Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Guruji’s Birthday (and Prasad Recipe!)

June 13th, we celebrated the birthday of our beloved Satguru Sri Swami Vishwananda. In different corners of the world devotees and disciples rejoiced, having fun, performed puja and yagna, singing bhajans and giving thanks to God.

Brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva
Guru Krishna prasade paya bhakti lata bija 

"According to their karma, all living entities are wandering throughout the entire universe. Some of them are being elevated to the upper planetary systems, and some are going down into lower planetary systems. Out of many millions of wandering living entities, one who is very fortunate gets an opportunity to associate with a bona fide spiritual master by the grace of Krishna. By the mercy of both Krishna and the spiritual master, such a person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service."

 (Srī Caitanya Caritāmrita, Madhya lila, chapter 19.151)

The greatest gift of God is meeting with the Master. It is a great blessing that our Satguru came for all of us, to awakens us, and to opens our hearts. Guruji helps everyone, without expecting anything in return; He loves everyone with unconditional divine love.
From our part we can only faithfully serve the lotus feet of our Master- Just as the Sri Guru Gita always states- service, service, and once again only service.

Sādhakena pradātavyam
Guru santosa kārakam
Guror ārādhanam kāryam
Svajīvitvam nivedayet

„The Guru shoul be pleased and should be made happy. One should dedicate one’s entire life to the Guru’s service.”
(Sri Guru Gita. Sri Swami Vishwananda.)

And our service in the kitchen – of course is cooking! And on this special day - the birthday of Gurudev - cooking prasadam. You can see it now in the  photos....

Preparing birthday cake for the morning puja

and this is preparing a large birthday cake for the evening celebration

and mastering of a new type of coating cake   

and this is the result

And we have prepared small chocolate cakes with monogrammed letters, SV

But today we share with you the prasadam recipe, which we also prepared for Guruji birthday. This is Gulab Jamuns. Gulab Jamun is easily the most popular and loved dessert in India.

The term "Gulab Jamun" literally translates into "Rose Berries". “Gulab” means rose and “jamuns” are deep purple colored berries available in India. This dessert's shape and color (orb shaped and purple tone) is likened to the Jamun berry and since it uses Rose water essence to provide it's addictive flavor, hence the name.

2½ cups milk powder
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ pint heavy whipping cream
A pinch of baking soda
3 cups sugar
5 ½ cups of water
6-7 cardamom (elaichi) powder 
1 tablespoon rose water
Vegetable oil or ghee for frying (P.S. traditionally gulab jamuns are fried in ghee. you can go the traditional way if you want or just fry them in oil like we have done.)
1 cup = 235 ml

1.      Prepare all the ingredients.
2.      Mix milk powder, all-purpose flour, baking soda and half of cardamom in a bowl. 

3.      Add whipping cream and knead well. This will be consistency of soft dough, if it is too dry add 1 to 2 spoons of milk as needed, not the cream. Dough should be very soft and sticking to fingers, as dough sits milk powder absorbed the extra cream

4. Cover and let the dough rest for about 10 minutes.  
5. Make the sugar syrup. In a pan add water, sugar and cardamom. Let it boil, stir until the sugar has dissolved, about 4-6 minutes. Add rose water. Turn off the heat. Set the syrup aside.

6. Knead the dough. But before working with the dough, grease your hands with a small amount of vegetable oil, the dough is not stuck to hands. Take small portion of dough and shape it into round balls, each in the same size in diameter of about 1 inch. It is important that they get a smooth surface without any cracks. Put them on a non-stick surface. From the kneaded dough should get about 40-50 balls. After you have rolled up balls, cover them with a damp towel.

7. Heat the oil in a frying pan on high heat and immediately turn them down to the very small.
8. Place the 5-7 gulab jamuns in the frying pan, so they don’t disturb each other. Using a skimmer / slotted spoon, start to turn it to avoid sticking to the bottom and giving them the opportunity to fry on all sides. Approximately after 15 seconds they are themselves will float on the surface, but still keep their turn.

9. Continue to fry them on a very low heat for about 10-15 minutes. They slowly will darken to dark brown. If the gulab jamuns are fried on high heat, they will become hard inside and not fully cooked.

10. When the gulab jamuns are ready, blot the excess oil with a napkin. 

11. Placing them in the hot syrup for about 24 hours. Don’t place the gulab jamuns in the syrup immediately after frying. This will cause the gulab jamuns to lose their shape. They should be soft and juicy, having absorbed a large amount of syrup.

12. Serve.

Serve, Give, Thanks
Meditate, practice Atma kriya
Just Love.
With Love from Shree Peetha Nilaya.