Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Gulab Jamun - Sweet Indian Treats

So I was doing some research recently on doughnut-style treats from around the world, and I found out about Gulab Jamun - Indian deep-fried balls that are made from a sweet, milky dough and then, while hot, soaked in syrup. They can be left to float about in there from anything from a few hours to overnight so that they end up really sweet and sticky. I'd read that they are traditionally served at weddings, although they can be eaten all through the year (obviously, it would be rude not to).



So I went on a mission to try them for myself. I asked around on Twitter and it turns out there is an Asian sweet shop on Oxford Road, in Reading called Ambala.


They sell all sorts of sugary pastries, such as halvas and baklava as well as Gulab Jamun. The assistant was happy to talk me through the different flavours and varieties of what they sold, as he stood in front of giant, old-fashioned wooden trays full of perfectly moulded little pastries and confections all lined up neatly.


He explained that he had two different types of Gulab Jamun, one - the lighter-coloured one - was softer and more crumbly than the darker coloured variety, so we took a few of each to try. The shop assistant looked a bit bemused at my excitement as he waved us off, but with a little luxurious-looking box of something new, we headed off home to try it.


The gulab jamun was very sweet - a bit too sweet for me I think, but my husband loved it. So did the children. We preferred the 'harder' style - the darker ones - they felt less moist and had more texture, which we liked. 


I'll be paying another, equally enthusiastic visit to Ambala soon - if you're ever in Reading look them up, they're on the Oxford Road near to Domino's Pizza. They also have an online shop, if Reading's too far to travel but expect to pay postage fees, of course.