"These are really delicious and one of India’s favourite little desserts. They are made with reduced milk normally but as that takes a lot of time and effort, many of us make them with (full-fat) dried milk powder. They are easy to make and there are only two tricks to getting them right: making a soft dough and frying them over a very low heat so they cook all the way to the centre. They are very moreish!" - Anjum Anand
Makes 16, serves 8
For the syrup:
450ml sugar (measure in a measuring jug)
Large pinch saffron
1 tsp rose water (optional)
For the dough:
400ml full fat milk powder (measure in a measuring jug)
100ml plain flour (measure in a measuring jug)
2/3 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp ghee plus extra to grease your hands
2-3 tbsp yoghurt
4-5 tbsp milk
Sunflower or vegetable oil for deep-frying
Sliced pistachios to decorate (optional)
1. First, make the syrup. Heat the sugar and water together in a medium sized saucepan and stir to help the sugar dissolve. Once boiling, simmer for 2 minutes and turn off. Add the saffron and rosewater, if using. Take off the heat and set aside.
2. Pour about a 7.5cm depth of oil into a medium-large karahi, wok or saucepan. Heat gently.
3. To make the dough, mix together the dry ingredients. Spoon the wet ingredients into the centre and quickly, with your hands, bring the dough together; it will be soft and moist. Do not knead; it just needs to come together.
4. Divide the dough into three and take one portion. Wet some kitchen roll and place on top of the remaining dough so it doesn’t dry out. Grease your palms with some ghee. Make 5 small balls with the dough portion. I like to make them slightly oval rather than round, but you can shape them how you like. There shouldn’t be cracks; it should be smooth.
5. To check if the oil is ready, put a tiny ball of the dough into the oil. It should sink to the bottom, and very slowly make its way back up. When ready, add the balls in batches, stirring the oil so they don’t stick to the bottom. Cook over a very gentle heat, turning them very often for even browning. They should take around 10-12 minutes per batch, to reach a lovely golden brown. Once done, take them out with a slotted spoon and place straight into the syrup. Repeat with the next batch.
6. Leave them to soak for 2 hours or overnight, covered in the fridge. They should last 10 days or more.
7. You can serve them cold, at room temperature or hot. To serve them hot, heat them in the syrup on the hob or microwave. Sprinkle over the pistachios if using and serve.