Juicy sweet fried balls dipped in a cardamom-flavored sugar syrup. A little bit of heaven that dissolves in your mouth. YUM! My grandma makes these, and I eat a whole bowl-full while no ones looking.
Heat 1.5 cups of water in a small pot or pan over medium heat, and add the sugar in it to create a sugar syrup. Stirring it every few minutes, let it cook for about 8-10 minutes, or until it has reached a slightly sticky consistency. Turn off the flame. Add the cardamom powder and a couple of drops of the lemon juice. The lemon juice helps to keep the syrup from solidifying.
In a wide bowl, mix the milk powder, flour and the baking soda. Add 1 tbsp unsalted butter or clarified butter [ghee, if you have it], and mix it in, until it is completely incorporated. Now, just add 2 spoonfuls of the milk to this lumpy mixture and mix it. Add a few more spoonfuls of milk if you feel it necessary to form a soft loose dough. It should not be stiff or dry. Do not overwork or knead this mixture, just lightly mixed is fine. We do not want the dough to form any gluten, as this will make the Jamun balls dense and they will not absorb the sugar syrup.
Grease your hands lightly with oil to prevent the dough from sticking. Take a small portion of the dough and roll it into a smooth ball with the palm of your hands. Try to make crack-free balls, and if cracks appear, it means the mixture is dry. Add a spoonful of milk to the mixture and mix it in properly. Then try to form the Jamun balls again. Make marble sized balls from all of the dough. Do not make them very large, as they tend to puff up when fried and dipped in the sugar syrup.
Heat oil in a deep pan for frying, over medium heat. It should not be too hot. Drop a tiny portion of the jamun mixture into the oil, and if it floats to the top immediately without changing it's color, the oil is heated perfectly. Slowly drop 5-6 jamun balls into the oil and reduce the flame to low. Fry them until they are golden brown. Fry all the jamuns this way.
Make sure your sugar syrup is slightly warm [heat it for 2-3 minutes if it is] and drop the fried jamun balls into the syrup. Let them soak for at least 2 hours before serving so they can absorb the sugar syrup. You can serve these hot, room temperature or cold. They can be refrigerated for up to 5-6 days. These are divine as tiny portioned-dessert or to satisfy sweet tooth cravings any time of the day. They can be served hot with ice-cream for an interesting hot and cold sweet combo.
1. Add some saffron strands into the sugar syrup for extra divinity. ;) 2. You can also add a 2-3 drops of rose petals/water into the sugar syrup [rose = gulab] to make them smell and taste heavenly. 3. There are many ready-to-use mixes available for Gulab Jamuns, and all you have to do is add a little milk to form a loose sticky dough and go on from there. They taste great too. 4. If you happened to overcook the sugar syrup, it will turn hard when it cools. Don't worry, just heat it up a bit, add a few spoonfuls of water and stir.