Gulab Jamun – The Sweetness of India.

Gulab Jamun is a sweet that is popular in India. People prepare the sweet in many festivals in India and functions, events and even wedding ceremonies. That sweet caramelised sugar with that luscious syrup. Holy Smokes! It’s a craving that I dig. The sweet is available in every sweet store in India and every Indian store/restaurant around the world. However, what’s the actual history of the sweet? What are the ingredients and where did it come from?

The ingredients and what goes into preparing the Gulab Jamun.

 

The ingredients for the Gulab Jamun can include cheena (or khoya), kneaded maida, caramelised sugar, warm milk, and balls of fried dough. Sometimes, one can use milk powder, curd, and all-purpose flour as ingredients for making the Gulab Jamun.

To prepare the Gulab Jamun, one needs to implement a proper cooking technique, so that one can cook them to perfection. The balls of dough need to be rounded. While the balls fry, the colour of the Gulab Jamun has to be an elusive, rosy shade between gold and brown. Those syrupy fried balls of sweetness can sweeten up anyone’s life. They are a special Indian sweet dish. The estimated time on how long it takes to cook a Gulab Jamun is 1 hour. The Gulab Jamun should never get prepared at a searing temperature as the likelihood of the Gulab Jamun getting plenty of cracks and disintegrating increases.

History/Origins of the Gulab Jamun.

So we know what is the Gulab Jamun and what are its ingredients. Now we need to know the history of this famous sweet and how it came to India and how I became a part of Indian contemporary culture.

History reveals some fascinating facts regarding the initial phases of the Gulab Jamun. One theory behind the origin of the sweet dish is that the Gulab Jamun got accidently prepared by one of Shah Jahan’s royal chefs. The chef took inspiration for the Gulab Jamun from Turkish/Persian traditions and local halwais in India. The sweet has striking similarities to the Persian Bameih, which is an Iranian sweet that is like the donuts in some ways.

Gulab Jamuns also have striking similarities with the Turkish dish, called Tulumba, which is also a type of fried batter, soaked in syrup.

Gulab Jamun - The Sweetness of India.

Culinary historian, Michael Krondl, in his book, ‘The Donut: History, Recipes, and Lore from Boston to Berlin’ mentioned that Persian invaders brought a ‘round fritter’ to India. The fritter adapted into the modern-day Gulab Jamun, and the word itself has Persian origins. The word ‘Gulab’ means rose, while the word ‘Jamun refers to a local fruit.

 

Krondl stated that, ‘the Indian recipe is more complex than the Middle East recipe. The Indian recipe requires a mixture of dried and fresh milk thickened with flour, while in the Middle East, it gets fried and soaked in rosewater syrup.’

Another belief is that the origins of Gulab Jamuns origin are from the Arabic dessert, Luqmat-Al-Qadi, which comprises deep fried dough balls dipped in honey, sprinkled in sugar. The translation for Luqmat-Al-Qadi is the– ‘judge’s morsel’, meaning that the dish is sweet enough to sway a judge’s opinion.

 

Sources:

1.https://www.thebetterindia.com/159662/gulab-jamun-india-food-history-news/

2.http://indianburrp.com/blog/gulab-jamun-a-unique-dessert-with-an-interesting-origin/

3.http://www.indiamarks.com/origin-of-gulab-jamun/ 4. https://recipesofhome.com/gulab-jamun-recipe/

Neel

Neel

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