Paneer (or chenna) is a fresh cheese that is very easy to make. The paneer goes into the dough for the gulab jamuns – or Indian doughnuts. They're filled with a sliver of almond and pistachio and a strand of saffron.
- 500 ml full-fat milk
- 1½ tbsp lemon juice
- muslin cloth, to drain
- ½ cup milk powder
- ¼ cup paneer (from above)
- 1½ tbsp plain flour
- 1/8 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 10-12 pistachios, thinly sliced, reserve some to garnish
- 10-12 raw almonds, thinly sliced, reserve some to garnish
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- 1 pinch saffron threads
- 1½ tbsp clarified butter (ghee), melted, for greasing
- canola oil, for deep-frying
- 310 g (1½ cup) caster sugar
- 185 ml (¾ cup) water
- ¼ tsp ground green cardamom
- 1 pinch saffron threads
- 1 tbsp rosewater
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Soaking time: 15 minutes
For the syrup, place the sugar and water in a saucepan over high heat and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes until it reduces to a sticky consistency.
Take the pan off the heat, add the cardamom, saffron and rosewater, set aside and keep warm.
For the paneer, place the milk in a saucepan over high heat and bring just to the boil, then remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Set aside until the curds separate from the whey. Drain the mixture in a sieve lined with muslin or a clean Chux cloth, discarding the whey. Rinse the paneer the cold water for 2 minutes, then drain well.
For the gulab jamun, combine the milk powder, paneer, flour and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl and knead with your palm to ensure there are no lumps - the mixture should be a smooth dough-like consistency. Cover rest for 5-10 minutes.
Combine the pistachio, almond, cardamom and saffron together and set aside.
Divide the dough into 8-10 walnut-sized balls.
Lightly grease your palms with some ghee, roll a ball so it’s smooth, flatten into a disc in your palm, then press a small dent in the centre of the disc.
Place a tiny pinch of the pistachio mixture in the dent, crimp the edges together to enclose the filling and gently roll into a smooth ball. Ensure there are no cracks on the surface. (Make sure the doughnuts are perfectly round so the syrup soaks all the way to the centre.) Repeat with the remaining balls and filling.
Heat the oil in a round-bottomed saucepan until hot. Deep-fry the balls, in batches, making sure not to touch the balls – just swirl the oil around them – until a deep orange colour. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.
Soak the gulab jamun in the warm syrup (it’s important that the syrup is warm, not hot and not cold) for at least 15 minutes or more.
Remove from the syrup with a slotted spoon and place in serving bowls. Garnish with a slice of pistachio or almond. Serve warm.
This recipe is from The Chefs' Line - a brand new series airing weeknights at 6pm on SBS. Can the passion of a home cook beat the skills of a professional chef? Missed all the action? Catch-up online and get all the recipes #TheChefsLine.
This recipe has been edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the series.