Sunday, November 11, 2007

Garma Garam Gulab Jamun

Another recipe from my SIL's archive of delicious desserts to devour and feel guilty later! My Maa, SIL and MIL are like a treasure-trove of dessert recipes. Even if I made one dessert per week, this lifetime is not enough, I bet!

My mom is here with me these days. So she makes the dishes that keep us alive and rocking (Second thoughts on rocking since I have gained so much weight now! Cherishing all that she churns out; sometimes from the most under-estimated ingredients!). I cook once in a while, most often desserts and snacks.

Though like a good daughter (!), when they were planning their US trip, I swore vehemently that I will take care of everything and would like Maa to use this as an opportunity to relax and chill out. Right from the evening she landed here, she has been the matron of the kitchen. Anyone else who has done the same, please confess so that I can feel better that "I am not the only one with this problem" :)

You guys must have guessed it from the scarcity of new posts on this blog. At least I would like to be under the impression that my fellow foodie bloggers missed me ;) Enough of babbling from my end, here is the recipe of gulab jamun. It involves two main steps - preparing the hot sugar syrup and dunking the fried gulab jamuns in the hot syrup to absorb the hot syrup and soften up.

Water - 2 cups
Sugar - 2 cups
Saffron strands - few
Cardamom - 5-6 pieces

Heat water and sugar. Let it boil and sugar to melt. As it develops a slight golden color, add the saffron and cardamom. Keep it boiling till it is golden in color. It will be runny in consistency so that when you drop the fried jamuns in it the jamuns should be able to absorb the liquid. The whole process takes about 15-20 mins.

Step 2 - JAMUN PREPARATION (40-45 Jamuns)
Milk Powder - 2 cups
Flour - 2/3 cup
Baking soda (NOT baking powder) - 1 tsp
Heavy Cream - 1.5 cups (You can substitute with half-and-half milk 1 cup, but heavy cream is preferred)

Mix all the ingredients together. Make it a dough using heavy cream. It will be initially a little wet. Keep it aside for 30-45 minutes. It becomes thicker - more wet than roti/chapatti dough definitely.

Heat oil in Medium heat. Wet your hand with water and make 1 inch balls (NOTE - It will increase to at least twice its present size in the whole process due to the baking soda.) of the above dough. Drop it into the hot oil such that when you drop it, it should slowly bounce to the surface. The side which is inside the oil will slowly develop a dark brownish color. Turn it such that the top half facing you is next inside the oil and develops the same color.

Once the whole jamun is dark-brown in color, drop it into the hot sugar syrup of Step 1. Leave it aside for 1 min. Remove the jamun from the syrup and keep in a separate container. Once you are done with all the jamuns, pour the remaining sugar syrup on the prepared jamuns.

Storage - Keep refrigerated. Lasts for a week and a half at the least.

Serving suggestion - Serve warm. Surprise, surprise -- It is a good combination with cold vanilla ice-cream. Bon appetit!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Yummy Masala Pav Bhaji

Pav Bhaji - a fast food that goes equally well as a lunch or dinner item. Isn't that a live-saver! :)How many times it has come to my rescue when I felt too lazy to cook!

I loved the analogy in Wikipedia entry for Pav Bhaji what states that "The connection of pav bhaji is to western India is similar to what pizza is to Italy or the hot-dog is to America. ". And whoever thought of calling these "Indian Sloppy Joes"..ha ha. Well, they are right in a way! An interesting article that chronicles the history of Pav Bhaji is here.

Well, I should mention that even though I had been making Pav Bhaji before, my dear friend Meenal's tips have definitely taken it to a completely different level. Thanks, Meenal! I can never forget how we gobbled the Pav Bhaji prepared by her on our Wintergreen Resorts (Virginia, US) trip. This is a mountain resort and we did a lot of walking around in the morning. So you can guess how hungry we were and to add on, hot yummy Pav Bhaji for lunch -- it just doubled our appetite and we just gobbled and gobbled :) (Gobble, gobble, gobble - Remember "Everybody Loves Raymond" episode where the twins are teasing their sister). Coming back to the topic, here is my version of Pav Bhaji recipe.

Ingredients (makes 6 servings)

Potatoes - 4, boiled and mashed
Onion - 2 large, chopped
Ginger - 2 tbsp, grated
Tomato - 1 large, chopped
Tomato Paste - 1/2 can of 6 oz. can
Green Peas - 1/2 cup
Jalapeno/Peppers - as per taste (optional)
Cauliflower florets - 1/2 cup boiled (optional)

Pav Bhaji Masala - 3 tbsp (I use MDH brand, thanks to my friend Meenal!)
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Coriander Powder - 1 tsp
Garam Masala - 1 tsp
Salt - 1 tbsp or as per taste
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Dry Bay leaves - 2
Sugar - 1/8 tsp
Canola oil - 1 tbsp

Garnishing Ingredients

Chopped Coriander Leaves - few sprigs
Onion - 1 large, chopped
Lemon Wedges

Masala Pav Ingredients

Pav or Bun
Pav Bhaji Masala

Boil the potatoes and cauliflower and mash it.

Heat oil. Temper with sugar, cumin seeds and dry bay leaves. Add chopped onion and let it cook till it is transparent but not brown. Add grated ginger paste and let it cook. Once the ginger is cooked, add the chopped tomato. Once it is slightly cooked, add the tomato paste, turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala, salt and the Pav Bhaji Masala. This provides the orange enchanting color to the bhaji. Add mashed potatoes and cauliflower and mix well. Add the green peas and chopped jalapenos to the mixture. Add 1/2 cup water at a time to get the desired consistency. We prefer it a little bit runny, not exactly dry. Garnish with chopped Coriander Leaves, chopped onion and a lemon wedge. A dash of butter also as garnish enhances the taste.

Melt some butter. Sprinkle Pav Bhaji Masala and mix. Toast the bread in this butter.

For a different take on Pav Bhaji, check Nupur of One Hot Stove's version. Link here.