Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Gulab jamun and the luxury of time

Every year on my birthday, I decide to make myself a special dessert. Usually it is something that I've never made before, takes a long time or is special. It is a nice project for the day. When I discovered a recipe for gulab jamun in Maya Kaimal MacMillan's Curried Favors, I knew I had to make it.

Gulab jamun is one of those desserts that is all about sensory satisfaction. I had no idea what it was made out of, I just knew it was something I ordered for dessert when I went to the Indian place around the corner when I used to work in Washington, DC, in the mid-1990s.

My birthday is on November 13 and last year, it was not a good day for the world. I did not feel quite like having dessert that evening, so the dough balls rested in a tupperware container in the fridge until I felt like frying them up and making the syrup.  I did that a few days later.

Cardamom and orange-flower water syrup


Tender and sweet.
It is a comfort to know that the making of some complicated desserts can be stretched over a few days. Gulab jamun fit the bill. The scent of cardamom and orange-flower water, the sweetness of the syrup and the soft, yielding dough were the perfect remedy to soothe my broken heart.

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