Tag: Indian sweets

Garam Masala Tuesdays: Gulab Jamun from scratch!

If you have been doing the rounds in the food blogosphere, I am sure you have come across Sinfully Spicy. And if you have come across Tanvi’s site, then I am sure you have stuck around and visited her blog again and again.

It was her Gulab Jamun picture on Foodgawker that had caught my attention the first time. And that’s what I will be sharing with you today on GMT.

In the past whenever I have made Gulab Jamuns, its been from a packet mix. Had I known they would be so easy to make from scratch, I would have never bought a packet.

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Yesterday, I met my B-school gang, most of whom, I was seeing after almost two years, but somehow it just did not feel that long a time. I have been in touch with most of them- on and off, and even though a lot were missing from our circle of friends, it was still like old times. One of my friends just recently got married and he had brought his wife along. The others who had attended his wedding were excitedly narrating the food tales they had at his wedding. Now he is a Jain and in Jain weddings- food is the prime attraction (food heaven it is!). Jaini weddings our known for the rich food served and Jains are known for their hospitality. The food though is completely vegetarian (much to the misfortune of one of my friends who is a chickenaholic!), but nonetheless, the food is delicious.

It was fun catching up on what everyone has been up to. I had a great time- lot of leg pulling, college gossip, laughter, food from the dhaba outside our college- brought back a lot of good memories. 🙂

I know I haven’t been quite regular with blogging- posting after a gap of almost two weeks, is it? Well, I have been travelling. And, to be honest, I haven’t been cooking too much either. There’s the maid here who cooks the food and I am enjoying the break from cooking while it lasts. But, I miss baking. I miss my oven- I really do!

For a while I was thinking of something to make for my in-laws. They are not big fans of baked goods, though they don’t mind the occasional baked treat. Last week I had gone to Dehradun/Haridwar where V’s aunt stays. The last time I was in Haridwar, on a trip with my B-school friends, we went to Rishikesh and I remember having these freshly made Nankhatai (an eggless, delicate and crumbly biscuit, quite popular in India), that a roadside vendor was selling. Strange, I don’t remember an oven there, but I am pretty sure they were freshly made.

Anyways, when I went to Dehradun, I realised Nankhatai would be a perfect thing to make that my in-laws would actually enjoy eating. It was a perfect day to bake something too. Its been raining since morning and it’s the kind of weather where you want to be in a blanket, all cuddled up, sipping hot tea and having warm cookies!

I found a recipe here.

Now, my mom-in-law doesn’t do too much baking, even though she is an excellent cook. Her biryanis are awesome! But she doesn’t bake- so they don’t have an oven in the house. But, their microwave has the option of convection. I haven’t baked anything in a microwave. So was hesitant at first- but thought of giving it a try. The first batch came out too flat and though I did nothing different for the second batch (it was the same dough but since I could only put one dish at a time in the microwave I had to bake in two lots), they still resembled the traditional nankhatai a little, though not as perfectly shaped as the ones you get in shops. Well, that just means more trials in the kitchen.

I served the nankhatai to my in-laws and they loved them. The best part – they are whole wheat! Yes, there is ghee, but well you can’t have it your way all the time, can you? Half of them have already vanished between the two of them! (I am on a strict “I have to lose weight” diet – so these things are not coming near me!). Perfect to have with a cup of hot tea and the rainy day just adds to the charm. 🙂

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I am a Sikh. V is a Hindu. Its quite strange that we still had an arranged marriage, because generally in such cases, the parents arrange their child to get married with a person of the same caste, religion. Since, marriage in India is not just between two people but between two families, this logic makes sense. Its easier to adjust to the new household if you belong to the same religion. You are used to the customs, norms, everything. So the whole transition from a Miss to a Mrs is easier.

Before marriage, I never followed any of the Hindu customs or practices at home, though, I would sometimes visit the temple with my Hindu friends, and celebrated Hindu festivals like Holi and Diwali. After marriage, things have changed – nothing drastic nor anything I have an issue with- just something inevitable as a result of an inter-religion marriage. I have never been too religious, but since V is and so is his family, I have started praying. I am not even an atheist. I believe in God, but I believe the best way to be in his good books is by being nice to everyone around. No matter how much I pray if I hurt someone’s feelings I know I’ll pay for it. So for me, to get closer to God, I need to be more tolerant to those around, and treat everyone with respect. That’s always been my logic and for me self-improvement is the only way to keep God happy with me. But, out of respect for my in-laws and V’s feelings, I try to pray as often as I can. Of course, it does give you a sense of peace and calm when you pray. So, it’s something I have grown to like. And somehow, I feel that the incense and diya (oil lamp) lit after Puja generates good vibes in the house.

Now, last Saturday was Ganesh Chaturthi. My mom-in-law asked us to perform puja at home. Generally, during a festivity, when you perform Puja, you offer some mithai (sweets) to God and then distribute it as prasad (god’s offering). On Ganesh Chaturthi, the sweet offered is generally modak (a dumpling made from rice flour/wheat flour with a stuffing of fresh or dry-grated coconut, jaggery, dry fruits and some other condiments) but, I also read that Ganesh ji has an inkling for besan ke ladoo (a sweet made from gram flour and ghee/clarified butter) too. Since I did not have any coconut on hand I thought of making besan ke ladoo. I saw the recipe from this site. (I know, mine don’t look as great as hers- I think I would up the amount of ghee used)

They were not like the ladoos I have grown up having- the Lovely Sweets (a famous sweet shop in Jalandhar, Punjab, India) besan ladoos- which are heavenly. Well, they are made by professionals and in lots of desi ghee. So, I shouldn’t compare. But, these ones tasted good too. V, of course, loved them. The fact that only a few remain, lends a testimony to my previous statement!:)

Link for the ladoos: http://charchechaukeke.wordpress.com/2008/11/22/daanedaar-besan-ke-laddoo-sweet-gramflour-balls/