If you conduct a survey among Indians and ask about their favourite Indian sweet dish, then the dessert that will top the list will certainly be the most popular and loved ‘Gulab Jamun’. This traditional dessert is the centre of attraction in every festival and occasion in India. This delicious dessert is not just loved in India but also overseas, especially in countries like Nepal, Myanmar, Pakistan, Bangladesh and even Mauritius. This sweet dish is truly delicious and adds soul to any party. But do you know this most loved dessert of yours is not even from India? Shocked, right! Here is an untold story of Gulab Jamun that all its die-hard lovers should know.
2. The origination
Gulab Jamun is believed to be originated in India, somewhere around the medieval period but you will be shocked to know that your favourite sweet dish hails from Persia. This delicacy is very much similar to an Arabic dessert named Luqmat-Al-Qadi, which was introduced to India with the invasion of Mughal emperors. A theory also suggests that it was first prepared by the personal Persian chef of Shah Jahan but there is no evidence to support this theory.
3. The Etymology
Have you ever wondered where this beautiful name ‘Gulab Jamun’ came from for this delectable sweet dish? The world ‘Gulab’ was derived from the Persian word ‘gol’ and ‘ab’ which respectively meant flower and water which referred to rose water scented syrup. The other word ‘Jamun’ is the Hindi-Urdu word for the popular Indian fruit Black Plum which is almost of same shape and size. So, this is how your loving dessert got its name.
4. The making of Gulab Jamun
Gulab jamun is prepared by milk solid, which you get from constantly stirring milk over low flame. Milk solid or say khoya is mixed with flour and knead into a dough. Then it is formed into small balls and deep fried. These small balls are later dipped into sugar syrup which is flavored with green cardamom and rose water, kewra or saffron. This is how the most traditional and simple gulab jamun is prepared.
5. The diverse variety
You can commonly find the brown and black Gulab Jamun available near you. The brown color you see is because of the solid milk and sugar content in it, which gives it a delicious taste and an eye-grabbing colour. In some varieties, sugar is mixed in the dough, which gets caramelized after frying and gives it a black color and is called Kala Jamun. Pantua is another Bengali variant, which is very much similar to traditional Gulab Jamun. Gulab jamun ki Sabji is a variant from Rajasthan where these balls are not soaked in sugar syrup but are cooked in nuts and tomato gravy.
No Indian festival is complete without this delicious delight, Gulab Jamun is an irreplaceable part of the India culinary heritage.This dessert is the life of all celebrations, from birthdays to marriage ceremonies. Some prefer to have hot Gulab Jamun is winters and some may like to eat Gulab Jamun with kulfi in summers. So, you may see a variation in their servings but the soul of Gulab Jamun remains the same.
And now you know everything, you should be knowing about your favourite Gulab Jamun. So, it’s time to delve into the sweetness of this culinary masterpiece!