It’s hard to pick a favourite cuisine. There’s so much amazing food offered from all corners of the globe. But Indian food is definitely one of them. Growing up, my family was very anti-Indian food. They were really anti-anything that wasn’t pasta, schnitzel or cooked on a BBQ. It wasn’t until I was out with Cam’s family celebrating a birthday that I tried it for the first time, and it was love at first bite. These days I cook a lot of it at home. I love learning about the different dishes from different regions and trying to recreate them. [And I'll totally take up any suggestions you guys have for favourite Indian dishes to try at any time!]
Cam and I also often go out to Indian restaurants, looking for the most authentic-tasting food we can find. We have a few favourite places we find ourselves at. We’re never good at just ordering one curry, so we usually pick the banquet option and have a couple between us.
The dessert options at every place appear to be the same two options: gulab jamun or one of a variety of kulfis. By the time we’ve made it through the curries (during which I’ve usually made Cam finish off my plate too) the thought of squeezing in anything that requires chewing feels completely beyond me. I always go for the kulfi. Cam, on the other hand, simply engages what he calls his ‘dessert’ stomach and goes for the gulab jamun.
Invariably, they always serve one. Invariably, he is always disappointed by this. And invariably, I’m always left wondering how he could stomach more than one.
Since he loves them so much and always wants more, it was more than enough of an excuse to try making them at home. I was also keen to find out what all the fuss was about myself.
The dish, as it turns out, is incredibly straight-forward. The first step involves make a sugar syrup using a couple of my favourite spices:
I was glad to discover making the dumpling itself involved milk powder. I bought the smallest tin of it I could find for another recipe and I still had multitudes sitting there with no use. Well I’ve definitely found how said tin will be spending its days now.
I’m lazy [read: I hate the rubbing method with the fire of 1000 suns] so I threw it all in a food processor. Much like making a shortcrust, you don’t want to develop any gluten, so not overworking the dough is key.
I gently pulsed it until the butter was just incorporated. Then I added just enough water to make the dough. I kept using my processor, because lazy. But if you don’t have one you can do this all by hand.
Once the dough is ready, roll it into lil’ dumplings, then heat your oil.
They take a couple of minutes to fry, and then they are done.
Last of all, you’ll pop them in a deep dish and cover them with the sugar syrup. You wanna leave them for about half an hour to soak up the syrup.
They can be served hot, warm or cold so they’re ready to go as soon as you’re ready for them.
They tasted a lot like moister versions of cinnamon donut bites, only with that distinct flavour of cardamom and rose water through them. I can definitely see why Cam loves these little treats so much. These are definitely going on the To Make Again Soon list.
2 cups (440g/15.5oz) caster sugar
2 cups (500ml/17fl oz) water
1 cinnamon stick
12 cardamom pods
1/4tsp rosewater or rosewater essence
1 cup (120g/4.2oz) full cream milk powder
1/2 cup (75g/2.5oz) self-raising flour
25g (0.9oz) unsalted butter, chopped
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp bicarb soda
1/3 cup (80ml/2.7fl oz) water
vegetable oil, for deep frying