coffee gulab jamun
This is an editorial post, published in conjunction with Nespresso.
When we first moved into our happy little apartment, just over a year ago, one of the things we were most excited about was being located smack-bang in the middle of Sydney’s suburbs.
(Ok, we were pretty excited to be out of shared accommodation too. Oh, and all the new appliances. And the completed renovations. But I digress…)
Our location means that we’re rarely more than twenty-something minutes away from wherever it is we want to get, assuming traffic is on our side, and that has meant that our scope for exploring all of those wonderful little suburban flavours has opened right up.
Last year, we rediscovered Auburn’s amazing felafel and Granville’s ethereal toum, we ate our way through Lakemba’s annual festival and frequented Flemington for fresh food and pho. We caught the bus out to Parramatta for the soccer and treated ourselves to bowls of steaming hot laksa and fragrant chicken rice.
And this weekend, after putting it off and forgetting and being busy and lazy, we finally hopped in the car and wiggled our way across to Harris Park.
Make no mistake of it, my Koji loves his Indian food – from the fragrant fish curries of Goa to the chana masala dosa from the Pujab regions of Northern India – and so do I.
But this particular trip to the land of over-ordering-on-a-Saturday-night was largely inspired by my latest obsession, “From India – Food, Family & Tradition” by Chef Kumar Mahadevan and his wife Suba. I received it in a competition pack from Nespresso, along with a sleeve of their new, limited edition Monsoon Malabar capsules, with the challenge to create a recipe featuring this Limited Edition flavour.
(Psst! You could score yourself a copy of “From India” and a sleeve of Monsoon Malabar, terms of entry are below.)
I’d been reading this cookbook every night before bed for the better part of a week. (And by reading, I mainly mean fingering its beautiful cloth-bound cover and gazing at the pictures of curry within).
“I have some fenugreek in the spice rack. Do you think it’s still good?” I asked Koji one night, after reading the introduction to “Bitter”.
“Can you remind me to pick up some ghee tomorrow?” I muttered, the next night, oblivious to his curious glances across the bed.
“Tell me, what are your thoughts on okra?” I asked, trying to concentrate on the technique described, whilst still somewhat misty-eyed at Kumar & Suba’s descriptions of their meeting and marriage.
I bought my ghee from one of the four Indian grocers we passed between Harris Park Station and the end of Wigram Street. I picked up a jar of tamarind paste from the second and a darling copper and steel hammered dish from the third.
By the time we’d walked the 10 metres to the fourth, I was famished and so we sat down at Chutney, poured over the menu and ordered, what we thought, was a reasonable amount of food.
Bhalla Papri Chaat, crisp bits of pastry served with potato and chickpeas, doused in yoghurt and a spicy sauce. A Taj Butter Masala Dosa, because I am incapable of seeing dosa on the menu anywhere and not ordering it. Crisp and chewy, slightly sour from the fermented buttermilk batter, scoffed down with mounds of coconut chutney. Fish Malabari, because Koji dismissed my requests for a butter chicken with a grimace, garlic naan because garlic naan and a bowl full of fragrant basmati rice.
We didn’t even come close to finishing it off – half a dosa was ceremoniously packed up into a box for later – but there was just enough room left over for a serve of gulab jamun. Three pert globes, served piping hot and swimming in a bowl of syrup. A perfect, if somewhat tooth-achingly sweet end to another Saturday evening adventure.
It was the gulab jamun that stuck in my mind when I was brainstorming recipes for this post.
They’re essentially spherical milk donuts – dairy solids, spiced and squished into a ball before being deep fried. And what better to match with donuts (and milk ones at that!) than a shot or three of espresso? Coffee and milk. Coffee and donuts. And, thankfully, a way to make these Indian treats a little lighter on the sugar-rush that I usually associate with them.
Please, please, please. If you’re going to make these coffee-syrup jamun, make sure you serve them hot. There’s nothing quite as unappetizing as a cold, sad gulab jamun. Oh, and don’t be worried about the deep frying either! I made them in a tiny saucepan on my stove top with a pair of chopsticks and a tea towel for protection and they worked out just fine.
Win! “From India” & a sleeve of Monsoon Malabar!
Now! For those of you who have read this far, here’s how to win yourself a copy of “From India – food, family & tradition” by Kumar & Suba Mahadevan as well as a sleeve of Nespresso’s limited edition Monsoon Malabar capsules. (Australian entries only, sorry!)
1. Leave a comment on this post telling me what your favourite Indian dish is; or
You can enter as many times as you like, and I’ll be getting Koji to choose the answer he likes best as the winner.
Entries will remain open until midday (EST) on Friday, 24 April 2015. If no response is received from the winner within 48 hours of us contacting them, another winner will be selected.
- 400ml water
- 1½ cups white sugar
- 5 green cardamom pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 120ml espresso
- 1 cup full cream milk powder
- ¼ cup cake flour
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- 20ml (1 tbsp) ghee
- 80ml (4 tsp) natural yoghurt
- 500ml oil for deep frying
- Make the coffee syrup by putting the water, white sugar, cardamom pods and cinnamon stick in a saucepan over high heat. Stir the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved, add the coffee, and then let the syrup boil until it is thick and syrupy - if you coat a spatula in the syrup and let it cool, you should be able to drag your finger through it and have a line remain for a couple of seconds.
- To make the gulab jamun balls, combine the milk powder, cake flour and baking powder in a large bowl.
- Add the ghee and yoghurt to the bowl and combine well using your hands. Don't knead the dough too much, you just want it to come together. You will have a slightly damp dough at the end of this process.
- Pinch off walnut sized bits of dough and roll them firmly between your palms to form a round spherical shape. It helps if your hands are lightly covered in ghee as this will stop the dough from sticking to your fingers. Place the balls in a bowl while you repeat this process. Continue until the dough is all rolled up.
- Heat some neutral flavoured oil to 160 degrees (Celsius) and fry the gulab jamun three or four at a time. They will be done when the outside is a deep golden brown and they have risen off the bottom of the saucepan to float gently near the surface of the oil.
- When the balls are fried, drain them briefly on a piece of kitchen paper and then pop them straight into the warm coffee syrup. Repeat this process until all of the balls are fried.
- Leave the balls to soak in the syrup for at least two hours, keeping the syrup warm will help the soaking process. When you're ready to eat, turn the heat up and simmer the balls in the syrup for at least five minutes, so that the gulab jamun become soft and plump.