A treat for the Dornish Lords & Ladies
I can just imagine the lords and ladies of Dorne sitting around devouring Gulab Jamuns, syrup trickling down their chins, hands, elbows. And then they would proceed to lick the syrup off of one another…
Gulab Jamun is a traditional celebratory Indian sweet made out of milk solids that is offered during auspicious occasion. The reason why I often associate gulab jamun with Dorne is because of its pure indulgent nature. People of Dorne understand pleasure. They appreciate the finer things in life and are intense, just like these Gulab Jamuns. The fire in them is represented by the spices used and the rose, a symbol of their sensuality. There is a sense of mystery that surrounds Gulab Jamuns, an intriguing sense of the unknown, the voluptuousness and the volatility of it all represents the Sandsnakes and their courage, temper and beauty.
Ellaria Sand and Oberyn Martell were two of my favorite characters and while I was gutted by the gruesome death of the Red Viper earlier on in the series, I was even more saddened when the Sandsnakes were captured and killed, leaving Ellaria watch her favorite die a slow, painful death. In a way, although not an original recipe of my own, this is my tribute to them.
I’ve already mentioned that Gulab Jamun is indeed a celebratory dish that is eaten to celebrate new beginnings and etc. The reason I prepared these is because after being away from me for several months for work, hubster dearest finally came home! If that was not a cause for celebration, I wouldn’t know what is!
Now the traditional and the original recipe for gulab jamun calls for khoya, or milk solids which are obtained by boiling milk until all the water evaporates and only the solids are left. But since this is an arduous and time consuming effort, I am giving you a short cut of utilizing milk powder instead.
- Milk powder - 1 cup
- Flour - 3 tblsps
- Baking powder - ½ tsp
- Ghee - 2 tblsps
- Milk - 50ml, warm
- Curd - 1 tblsp
- For the Syrup
- Sugar - 1 ½ cups
- Water - 1 ½ cups
- Cardamom - 6 pods, crushed
- Rose water - 50ml (add rose essence if necessary)
- Saffron - A pinch (optional)
- Pistachios - A few, crushed for garnish (optional)
To make the syrup
- In a saucepan, bring water, sugar and the cardamom to a boil until slightly sticky.
- Bring it up to 1 string consistency and add the rose water. Add in the saffron. Keep it warm.
To make the gulab jamuns
- Mix the flour, milk powder and the baking soda together. Add in the ghee. Mix well.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the yogurt and the milk. Gradually add this to the flour mixture to form a dough. The mixture must not be soggy and hold the shape.
- Make 20 small balls of dough. Deep fry them in hot oil, preferably ghee until each ball is golden brown. The oil must not be too hot (as this would only cook the dough on the outside while the inside would remain raw).
- Just as you take the deep fried dough balls out of the oil, drain the oil and submerge them in the sugar syrup mix. Rest for at least 3 hours before serving.
- Garnish with crushed pistachios, saffron strands and rose petals for a very pretty dish :)
Simple really. But the flavors are anything but!
The dough in itself is soft and airy with the syrup soaked insides oozing, dripping with flavor. The rose dominates the entire dish with its heady fragrance while the cardamom adds that well needed kick of spice, reminding you that it is not all sugar and spice and all things nice. The milky dough soaked in a syrup that is fit for God – this is not something that one must forgo. The mellowness of the dough, the pure sumptuousness is pierced with the cardamom at heart with a rose scented kiss that lingers on long after you’ve tasted it.
This process literally takes minutes to put together. Do yourself a favor and prepare some of these for yourself over the weekend. I promise you, you will be dining like Dornish lords and ladies this weekend.
- Getting the liquid balance in the dough can be a tricky one for beginners. I recommend going with small amounts of liquid at a time, adding more as needed. This is a tried and tested method.
- Before dropping the dough into hot oil, make sure that the oil is very hot. Drop a small amount of dough into the hot pan and if it comes up bubbling, your oil is ready.
- I recommend making your own rose water. See how to make your own rose water in the tips section of this.
- Pro tip – I like topping it up with crushed pistachios, wrapping up one of these babies with a few rose petals (the rose adds a definitive edge to the dish) and devouring it in one mouthful, syrup trickling down my chin. There is a definite sense of satisfaction sending shivers down the spine. Try it!