Kaala Jamun or Kala Jam

Gulab Jamuns have an elder sibling, called Kaala Jamuns or Kala Jaam. They, vis-a-vis their copper coloured siblings Gulab Jamuns, have a thicker, tougher outer covering,denser inner texture and almost black colour which gives them their name, Kaala meaning black. I saw a beautiful picture of Kaala Jamuns a few days back and wanted to try making them. Played around with my Gulab Jamun recipe this morning and was very happy with the results.
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Ingredients

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For the Gulab Jamuns
Khoya/Maawa/Milk Fudge –1 cup
Chenna/paneer/cottage cheese – ½ cup
Maida/All purpose flour – 2 Tbsp
Corn Flour-1 Tsp
Baking Powder – 1/8 tsp
Ghee – for frying

For the Filling
Khoya-paneer mixture- 2 Tbsp (taken from the khoya-paneer mixture)
Food colour , any – a drop or two( may use a pinch of saffron instead , steeped in a Tbsp of warm milk)
Sugar- ½ Tsp
Cashews, roughly chopped- 1 Tbsp
Almonds, chopped- ½ Tbsp

For the sugar syrup
Sugar – 2 cups
Water – 2 ½ cups
Finely powdered cardamom – ¼ Tsp

  1. Sugar Syrup– Prepare the sugar syrup by mixing the water and sugar and bringing it to a boil. Simmer for a minute. Remove. Add the cardamom powder.
  2. Grate and knead the chenna and khoya separately and mix them.
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  3. The Filling– Separate 2 Tbsp of the khoya and paneer mixture for the filling. Add the food colour, sugar and the chopped nuts. Reserve.
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  4. Jamuns– Add the maida, corn flour and baking powder to the remaining khoya and paneer mixture. Mix well and knead to bring it together. It will be a soft doughy consistency.
  5. Separate into sixteen equal balls. Flatten each and place the filling. Make roundels again. You may keep them round shape them oblong like I did here. The balls should be smooth and free of cracks or they will scatter in the ghee.
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  6. Heat the ghee to a medium temperature- it should not be very hot. I always use a deep saucepan with a handle to fry the gulab jamuns. It is easier to stir them without touching them and there are lesser chances of them breaking. Also it ensures even browning.
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  7. Fry all along on low medium heat. When they reach a copper brown hue, you have gulab jamuns ready.
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  8. To get Kaala Jamun, continue to fry till they reach an almost black colour.
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  9. Once evenly coloured, drop them into the warm sugar syrup. Fry them on low-medium heat throughout. Do not crank up the heat or you will end up with an uncooked centre.
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  10. Soak for some time and serve warm. Kaala Jamuns need to be soaked longer than gulab jamuns as they have a thicker covering.
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  11. They can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two days. Warm them in the microwave before serving.

*You may skip the filling and make them plain
*In case khoya is not available here is an excellent Instant Khoya recipe by my friend and a very innovative cook, Neha Saxena Gulati.

Instant Khoya

Take 1/2 cup heavy Cream (If using Amul cream, refrigerate it for a few hours and use just the top thick cream. Discard the watery part)
And 1/2 Cup powdered milk. Mix both in a microwave safe bowl with a spoon till in incorporates well.
Now microwave it for two minutes. Remove and mix  and microwave again for thirty seconds.
It usually gets done in about 2 minutes and 30 seconds. In case you feel it hasn’t come together, microwave for another 30 seconds. Make sure you don’t overdo it else it might burn. Keep an eye.
The same can be done on stove-top in medium heat, in a non stick pan. Just cook till all comes together.
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I am taking this popular Indian delight to Fiesta Friday# 26 at Angie’s. A big thank you to Prudy and Jess for co-hosting the event ❤
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Kesar Rasmalai

Last night I had a sudden demand for dessert from the boys sometime around 10.30 PM. All I had at hand was lots of milk. And Kesar (saffron).
Kesar: the spice of the Gods! I love the aroma, the hue, the strands-everything about it!

Made this Kesari Rasmalai flavoured and coloured solely with the richness of saffron- no cardamom, no pistachios, almonds or cashews,nothing. Pure Kesar Nirvana. The rasmalai discs are completely melt- in- the- mouth ♡
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And all under thirty minutes!

Ingredients

For the gullas/flat cottage cheese discs
Milk- 1 litre (I used cow milk from the dairy, boiled and removed the cream and then made paneer like this. Semi-skimmed milk works best.
Lemon Juice- 2 tsp (add slowly till milk separates)

Sugar Syrup
Water – 2 cups
Sugar – ½ cup
(Since the gullas here are flat, they can be made in less sugar syrup compared to rasgullas)

For the Ras/Milk Syrup
Whole milk/full cream milk- 1 litre
Sugar- 4 Tbsp (or less/more as per preference)
Kesar- 1 tsp full (soak it in ¼ cup of warm milk (NOT HOT) and leave for 30 minutes)
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Prepare the ras by boiling the whole milk for about 20 minutes till somewhat thickened. Add sugar and let cool.
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Meanwhile make the gullas/rasmalai discs
Boil the semi –skimmed milk, add lemon juice slowly till the milk mass separates. Here is a pictorial on making paneer at home. Strain and wash the paneer thoroughly. Press it under a heavy weight for five minutes to get the whey out. The paneer that you get is crumbly in texture. This is the right kind of paneer to get good gullas.

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Rub with palms till the fat/ghee/chiknayee is released and make discs.
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Mix the water and sugar and bring to a boil and drop the discs in the sugar syrup. Cook covered for about 12-15 minutes.
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To check if the discs are done, drop one in drinking water, if it sinks, it is done. If it is floating, boil for another couple of minutes.
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Once done, remove the discs to clean drinking water which is at room temperature and let cool.
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Assembling the Kesariya Rasmalai
The ras would have cooled from hot to warm now. Stir in the kesar. Squeeze the discs gently and drop into the ras.
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Enjoy warm or chill for a few hours and indulge.
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Mango Gulab Shakri

It is the 4th of July weekend and it is a celebratory weekend at my café. We are celebrating 19 years of matrimonial bliss and the husband’s birthday all in the same week. I had to whip up something special. Had been working on this dessert  for some time and grabbed this occasion to make a huge lot before the mango Gods bid adieu.

So here is presenting  Mango Gulab Shakri.
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Gulab Shakri is a dessert from the Indian state of Rajasthan. Interestingly, it has no gulab/rose in it. Legend has it that it was first made by a certain ‘Gulab Halwai’ of Jodhpur. I had it at a pukka Rajasthani wedding years back. Loved it so much that made sure it was on the menu for the next family wedding and stood by the halwai (sweet maker) watching it get made. This is after a few twists to the basic recipe in a very flavorous mango avatar.

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INGREDIENTS

Serves 4

Whole Milk – 1 litre
Lemon Juice- 1 Tbsp
Mango pulp- 1 cup (I got mine from two large dussehri mangoes, any type of mangoes work fine as long as they are sweet)
Saffron/Kesar- a huge pinch, steeped in ¼ cup of warm milk for 30 minutes
Sugar- 3 Tbsp( or more if you like sweeter)
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1. Boil the milk and reduce the milk to less than half. Keep stirring to avoid scalding.
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2. Add the lemon juice drop by drop till the milk is somewhat separated. You may not need to add all of 1 Tbsp. Add slowly till you see it separating, boil a little and add some more if you feel you haven’t got the grainy texture. Stop adding once you see the grains.
3. Add the mango pulp and cook for another 10 minutes.
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4. Add the sugar and cook for 5 minutes.
5. Let cool till it is warm and stir in the saffron.
6. Chill and serve garnished with mango slices and almonds.

IMG_20140625_111724_wmI made some mini- Rasgullas and added them in- worked beautifully!
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I am taking this very Indian dessert from my hometown to Angie’s weekly Fiesta 🙂 I am loving my weekly trips there!

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Rasgulla,cottage cheese balls in sweet syrup

My first post is a sweet one. The no-fry,no-ghee Indian dessert loved by most and relatively low-calorie as far as desserts go!

rasgulla or roshogulla

Rasgullas- the soft and squeezy delight from Bengal

Hailing from the eastern state of West Bengal, these light-delights are so loved that one sees rasgulla eating competitions at weddings. I have seen a participant, who eventually was declared the winner, down three dozen at a go!!

Here is a recipe very close to my heart, perfected after more than half a dozen trials till I reached close to perfection. Rasgullas are now almost a weekly affair in my house. Two months back I wouldn’t have dreamt of making them at home!!

You follow the directions below and get perfect rasgullas at home 🙂
Let me warn you-making rasgullas is very addictive! Once hooked to making them, you just aren’t able to stop!

RASGULLA

For the Rasgullas you need
1 Litre cow milk, cream removed (I buy the milk an evening prior, boil,cool and refrigerate. Next morning, remove the cream and proceed to make chenna/paneer)
1-2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice/Vinegar / 3-4 Tbsp curd
Tip- Off late I have started using curd for splitting the milk. You don’t need to wash the chhena and it gives perfectly round rasgullas. 

Paneer
Split the milk

To Make Chenna
(Here is a step wise guide to making paneer/chhena at home)
 Bring the milk to boil, add 1-2 tbsp lemon juice gradually so that the milk mass and whey separate completely.Add 10-15 ice cubes. Rest for a minute.
If using curd, simply keep adding the curd till the milk splits. Strain and drain the chhena well and proceed to make rasgullas. No need to put the ice cubes and wash the paneer! 

Making paneer at home
Strain through muslin cloth
Making Paneer at home
Wash well under running water
Making Paneer at home
Hang for 15-20 minutes for the water to rinse

Strain in a colander lined with muslin/cheesecloth. Wash thoroughly with fresh water to remove the lemony sourness. Drain the water by squeezing. Knot the muslin cloth and hang it  to get rid for any excess whey/liquid.After about 10-15 minutes, remove. The chhena you get will be crumbly like in the picture below.
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If it is too wet, it is not drained well and will be impossible to knead. So, make sure chenna is crumbly and slightly dry and yet a little moist.

Making Rasgulla2
Knead it to get a smooth dough

Rub the chenna with fingers and heels of the palm till the chenna gives out some fat/ ghee/chiknaayee. It takes me about 5- 7 minutes to get there. By now the chenna is like a dough ball that comes together easily, neither too hard nor too soft.

Take pinches off the dough and make small balls, you should get about 15. Remember, they are going to double up on boiling so size them accordingly.

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Make small chhena balls

For the Sugar Syrup

For the Light Sugar Syrup to boil the rasgullas

1 cup Sugar
5 cups Water
1/2 tsp fine cardamom (ilaichi) powder

For adding to the Light sugar syrup after boiling the rasgullas

1/4 cup Sugar (I keep the sugar very low. Please  increase the sugar to 1/2  or 3/4 cup here to get sweeter rasgullas)
1/2 cup Water
8-10 saffron strands (optional- I haven’t used here)
1-2 Tsp rosewater/gulabjal (optional- I haven’t used here)

While you make the paneer balls, bring to boil 5 cups of water with a cup of sugar (light sugar syrup). Add half a tsp fine cardamom powder. Just as the syrup comes to a rolling boil, add in the rasgulla balls. Boil covered for 12- 15 minutes on medium flame.
I make my rasgullas in two batches so that the rasgullas get enough space in the water to expand and also keep their round shape. If the syrup is less or there are too many gullas in the liquid, they will either become flat or lose their shape.
You may uncover to check every 5 min minutes.

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Boil them in light sugar syrup till they double up

To check if the rasgullas are cooked, drop one in plain drinking water. If it sinks, it is done. If it floats, boil for a couple of minutes and check again. Switch off the gas.

Making rasgulla at home
Drop in a plain glass of water. If it sinks to the bottom, it is done!

Transfer gently to a big bowl full of clean drinking water. There should be enough water for the paneer balls else they might lose their shape.dd one fourth cup sugar and half a cup of water to the same light sugar syrup in which the rasgullas were boiled  and give it a boil so that the sugar melts. Add in the saffron strands (if using) when the syrup becomes warm, do not add while it is hot.Let the sugar syrup cool to room temperature ( takes about 30 minutes)
Remove the rasgullas from the plain water, squeeze gently and drop into the sugar syrup.
Chill for three hours. You may top with some finely slivered pistachios and almonds.
Enjoy!

Problems and possible reasons and solutions

Bengali Rasgulla

Tricky buggers, but delightful once tamed! And super addictive! My friend Suchitra commented yesterday on the numerous successful rasgulla attempt on CAL- my food group on FB. Sadly, some misses too :(. I know how disheartening it is to not get it right. I got into the kitchen last night and made a fresh batch

Just tried one- perfect! No lemony taste, just the right amount of sweetness, no kich kich sound when you bite in.

1. The right milk is the first step, I cannot say that enough!! Fresh cow milk from the dairy works best. I always use that, never had a failed attempt with that. In case you do not have access to that, try with a good brand of cow milk. People have tried with Amul and got good results.  A friend in the UK gets perfect results with Tesco green milk 
And try, try, try till you figure out what milk works
People living overseas should give them a go with 2 % milk.

For people living in the US– My friend and co-blogger, the brilliant Sonal Gupta has done a fantastic detailed post on rasgullas. The post has exhaustive notes on the right kind of milk and how to go about making rasgullas. Find this very helpful post here on Sonal’s blog simplyvegetarian777.wordpress.com. A big shout of thanks Sonal 🙂

2. I remove the malai/cream and then proceed to make chhena because my trial with full cream milk gave me greasy Rasgullas. But your choice, you can go with full milk.

3. While making chhena, do not boil the milk after adding the lemon juice. That leads to chewy Rasgullas. Better still, use curd to split the milk. No washing required, but drain well. If the paneer is too moist, rasgullas will break. Paneer made with curd gives perfectly round rasgullas 🙂 

4. Washing the paneer THOROUGHLY is vital, else you get the lemony taste in Rasgullas. I pour 3-4 glasses of drinking water and wash all of it with my fingers- very nicely!

5. Draining the chhena right is again,very important. Too dry and the Rasgullas go dry, too moist and the Rasgullas scatter in the syrup. This comes with handling the paneer. But a couple of attempts and you get it right.

6. I do not add any binder– sooji,maida,cornflour or arrowroot. Nothing against binders but I wanted to do it without them for the fasting community in my family 😉 Also, I got softer Rasgullas without the sooji/maida- yeah, I did try making them with both.

7. Kneading well is important! The chenna has to be crumbly to start with. Knead it till you get a smooth non-sticky dough like consistency. Knead till it leaves out some ghee/fat/chiknaayee. And stop then.

8. Make smooth, crack free chhena balls.

9. I transfer the chhena balls to water at room temperature to stop the cooking process. This also ensures I don’t get chewy Rasgullas due to over cooking in the residual heat. Keeps their shape well while I cook batch 2 of the Rasgullas in the same syrup.

10. I cook the chenna balls in light (less sweet) sugar syrup to get spongy Rasgullas. Later add more sugar and water to the SAME sugar syrup. Then cool the syrup to room temperature and add the cooked chhena balls which were put into water at room temperature. We are using the same syrup and not making two syrups here.

11. I always leave them in the syrup for 3-5 hours before serving so that they soak in the sweetness. Eating immediately is fine too, only they will be little less sweet.

12. The water sugar ratio of 1:5 gives medium sweet Rasgullas. If you want them sweeter, you can increase the amount of sugar

13. I make them in an open vessel. People use the pressure cooker too. I felt they get a little yellow in the cooker. Also I enjoy watching them double up, hence the open pan with a lid works beautifully! 😉

14. Sometimes Rasgullas shrink after they boil and double. Usually happens because of the wrong milk in my experience. They do shrink a wee little bit once taken of the heat, but not remarkably so.

15. If you get flat or shapeless rasgullas, it is because they aren’t getting enough space to expand. Use a deep and wide vessel. I make the rasgullas in two batches so that they have enough space and also because it gets done in less amount of sugar syrup- no wastage. If you want to make them at one go- you may double the amount of sugar syrup.

16. I keep the sugar low in the rasgullas. If you like them sweeter, please add more to the syrup after having boiled the rasgullas once.  If you feel they are less sweet even after the second soak for three hours- remove the rasgullas, add sugar to the syrup, give it a boil, cool and soak the rasgullas again for a couple of hours.

17. And, above all-  pray! I always do when I make them 😀

Roshogulla