Monday, April 04, 2011

Sweet Tidings (Gulab Jamun recipe)

In India, it is traditional to break all happy news along with sweets. I understand that in North India the type of sweets distributed changes with the gender of the new born baby. Thus people will easily know it is a boy if laddus are distributed (I frankly do not know what sweet is distributed if it is a girl or perhaps they don't distribute any sweets at all if it is a girl). In the south, the saying, "Vayile sakkarai podanum," (put sugar in the mouth) was literally followed until couple of decades ago. So when a baby is born, it was customary to distribute a small packet of sugar and one banana along with one measure of paddy and a coin to all. The ritual is known as varadanam. The idea here was to request  the blessings of everyone for the well being and long life of the new born baby. (We children promptly exchanged the paddy for aval from "aval Krishnan"). With no fast communications systems like today's global network, the news of the new addition to the family was communicated to the paternal grandparents personally along with a tray of sugar and banana (sometimes it took 2 or 3 days as the news had to be communicated on an auspicious day only). This ritual is known as "Shobhanam Chollal." Varadanam was performed in the paternal grandparents' home as well. Also when the friends and relatives arrived to visit the new born, they brought along some sugar and put a pinch of sugar in the little one's mouth. These customs have become obsolete these days. Feeding the new borns with sugar is not allowed for more reasons than one.

When my own grandson arrived, I prepared Gulab jamuns, as it was also Deepavali in a few days. Deviating from the practice of using the readily available Gulab Jamun mix, I prepared it the traditional way, using khoya and the result was yummilicious!

Here is the recipe  for all of you to relish this yumy sweet.


Unsweetened Khoya : 200gms
Maida:                        1 tbsp.
Soda-bi-carb               1 pinch(strictly)
fresh curds: 1 tbsp.
Raisins/blanched almonds : 1 tbsp. (optional)
Oil for deep frying
Sugar                            : 500gms
Rose essence: 1 tsp.
Cardamom powder: 1 tsp.

Heat sugar and 500ml. water in a wide mouthed pan and boil until the syrup is thickened to a sticky consistency. Add cardamom powder and rose essence. Keep aside.

Crumble the khoya. Add maida and soda-bi-carb. Mix lightly with finger tips. Add curds if necessary and make a soft dough. Make small marble shaped balls of the dough and stuff a raisin or almond in each of them. Heat the oil in a pan. Dont allow it to smoke. When the oil is heated, lower the heat and fry the jamuns few at a time. When they swell and are fried to a deep brown color, remove, drain the oil and put in the hot sugar syrup. Allow the jamuns to soak for 10-12 hours.



Swathi said...

delicious gulab jamun, nice writeup. Enjoy with your grandson.

SushMira said...

Aunty, I love your recipe and would like to try. Do you know if Khoya is available in stores in the US?

Sunitha said...

Nice recipees! I have a Puthucode connection. My dad is frm Thekkepotta.cherungottil house!