the cardamon powder. Stir, remove from the heat, and allow to cool.
3. Once the mixture is cool, stir in the ground nuts.
4. Pour into 4 x 100ml freezer-proof moulds and freeze for 8 hours. If you don’t have any moulds handy, you can use cleaned-out yoghurt pots which work just as well.

When you are ready to serve the Malai Kulfi, take the moulds out of the freezer and run a little warm water over them to loosen the contents. Serve in a pretty bowl with a few whole pistachio nuts sprinkled on the top.

Takes: 5 minutes to prepare and 30 minutes to cook
Makes: 4 servings

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16Apr 12

Indian Lassi with cardamom and pistachios

Indian LassiAn Indian lassi with cardamom and pistachios is a lovely yoghurt drink to have during a hot meal or afterwards as a dessert. It is a variant of a fruit smoothie such as this strawberry and blueberry smoothie.

A lassi is made using yoghurt, water, spices and mango or other fruits. It is especially good with hot food like the Indian cuisine because the proteins in the yoghurt protect the inside of the mouth from hot chili and other spices.

Lassis are full of good stuff and are believed to promote digestion and prevent bloating. I remember the first time I tried a mango lassi as a healthy dessert. I was a student, and my Mum made it for my friends and I as an after-school snack. It was so delicious, that it took my breath away. Needless to say, from then on I was even more excited to arrive home after a long day of hitting the books.

Had I not been taught to eat (and drink) in moderation, I could easily have drunk 3 glasses of the stuff! My Mum, knowing my appetite for this drink, wisely chose to make it every now and then, but not too often. It was always a special treat when she made this snack.

When I moved out on my own, I learned that this Indian smoothie is easy-peasy to make yourself at home. It couldn’t be simpler! If you have a blender, put away the fizzy drinks and try this healthy one instead. I´m positive it will become your new summer favourite.

Ingredients:

• 2 tall glasses (preferably ice-cream glasses)
• 200ml of plain yoghurt
• 100ml of full-fat milk
• 200g of chopped mango
• 6 teaspoons of sugar
• 2 pinches of cardamom
• 100g of ice (optional)
• 1 pinch of salt to enhance the flavor of the mango.
• 2 tablespoons of ground pistachios

Preparation method:

1. Peel and remove pit from mangos. Chop into chunks and place in blender.
2. Add the yoghurt, milk, sugar, spices and ice.
3. Blend for 2 minutes until smooth.
4. Pour into tall glasses.
5. Sprinkle the ground pistachios over the drinks.
6. Serve immediately with a straw.

Makes: 3-4 portions
Takes: 10 minutes
Level: very easy

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09Apr 12

Carrot Halwa

Carrot Halwa is a delicious dessert. My grandmother used to make it for me, and I remember how she was able to get the rich mixture of carrots, nuts and milk just right. It is rich and heavy. But just a warning, this tasty Indian sweet is quite fattening.

It can be made with regular butter, but I prefer to make it with my Fragrant Ghee. Ghee just makes the taste that much more intense.

Many people garnish it with nuts and raisins as well. I suggest that if you do that, you do so sparingly as you do not want the taste to overpower this dessert. Just sprinkle a few nuts and raisins over it before you serve.

Ingredients:

  • 2kg carrots
  • 160g cashews, ground
  • 1tsp cardamom
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 3 litres milk
  • 800g sugar
  • 4tbsp ghee

Preparation Method:

  1. Peel the carrots.
  2. Grate the carrots and leave them in a small bowl. Set the bowl aside.
  3. Heat just 3 tablespoons of ghee in a deep pan on high heat.
  4. Crush the cashews. You can do this with a mortar and pestle, or you can just put the cashews in a ziplock bag and pound on them with the bottom of a pot.
  5. Lower the heat and put the crushed cashews into the pan and lightly roast them. They should turn light golden brown.
  6. Remove the cashews and set them aside.
  7. Add another tablespoon of ghee.
  8. Add the grated carrots and stir slowly.
  9. Sprinkle in the cardamom and saffron and stir for 3 minutes.
  10. Now pour in the milk. You can use skim milk to make the Carrot Halwa less fattening.
  11. Raise the heat and bring the milk to the boil.
  12. Once it has boiled, lower the flame and stir slowly.
  13. Cover the pot and lower the flame a bit more. Leave this to simmer for about 1 hour. Do not forget to check on it every so often and stir. After some time simmering, the ghee will start to ooze out, and it will become nice and thick.
  14. Finally add the sugar and stir well.
  15. Cook for another 10 minutes.
  16. It is now ready to serve.

 

Makes: 1 large Carrot Halwa
Takes: 2 hours

Note: Although it isn’t an Indian dish, I also recommend this carrot cake recipe. What better way to eat your veggies than adding them to a dessert?

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