Getting the dough the correct consistency is the hardest part of making gulab jaman, writes Veena in a postscript to her daughters at the bottom of the original recipe. “Once you have mastered that,” she adds, “it will be a piece of cake.” Make the syrup first so it can cool slightly while you make the dough.
3 cups sugar
4 cups water
8-10 cardamom pods, cracked
Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Let simmer 5 to 10 minutes on low heat.
Remove from heat and let cool slightly before adding gulab jaman.
1 cup powdered milk
1/3 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons soft butter
Approximately ¼ cup water
Vegetable oil for frying
In a medium-sized bowl, mix together powdered milk, flour and baking powder. Blend butter into the flour mixture, kneading it by hand. Once the mixture resembles small pebbles, add water, several tablespoons at a time until the dough just holds together. This makes a stiff dough. Pinch off walnut-sized piece of dough and roll into small, 1-inch round balls, pressing the dough firmly as you roll it between the palms of your hands. If dough is too dry to roll, moisten your hands slightly.
In a wok or deep skillet, pour oil to the depth of 3 or more inches and heat to 350 degrees. Deep fry the balls in hot oil, all at once, until dark brown, approximately 4 minutes. Remove the gulab jaman from the oil and place immediately in syrup. Let sit in refrigerator overnight. Serve cold with a little bit of syrup. Makes approximately 2 dozen.