Gulab Jamun

A few of you that are long time followers of my blog know that I am just crazy about Indian food. There is nothing better than sitting down to a meal of Chicken Tikka Masala and Garlic Naan. Despite my love for Indian food, the high caloric sauces that many of the entrees are served in means that we don’t have it as often as I would like. But every now and then we indulge in a delicious Indian meal. In my mind, an Indian meal is never complete without a traditional Indian dessert. My absolute favorite is Gulab Jamun… spongy milk balls that are fried and soaked in rose scented syrup. If you have never tried Gulab Jamun, you are really missing out! If you like doughnuts, then you are certain to enjoy this delicious dessert. An Indian version of donuts soaked in a warm sweet syrup and topped with pistachios…in other words, heaven! 🙂

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Gulab Jamun

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For the Sugar Syrup:

  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • Few saffron strands
  • 4 green cardamom pods, cracked open
  • 2 tablespoons rose-water (1-2 drops if using essence)

For the Dough Balls:

  • 1 cup milk powder
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoons baking soda
  • 10-12 mixed nuts (cashews, almonds & pistachios)
  • 1/4 teaspoon green cardamom powder
  • 3 tablespoon ghee (or unsalted butter), melted and the cooled to room temperature
  • 1/4 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • Oil for deep-frying
  • Nuts for garnish


  1. For the Syrup: In a large sauce pan, bring water, sugar, cardamom pods to a boil. Let the syrup simmer for 1 minute then remove from heat. (The syrup should still be a little liquidy and not too thick.) Let the syrup sit for 5 minutes, then add saffron strands and rose water; cover and set aside.
  2. For the Dough Balls: Place mixed nuts in a spice grinder and grind them into a fine powder (you should have about 2 tablespoons); set aside
  3. In a large bowl, sift together the milk powder, flour, baking powder, baking soda, green cardamom powder and ground nuts. Add the melted ghee (or butter) to the flour mixture and rub between hands so that the mix is moistened. Start adding milk and mixing simultaneously to make a soft dough (The dough will be sticky). Cover the bowl with a cloth and let the dough sit for 5 minutes.
  4. Add enough oil to a deep-sided pan to cover the balls completely while deep-frying. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and heat over medium heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees F.
  5. While the oil is heating, divide the dough into 20 equal parts and roll into small, smooth balls. (The balls will double up after frying and soaking in syrup so do not make big balls.) Keep the rolled balls covered with a moist cloth until ready to fry.
  6. Meanwhile if your sugar syrup is cold or luke warm, put it on stove again so that it warms up.You want the sugar syrup warm (not hot). Once warm, transfer the syrup to a bowl big enough to keep the fried balls completely submerged in the syrup.
  7. Carefully add a few dough balls to the oil, being careful not to crowd the pan, and fry, turning frequently, until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove the balls from the oil and place into the warm syrup. Allow the fried balls to soak in the syrup for at least 30 minutes (or up to 20 days) before serving.
  8. The Gulab Jamuns are best served warm. Microwave until warm, about 10-15 seconds and place in individual serving bowls with a few tablespoons of syrup and nuts garnish.

Yields: 20 Gulab Jamuns
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Ready In: 60 minutes

Source: adapted from Sinfully Spicy

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19 Responses to Gulab Jamun

  1. Baker Bettie says:

    I have never tried Galub Jamun, but it sounds amazing! Looks so pretty too!

  2. Marcee says:

    We are not big on the desserts. Although a variety of fruit works really well w/Indian breads. Love them all really. So delicious when freshly made.

    Most Indian food is really yummy. Our family has been eating veggie for years. Friends of ours were great teachers! The aromas are amazing. They did not consume meats in a daily food group though. I learned how to make fantastic rice & veggie dishes. All sorts of healthy meals. Simple foods, but spices and herbs make all the difference.

  3. How unusual, I’ve never heard of Gulam Jamun! They look absolutely delicious though…I’ll have to try one of these “Indian Donuts”!

  4. Katherine loves these, but we didn’t check and see what they were called. (An Indian restaurant we like always has them on their lunch buffet.) So glad to see this.

  5. Nadia Mustapha says:

    Just a word of advice, given that the color should have been golden brown and not dark brown, as in your photo…Fry them at medium-low heat in a heavy pan for 8-10 minutes. They will appear to be a lighter color in the oil, but when they come out, they actually have a darker color, so you don’t want to leave them in any longer than necessary. Also, if they over-cook, the syrup cannot absorb fully, due to the hard exterior, so they will be a bit tough to cut with a spoon when time to eat.

  6. Villy says:

    I was lucky to try these in an Indian friend’s house and I was impressed! Indian food is so good!

  7. DeeDee says:

    I always love the recipes you post, & am really happy to see a childhood favourite being given some attention. Being an Indian/European mongrel I was fortunate enough to be exposed to an amazing range of foods from infancy up, & only this weekend while craving home-style comfort I debated whether to cook my beloved Kheer, Carrot Halwa or Gulab Jamuns…Kheer won, but you’ve inspired me to try the GJ’s next weekend!

  8. I love Indian food in general from the vegetable preparations to the curries to the breads, chutneys, raitas and pickles. That said, I do not understand Indian desserts. My favorite Indian restaurant offers the Westernized option of cardamom gelato. Other than that, I just stick with masala chai and candied anise seeds.

  9. Dubai has a fairly large Indian community so it’s difficult not to stumble into an Indian restaurant at every corner. I can’t really say I am an Indian food fan since I only really love biryani, but I find myself craving gulab jamun very often. I will definitely try your version though since from the looks of it it’s not as artery-clogging as what we get from restos here 😀

  10. never heard of this, but definitely open to trying and indulging a little bit. thanks for sharing!

  11. Donna says:

    These look very interesting, may give them a try. TFS

  12. ErinCroutons says:

    These DO look awesome! I must admit, I clicked on the link to your blog out of pure curiousity…I had never heard of these…but I sure am glad I did!

  13. Amy says:

    Oh my gosh I loooove these when I go to Indian restaurants! I never even thought about making it from home. Yours look very authentic…impressive!

  14. This sounds yummmmmy. buzzed ya!

  15. Great photos. These look delicious. I’m making Indian food for dinner tonight. If I can find the energy to make these, they would be a perfect ending to our meal. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  16. Kiri W. says:

    Mmm, this looks, so, so perfect! I love that the syrup is more subtle and has rose and pistachios -what a treat!

  17. Srimathi says:

    Its so cool that you made GJ’s. I love them. It is kinda tricky and unless you get the dough right it could be a nightmare. I made kalajamun, the dry and dark version of it last year. Thank god they turned out well. I am happy yours look fine.

  18. Rachel Southwood says:

    Ahh I love these, will have to bookmark this recipe now!

  19. Pingback: Ras Malai | Sweet Pea's Kitchen

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