Gulgulas are fritter like, a fried sweet batter of flour, milk, sugar and a pinch of cardamom. Unlike fritters, gulgula are almost perfectly round. Like gulab jamun it could be classified as a doughnut without yeast. Gulgulas were always accompanied by Veda. A sweet compliment to the savory Veda, a duo only ever made by Amma for ‘prayers’ (religious festivities e.g Lakshmi Day, Fasting or Porridge Prayers). She had three variations, plain gulgula like the ones in this recipe, gulgula with sultanas and the third – a type of gulgula with a sweet lentil stuffing (woorandai),usually only made for the fasting prayer (purtassi).
This recipe requires few ingredients; the most challenging part is getting the gulgulas to form round. Fortunately this is not as difficult to achieve as I had thought. The thicker the consistency of the dough the easier it is to shape. There are two methods, the first is Amma’s method of using a clenched palm to pipe the gulgulas into the oil, and the second is using two tablespoons to maneuver the batter into the oil. I recommend the first method. Simply grab a portion of batter with your hand, clench your palm releasing a small portion of batter at a time into warm oil.
The recipe below uses 1 cup of flour to yield 12 gulgulas, to make larger quantities simply multiply the ingredients appropriately. Both baking powder and bicarbonate of soda are used as leavening agents. Follow the exact quantities in the recipe. Using too much bicarb or baking powder will give the gulgulas a bitter after taste. The oil for frying should be kept at a low to medium heat. Oil that heats too quickly will result in burnt uncooked gulglas and the oil will change color too. It is best to preheat the oil while you prepare the batter. This way the oil will be warm enough to fry at just the right temperature.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Frying time: 8 – 10 minutes per batch
Total time: 45 minutes – 1 hour
Yield: 12 gulgulas
- 1 cup cake flour
- half a level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 level teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons castor sugar
- pinch of cardamom powder
- pinch of salt
- half cup milk + additional 2 or 3 tablepoons milk
- 350ml sunflower oil or similar vegetable oil for frying
1. Before you prepare the batter, heat the oil in a heavy based pan on medium – low heat.
2. Sift the dry ingredients, i.e. flour, bicarb, baking powder.
3. Add sugar and cardamom powder and salt.
4. Add half cup milk. Combine until a thick batter forms. Add remaining two – three tablespoons milk until the batter resembles the photo below.
5. Drop the batter into the oil. The gulgulas should form round in the oil then pop to the surface, turn every minute or until it is evenly browned. Fry for 8 – 10 minutes. Lower the heat if necessary to prevent the gulgulas from browning too quickly, this will result in uncooked or doughy gulgulas. Ideally gulgulas should have a soft bread like texture, like the image below.
6. After frying place on paper towels to drain excess oil.
7. Gulgulas can be served warm or cold and store quite well in airtight containers.
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