Gulab Jamun Recipe

Gulab Jamun with slivered almonds

On what was the hottest day of summer so far, my daughter Brown Eyed Rosebud decided she wanted to make Gulab Jamun.

Gulab jamun is an Indian dessert - think fried donut balls soaked in sweet, sugary syrup. The dough balls have a soft texture and don't fall apart when soaked in the liquid.

The thought of frying dough balls on the stove while the temperature inside the house was 84 degrees didn't sound very appealing to me. But after watching a video from Titli's Busy Kitchen, where Titli served Gulab Jamun with ice cream on a breezy balcony, I was sold. (Nevermind that we didn't have ice cream or a breezy balcony!)

I agreed to do the frying if she did the rest.

We checked out Manjula's Kitchen for a second opinion, jotted down a few notes and set to work.

The final recipe ended up combining a little of both recipes (Titli's has metric measurements if you need those).

Start by combining the ingredients for the syrup and cooking over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. The syrup can then be reduced to a low heat while you prepare the dough. (The syrup needs to stay watery, so there's no need to thicken or reduce it using a higher heat).

This would also be a good time to start heating the oil slowly in a separate pan.

Homemade Gulab Jamun

Mix the dry ingredients and butter in a bowl.  Add milk, then mix the dough and let it rest for about 5 minutes.

Adding milk to Gulab Jamun dough Mixing gulab jamun dough balls Roll gulab jamun dough into balls

After the dough has rested, roll it into balls about 1 inch in diameter.

Roll gulab jamun dough into 1 inch balls

When the balls are ready to fry, add a few to the oil at at time.

If the dough balls start to expand or spread at the edges (like the larger ones here), the oil is too hot. Try reducing the heat a little before adding more.

Gulab jamun dough balls frying in oil

Make sure to rotate the balls as the fry so they brown evenly all around.

When the balls have browned evenly to a nice golden brown, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate with paper towels. Allow the dough balls to cool slightly before adding the syrup.

Fried gulab jamun balls

With the dough balls slightly cooled but the syrup still warm, drizzle it carefully over the balls. Adding syrup that's too cool might cause the balls to collapse.

Pour sugar syrup over fried gulab jamun balls
Pour sugar syrup over fried gulab jamun balls

Add some sliced almonds or pistachios to the top to garnish.

Gulab jamun with sliver almonds for garnish

Let the gulab jamun sit before serving so the dough balls can soak up the syrup and become soft.

Let gulab jamun balls soak in sugar syrup

Serve warm with extra syrup and enjoy!

Ours tasted wonderful, but they deflated when cut open.  They were also bubbly and kind of "empty" inside.  After doing some more reading, there are a few things that might have contributed to this.  A low oil temperature is important to retaining the fluffy texture inside. We also might have let the syrup cool too much before adding it, which can cause them to deflate.

They still can't quite compare to the ones we get at Mayuri and Punjab Sweets, but they weren't bad for our first try!

Gulab Jamun Recipe 

1 cup milk powder (also called powdered milk in US stores. A smooth, fine texture is preferred, so we used a coffee grinder for ours) 
1/4 cup flour 
3 tablespoons butter, room temperature 
1/4 cup milk, room temperature 
pinch of baking soda 

1 3/4 cup sugar 
1 1/2 cup water 
4 threads of saffron 
4 cardamom seeds, ground (we threw them in whole and took them out later, but ground seeds or powdered cardamom would give more flavor) 
1 teaspoon rose water 

Oil for frying 
Sliced almonds or pistachios for garnish
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  • Jean - August 10, 2012

    These sure sound yummy!

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