चर्चे चौके के Charche Chauke Ke

Hey! Join in the Kitchen Gossip!!

Archive for the ‘Sweets’ Category

Winter Squash Puli or Coconut Stuffed Gulab Jamun

Posted by vivnidhi on March 12, 2009

Mar_18

Wish you all a very colorful & Happy Holi

Yesterday was the festival of colors Holi. In India, almost every household would be full of unrecognizable children colored with every shade in the spectrum. My Kids here in Michigan managed playing with dry colors and still coloring the kitchen walls and their clothes :-). If you want to know more about Holi this wikipedia article is great! I have written too many essays on “My Favorite Festival” on Holi and the Wikipedia article is quite comprehensive.

One cannot welcome the coming of spring (  😉 Summer in India) without sweets. I wanted something simple and was happy when I discovered a GITS Gulab Jamun pack in the cupboard. Gulab Jamuns are very soft fried dumplings made of milk solids. The milk solid could either be dried milk powder or more traditionally Khoya (very thick milk, almost solid). I find the GITS mix to be the easiest and the best. There are very few things that I use from a premade mix but Gulab Jamun mix is definitely one of those. Its quite foolproof whereas in homemade ones, a little change in ratio can result in the sugar syrup not reaching the center of the sweet.

My relationship with making Gulab Jamuns is very old 😉 . I made Gulab Jamuns for the entire class & the teachers as a team leader in class 8 (part of work experience). You bet that did wonders to my confidence as a cook :-). Then onwards I have made Gulab Jamuns very often. At potlucks I am always asked to get these. While I oblige, I am bored of making more of the same. ( I get bored of cooking the same thing very very easy 😉 ) Now, don’t talk about Roti & Arhar ki Daal, that’s the staple 😉

OK, First though I am rewriting the recipe as per what I did with it, full credit for this recipe goes to Sury’s Ranga Alur Puli of (Lima) Beans and Delhi Cha(a)t and Indira’s sweet potato Gulab Jamuns of Mahanandi. I remembered reading on Indira’s blog (I have read her’s back to front 😉 ) about some sweet potatoes and gulab jamuns so I went back to hers and checked out Sury’s too.

Give all the food bloggers 1 recipe and you will find unimaginable variations as results. That is what happened with me. Now , Ranga Alur Puli in Bengali should certainly mean colored potato sweet treat. I started working on Sury’s and Indira’s recipe and here’s what I ended up making. I don’t know what to call it and don’t care how it looks but it tastes absolutely fabulous. The husband commented that it tastes like coconut laddoo rolled in a gulab jamun :-).

 

Mar_30

What do you want to call it?

Fried pumpkin pie with coconut , anyone? ………..well Stuffed Gulab Jamuns is good enough!

So, I used butternut squash in the mix with Gulab Jamun mix and of course some spices. Stuffed it with coconut, almond, raisin, milk mixture and dunked it in sugar syrup with cardamom.

The Recipe: (Makes 35 large stuffed gulab jamuns )

For the Jamuns/Pulis/Gujiyas (what do U want to call it?)

  • GITS Gulab Jamun mix 250 g (any other brand would be fine, GITS is my favorite)
  • Butternut squash 125 g (cut in half, bake for 1 hour, cool, peel and puree)……….yeah………..that’s it 😉
  • Ground Cinnamon 1 tsp.
  • Ground nutmeg 1 tsp.
  • Canola Oil 2 Tbsp.
  • Oil for frying 3 cups

For the Stuffing:

  • Sweetened flaked Coconut 4 oz. (1/2 cup)  or substitute Fresh grated coconut
  • Fat free Evaporated milk 8 oz (1 cup) or substitute whole milk
  • Raisins 1/2 cup
  • Ground almonds 1/2 cup

For the sugar syrup:

  • Sugar 800 g / 3.5 cups
  • water 1 liter/ 4 cups
  • Cardamom 5 powdered

1. So, one day before making the gulab jamuns, I cut the butternut squash in half, removed the seeds and baked it for approximately an hour till the flesh was really soft. After it cooled , I peeled it and pureed it in a blender. Smooth, silky puree is ready. This puree could be used for soups or gravies also. Baking increases the sweetness of the squash and hence this method. A sweet pumpkin would be a great substitute too. This puree helps make rich gulab jamuns without the use of ghee.

Mar_07 Mar_16

Butternut squash before baking and after baking

2. Mix all the stuffing ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for a total of 6 minutes. Microwave in 1 minute / 30 seconds intervals initially and mix. When the mixture is sticky and not liquidy, the stuffing is ready.

Mar_13

Coconut stuffing ingredients

3. Mix the gulab jamun mix with the spices and mix well breaking any lumps with the hands. Add the pumpkin puree and mix. The dough will be quite sticky. Take the 2 Tbsp. oil and spread it in the palms of your hands and try to bring the mix together into one mass. Break off 35 pieces from the dough of equal size. Use more oil for the hands as required to avoid the stickiness. Make a thin round from the broken dough pieces using the tips of the fingers. Add 1/2 Tbsp. filling in each round and fold the round into a semicircle. Any shape that pleases the heart would be good. I made it into a semicircle based on Sury’s description and then just raised the edges for some pattern. Make sure there are no cracks on the surface. Cover with a moist towel to prevent drying up of the prepared jamuns.

Mar_23

Stuffed Gulab jamuns…..ready for frying

4. Add the sugar syrup ingredients in a deep vessel and let it heat up on medium heat till the sugar dissolves and then reduce the heat to very low.

5. Heat oil in a fryer or a wok as the sugar syrup is being made.When a very small piece of dough dropped in oil does not stick to the bottom and bubbles up immediately, the oil is ready. reduce the heat to medium. Add the stuffed prepared jamuns one by one slowly and continuously turn them with a very light hand making sure that it does not get broken.

Mar_24

Stuffed Gulab Jamuns frying

6. They should be fried well and reach a dark brown color. Transfer them to the slightly simmering sugar syrup. Fry the next batch as the earlier batch soaks in the syrup. The jamuns increase quite a bit in size as they soak. Remove them on a different plate if there is crowding in the vessel with syrup and transfer them all back to the vessel once all the gulab jamuns have soaked. Put the heat off under the sugar syrup when all the jamuns have finished soaking. Some syrup should remain in  the end and it should not be very thick.

Mar_30

Mar_38

Stuffed Gulab Jamuns

Advertisements

Posted in -Almonds, -Butternut Squash, -Canola Oil, -Cardamom, -Cinnamon, -Evaporated Milk, -Nutmeg, -Raisins, Sugar, Sweets | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

Masala Coffee Cake

Posted by vivnidhi on April 25, 2008

100_1569

Masala Coffee Cake

Flour, Eggs, Sugar and Spice……….a tasty cake that’s low on cholesterol too………..isn’t that nice.

Ok, lame attempt at rhyming. I baked a cake that can be called as my recipe for the first time. I have baked several cakes following other recipes ( and following them to a ‘T’) but this time, I tried to bake a cake as I please……………and succeeded:).   Hurray  !! Ok, let me not brag too much………..I admit the idea was my Mom’s but …………..Mummy had baked a cake with strong clove flavor which was in turn inspired by masala coffee. To me, Mummy’s masala coffee was a revelation too :))

I made a smaller cake (I was experimenting;), not sure, it would turn out this good! )

The recipe: Ideal for 9″ round pan or even a 9″x 5″ loaf pan

  • cloves ground 1 Tbsp/ 10 cloves of cloves ground fine
  • nutmeg  ground 1/2 Tbsp.
  • ginger ground 1 tsp./fresh grated ginger 1/2 tsp.
  • instant coffee 2 Tbsp.
  • sugar 6 Tbsp.
  • milk 1 Tbsp.
  • water 1 Tbsp.
  • egg whites 4
  • margarine/ butter 1/3 cup
  • sugar 2/3 cup
  • vanilla extract 1/2 tsp.
  • all purpose flour 2/3 cup
  • whole wheat flour 1/3 cup
  • baking powder 1 Tbsp.
  • baking soda 1/2 tsp.
  • cashews, raisins and chocolate chips for garnish

100_1557

Instant coffee, ground nutmeg, ground ginger and cloves ready to be ground in my shining mortar and pestle

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare the pan by greasing the pan and coating it with flour.

Mix the cloves, nutmeg and ginger with water and heat in the microwave. Add milk, sugar and coffee to the hot spices. I whipped the coffee really well to make it quite foamy. It changed its color from very dark brown to very pale brown. I even earned myself a blister in trying too hard:).

100_1558

Spice mix with water and coffee

100_1565

Coffee well beaten up!!

Beat the egg whites till soft peaks form. Set it aside. Beat margarine and sugar well. Add vanilla extract and beat again. In a large bowl, mix the flours, baking powder and baking soda. To the flour mixture, add the beaten margarine, sugar mix. Next, fold in the egg whites and the beaten coffee. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 22-25 minutes.One could add the dry fruits in this batter as well, but I added the garnish after the cake was kept in the oven for 20 minutes.

100_1568

Here’s my cake batter………..

And, voila……….spicy masala coffee cake is ready!!

100_1569

…………And here’s my delicious masala coffee cake……….Enjoy!!

This is my entry to Sunita’s Think spice…Think cloves event hosted by  Canela & Comino ……….author of wonderful Peruvian food blog.

Posted in -All Purpose flour, -Cashews, -cloves, -Ginger, -Nutmeg, -Raisins, -Whole wheat flour, Chocolate, Coffee, Eggs, Flours, Nuts, Spices, Sweets | Tagged: , | 9 Comments »

Baked Guna

Posted by vivnidhi on December 10, 2007

100_1086.jpg

Baked Gunas with a cup of milk and thekuas

Its fun participating in the various events going on this season. That was part of the reason why I wanted to write a foodblog; to be able to participate and chronicle my recipes. So, I have been really excited about participating in the Eat Christmas Cookies event hosted by http://foodblogga.blogspot.com. And, I got a surprising go-ahead from my Doctor when it seems like I am not going to get gestational diabetes this time around. This news definitely called for a celebration!

I have never seen my mother bake a lot except cakes and nan khatai……..the only Indian cookie that could be made at home. But I have seen my mother deep fry a lot of snacks.  As I wanted to try something authentic, I decided to try one of her standard recipes and bake it instead of frying. The result was fabulous, delicious like fried yet healthier.  I also wanted to use a recipe which had whole wheat flour instead of all purpose flour and oil instead of ghee which is almost entirely saturated fat.

Though not a regular everyday snack, Guna is certainly made on Hartalika teej in Uttar Pradesh. It is  accompanied by “mathi” which is plain, unsalted form of Guna made using all purpose flour.  Hartalika teej is a 3 day festival which takes place on the onset of monsoon, the third day of first fortnight of ‘Bhadra’ month based on lunar calendar. Its a festival very dear to the womenfolk cause it celebrates them in a way. Rural parts have fairs and make shift swings seem to spring up on every tree. Women adorn themselves with jewellery, new clothes and its basically fun time.  Mythology states that Goddess Parvati had penanced for a 100 years to be able to unite with Lord Shiv. Goddess Parvati is worshipped on Hartalika teej  as her blessings would lead to marital bliss. The difficult part for married women is that they have to fast, without water on the second day. The next day, fasting women break their fast with guna and mathi. As I do not celebrate teej anymore here in  the US, I can certainly make it as a sweet treat for Christmas. The festive spirit’s the same!!

The recipe:
(Makes 50-60 gunas)

Whole wheat flour 2 cups
Almonds 1/4 cup
Walnuts 1/4 cup
Jaggery 1 cup
Green Cardamom 2
Vegetable Oil 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp.

I have used jaggery in this recipe cause it gives a very distinct taste to the gunas. First wet the jaggery in as little water as possible, just to make it pliable enough to be mixed with flour. Alternatively you can put small pieces of jaggery in a food processor and mix the sticky jaggery with flour. Soaking the processor container in water for 10 mins will clean it without a hassle. Grind the almonds and walnuts along with cardamom to flour like consistency. A few bigger pieces remaining would be fine. Mix all ingredients really well. This is the most difficult and important part: mix everything really well.

100_1072.jpg

Flour, oil and grinded nuts

100_1073.jpg

Mix the ingredients well

If you need to add any water, just keep adding by fistfuls, till you are able to make a hard dough.

100_1074.jpg

Guna Dough

Make 3 parts of the big dough and roll it with hands till you have a thinner, longer dough piece. There will be oil on your hands as well as the rolling board. Having enough oil is the key to making crisp yet not hard gunas. Break it with hands along the cross section into smaller pieces or use a knife to cut. Heat the oven to 350° F. Flatten the small rounds now using a rolling pin. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and keep putting the flattened rounds on it.  Bake it in the oven for 8-10 minutes. The gunas get crisper as they cool.

100_1083.jpg

The gunas are ready!

Another sweet called thekuas can be made from the same dough.

100_1076.jpg

Small rounds are made of the dough. The colander imprint is made by pressing on the colander.

100_1077.jpg

These are baked at 350° F for about 15-20 minutes.
My personal choice are the gunas. Hope you like them too!

Posted in -Almonds, -Walnuts, -Whole wheat flour, Sweets | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »