Diwali, the festival of lights is one that is most celebrated in the whole of India and it is during this time that the halwais work arduously to make fresh batches of mithai to meet the demands of the customers. Sweets and gifts are exchanged much before the auspicious day and a variety of sweets fill up every home.
If there is one sweet that finds a place in our household every Diwali it is Gulab Jamun. Anyone who knows me will tell you how much I love GJ’s. Yeah! that’s how I like to call these melt in the mouth, sugar soused deep-fried balls. Whether the Central Asian Turkic invaders brought Gulab Jamuns to India or it was a delicacy made due to a faux pas in the kitchens of the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan is a debate that may carry on for years but for me each time I take a bite, there’s only heartfelt gratitude – gratitude that the delectable dessert exists and didn’t get lost in the pages of culinary history.
The world of today is closing in. Not only are people mixing with each other but there’s a fusion in every aspect of life be it music, art, food or fashion. People are more experimentative and ready to try a medley of things. The term “fusion” is now being heard more than ever before – Sushi pizzas, Pad Thai Tacos, Vodka Golgappas, Apple Jalebi, Peach Phirni and more. Chefs, cooks, homemakers are on a gala spree, pairing unusual ingredients and taking creativity a notch higher. So when I received a bouquet of roses along with a box of Gulab Jamuns, I thought it was time to get experimental.
The pairing of Gulab Jamun with Vanilla Ice cream or Rabri is ideal. However, I felt the need to make something different. I browsed through the internet and came to a recipe of Gulab Jamun Dessert Parfait by Molly. It seemed a great idea. Cream, greek yoghurt, saffron, honey, Gulab Jamuns and a few pistachios were all assembled and within a few minutes, I had a creamy parfait with the layers of whipped cream – yoghurt, slices of Gulab Jamun and a sprinkle of saffron milk. I followed her recipe to the hilt. Even though she gives the option of eliminating cream and only using the yoghurt, I found whipping the cream not only adds fluff to the dessert but blends beautifully with the Greek Yoghurt dulling its tanginess in the process. I like my parfait with the cream.
This recipe pairs Gulab Jamun in an innovative manner. It’s simple to make and is ready in no time. I like the swirl of saffron on top and the garnish of pistachios. The colours remind me of marigolds that we use to decorate the houses on Diwali. The dessert is perfect for the festive season and when served individually in bowls is non-fussy. Every spoonful reveals layers of creaminess from the yoghurt with the sponginess of the Gulab Jamuns while the honeyed saffron milk seals the parfait with an Indian touch. The Gulab Jamun Parfait is a must-try dessert this Diwali!