God Krishna, is believed to have killed the demon Narakasura on this day. Hence the celebrations by lighting 100s of lamps to mark the end of darkness.
As a kid i remember on Naraka chaturdashi, we were made to have head bath before sunrise and light lamps at the front door, and crack atleast one firecracker before sunrise. I would love the whole festive mood, the food and a week long holiday. Even the smell in the air would be festive.
1 cup -Sugar
3 – Green Cardamom pods
1½ cups – Water
2 – drops of Lemon Juice, optional
A pinch of saffron
1/2 cup – Milk Powder
1 tbsp – All purpose flour
1/8 tspn – Baking Soda
1 tbsp – Ghee
2-3 tbsp – Milk
Oil or Ghee, for deep frying
Take sugar, cardamom pods, crushed saffron, water and lemon juice in a deep pot or pan. Lemon juice prevents syrup from solidifying when cooled.
Heat it over medium flame and cook until it reaches 1/2 string consistency or turns little sticky while stirring occasionally in between.When sugar syrup is ready, turn off the flame.
Take milk powder, All purpose flour and baking soda in a bowl.Mix it well with a spoon and then add 1-tablespoon ghee.Mix well. Use your hand to mix it so that ghee mixes evenly with milk powder.Sprinkle milk evenly over mixture and gently mix it.
If required, add few more teaspoons of milk and mix lightly. Mixture should be soft. It may be sticky. Do not over mix or knead the mixture, just lightly mix it. If you over mix it, gluten forms and jamun will turn dense and will not absorb sugar syrup properly.
Grease your palms with oil and divide mixture into marble sized small portions . Take each portion and make a round shaped crack free ball from it. If crack appears, it means mixture is dry. Add a teaspoon of milk (or few drops of milk) to the mixture, mix well and make the ball. Do not make larger balls as its size will increase to almost double after deep frying and soaking in sugar syrup.
Heat the ghee or oil for deep frying in a deep kadai or a small pan over medium flame. When oil is medium hot, pinch a small portion of mixture and drop it into hot oil, if it comes upward immediately without changing its color the oil is medium hot and ready for deep frying. (If it comes upward immediately and turns brown then oil is too hot and needs to be cooled a bit, if it doesn’t come upward then oil is not hot enough and needs to be heated little bit more.) Slowly drop 3-4 balls (according to the size of a kadai) from sides of a kadai and reduce the flame to low.
Stir gently and deep fry over low flame. Within 2-3 minutes their color will start to turn light golden.
Deep fry until they turn golden brown, it will take around 6-7 minutes. Drain them and immediately add them to the hot syrup. Leave the jamuns in syrup for at least 2 hours before serving to allow it to absorb the syrup properly. You will notice their increase in size as syrup gets absorbed.
Garnish it with almonds or Pistachios and some dried rose petals. Serve hot or at room temperature. With Rabdi or with icecream.