When I was younger, dhal was a weekly staple in our home. I remember my mom feeding me at a young age. She would mix rice, butter and dhal with her hands and form a little fistful of dhal bhat. (bhat = rice). To this day, this is a flavor that I will never forget. It’s a meal I will never forget. It’s a memory that I will always have of my mom. Eating from her hands.
As an adult, I’ve realized how versatile dhal can be. It’s been a great way to introduce spices to my babies. It’s been a great side dish to any fry meats or vegetables but also a main dish for my vegetarian daughter. Making this recipe in an instant pot makes life so much easier, especially because I always forget to soak my lentils overnight.
As the weather gets colder in New England, it’s the perfect season to make this rich, warm dish. The aromas that fill our home while making palau are nostalgic. No matter where I’ve lived or traveled, there is a certain scent that will always make me feel like I’m home. For me it is the homemade Fiji masala that is sautéed with onions and garlic. There really is no describing it. You have to LIVE it to understand. My husband on the other hand is always looking for the incense and a lighter after I’m done cooking, along with opening windows. He doesn’t embrace the aromas as well as I do. Ha ha!
This sweet recipe is dedicated to Mrs. Bodh Mati Sharan (may she rest in peace). I know her by one name – Nani (maternal grandmother). She isn’t my actual Nani, she is the Nani of my two cousins Sheena and Shalina. I never got to meet either of my own grandmothers, so for me she was the closest thing to a grandmother that I’d known.
The entire family loved her cooking! My sister Poonam, was lucky enough to cook side by side with her to learn this Gulab Jamun recipe. My sister jokes that Nani didn’t measure anything so writing a recipe was not easy!
Right to Left: My Geeta Mami, Cousin Sheena,
My sister Poonam, Nani and Me (circa 1988)
I know that every time we make this recipe she is smiling somewhere. This is for the entire Singh family. My sister and I are so grateful to have this in our recipe book and I know you will too!
When my sister taught me the recipe of course they came out just perfect. When I tested it after that, the oil got too hot and I burned the second half of my batch. To be honest, I am the WORST at frying. I hate it, I avoid it, I just don’t fry anything in my house. Now that I am trying to learn many indo-fijian recipes, I have to get my frying act together.
First things first, I need to buy an oil thermometer. I know. I’ll add it to the thousand other things I want or need for recipe testing! If you’re an experienced home cook this won’t be an issue for you. Try to keep your heat on medium low (should stay around 350degrees if you do have a thermometer or deep fryer). If the oil gets too hot, the outside of the jamun will burn and the inside will stay gooey. You don’t want this. Other than the actual ACT of frying, this recipe was actually fairly easy for me to do all on my own.
My American friends have said it tastes like a SUPER sweet donut that they could only have one. A few minutes later they went back for a second. They can be addicting! Just watch! I’d love to know if you make it! Comment below.