Durga Puja is here again ! Its the biggest socio-cultural-religious festival celebrated by the Bengali speaking Hindus . Its a celebration of the femal Energy, a victory of good over evil. It makes the homecoing of Goodess Durga along with her sons and daughter to her maternal home on Earth , from her abode in the Hiamlayas. Her arrival and stay on Earth are marked with celebrations galore. Tradiionally its a five day festival. For those of us who celebrate Durga Puja, in a different country, different continent, celebrations are a bit different. We celebrate it over a weekend. The time might be a crunch, but we make up for it with the sheer fervor and spirit.

Most Indian festivals have their own culinary connections.   If Durga Puja is here, can Durga Puja food be far behind. We, Bengali, are known for our love of food And these celebrations are a proof of that. I have a detailed post, featuring some of my favorite Durga Puja Food , which features all of the recipes linked in it. You can read about it Here. Durga Pujo ends with Bijoya Dashami. And its customary to greet each other not only with hugs, but also indulge in some festive sweets.  We are all set to celebrate Bijoya today(Sunday) here in the Midwest, so here's something sweet from my kitchen to yours.

Gulab Jamun with Ricotta Cheese.

Yes, you read that right. Who doesnt like to dig into pillowy soft Gulab Jamun. Its a deep fried round dumpling, which is soaked in a cardamom flavored sugar syrup. I have been a fan of it even before I can remeber fromw hen. And no surprise that my three year old, loves them. And of the few Bengali words she uses, she surely will let you know when she wants her "Brown Mishti" (that's what she calls Gulab Jamun).

The shelves of any Indian Grocery Store will have their share of Instant Gulab Jamun Mixes. Somehow I am not a fan of those at all. I like to make my Mishti(Bengali Sweets) from scratch. But I dont mind Hacks along the way. Last year, I had made, Gulab Jamun from bread. You can read about it Here. 

This year, I made them from Ricotta Cheese and Milk Powder. They retained their shape while frying. I had my doubts thought, when I put the first Gulab Jamun in the deep frier. If the oil temperature is too hot, then your gulab jamun will brown from outside, but will remain uncooked inside.They were pillowy soft. They had almost doubled in size after I had soaked them in heir syrup. The speed at which they disappread from my kitchen ,after I had made a batch, spoke volumes of how godo they were.

So here's wishing all of you Shubho Sharodiya - Happy Pujas ! Enjoy the festivities with a sweet bite from my kitchen. Its the perfect dessert for the Bijoya party at your home.


Recipe adapted from : Rashmi's Recipes . Thank you Rashmi !

Ingredients : 
For the Gulab Jamun : 
Milk Powder: 1 cup
Ricotta Cheese : 1/2 cup(at room temperature)
All purpose flour : 1/4 cup
Ghee : 3tbsp
Baking Powder: 1/2 tsp
Whole Milk : 2 tbsp
Salt : A pinch
Canola Oil : For deep Frying : 2 -3 cups

For the Syrup : 
Sugar: 2 cups
Water: 2 cups
Green Cardamoms: 7-8
Lemon Juice : 1/2 tsp . I eyeballed mine.

First prepare the Sugar Syrup. Bring the syrup ingredients to a boil. Simmer till all the sugar is dissolved and the liquid has reduced a bit .

for the Jamuns, mix in the flour, ricotta cheese, milk powder, baking powder, salt in a large mixing bowl. Add ghee , and a splash of milk, and knead it smooth. It makes a gooey sticky dough.

Let the dough rest for around 15 mins at room temperature. It helps firm it up. divide the dough to form small balls. It yields around 24 - 30 Gulab Jamuns. I lined a plate with parchment paper to lay out my dough balls.

If you're using a frying pan to fry your dough balls, then make sure you have around an inch to 3/4 inch of oil in it. I used my deep frier. Keep the oil on medium heat. Dont feel tempted to increase the heat .

Test the tenperature of the oil, by putting a pea sized amount of dough in the oil. If it rises up in around 30-40 seconds, then the oil is right. If it floats up istantly, then the oil is too hot.

Fry the Jamun in batches and drain on a paper lined plate.

Place the warm syrup in a flat deep dish. Soak the fried jamuns in it. They will double in size so make sure that the dish is large enough to accommodate them. Let them soak overnight or at least for a couple of hours.

Bon Appetit ! 

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