Lately the gang revisited a really nice Indian restaurant along Buendia Ave named New Bombay (should write a review about that sometime..). One of the highlights of that meal was the dessert: Gulab Jamun. It’s basically deep fried milk balls dunked in flavored sugar syrup. It was so good that I resolved to find out how it was made.
I found this really nice and simple recipe from Indian Food Forever, and I had the chance to try it out the other day. The sugar syrup wasn’t hard at all, involving only to dissolve 2 parts sugar to 1 part water, and adding whatever flavorings I happened to have on hand. I used a small amount of saffron (since it’s really expensive!). I tried looking for cardamom pods in several supermarkets but was in vain.
It was with the milk balls that I encountered problems. I borrowed my in-laws’ kitchen to make gulab jamun since I can’t deep fry in my own. I whipped up the milk mixture and made twenty nice little balls and set them aside on a plate while I heated up the oil.
The instruction was to gently slide the balls into the oil from the side of the pan, and gently shake the pan to ensure even browning. And to expect that the balls will float and to shake the pan further. I did all that, but the outer parts of the balls fell apart! Some of the milk mixture came floating in the oil by themselves. I fished them all out with a slotted spoon and set aside in a serving dish.
Perhaps the oil was too hot? I transferred to a smaller burner and lowered the heat further, and tried again with another batch of milk balls. Nope, same result. I ran out of milk balls to try with, but had really small fried balls amid a huge batch of fried…crumbs. I put them all on serving plates and poured a generous amount of sugar syrup over them.
You can still see the balls in this other picture.
How did it taste, though? It actually tasted very similar to New Bombay’s dish, even though it looked very different. The in-laws loved it! It seemed like a great topping to put onto ice cream. Next time though, I’d find a way to make better and more solid milk balls. I’m thinking of pre-baking them before deep frying.