They say that the sense of smell is closely linked with memory, more so than any of our other senses and oh boy, do I believe that when I smell Indian sweets. The fragrant scent of caramelised sugar, rose, cardamom, saffron and pistachio can trigger memories of bustling Indian weddings and sweet shops in an instance. Cardamom is my most favourite of flavours (smells also) and it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s because it evokes such strong feelings of nostalgia.Jump to Recipe
I have family in the North of England who we would visit for festivities such as Eid and family weddings. For a family of six with big appetites and sweet teeth, these road-trips came to symbolise a pit-stop at Ambala – the Indian Willy Wonka Factory. Quite literally, the icing on the cake. Piles of glistening, amber coloured Jalebi, rows of pastel, jewel studded Barfi and soft, pillowy Rasmalai that glistened with its fleck of silver leaf. My two sisters, brother and myself would enthusiastically urge my parents to add “just two more pieces of Gajar Halwa” or “a bit more of the green one”, knowing full well that half of it would disappear before we even got home.
My favourite – Gulab Jamun. My favouritefvaouritefavourite – hot Gulab Jamun. India’s version of a donut; deep-fried, chestnut coloured dumplings, steeped in a cardamom-rose-saffron sugar syrup. They are the definition of “melt-in-the-mouth”. Sweet, fragrant flavour bombs that make the most perfect dessert when warm with a scoop of pistachio kulfi or a drizzle of cream.
When planning the menu for the very first PomPom Pop-Up which celebrated Indian street food, I knew that it needed to include Gulab Jamun…They went down a treat. Here is a recipe by Daksha Mistry from MasterChef so you can treat friends (or yourself) to your very own Gulab Jamun. You’ve got to love a recipe that also doubles as a good arm workout.