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  • Writer's pictureShalini Vemuri

Gulab Jamun

A decadent, melt in the mouth Indian sweet, immersed in warm Rose flavored sugar syrup with notes of Cardamom and Saffron. Tastes like little soft balls of Heaven!

Gulab jamun is a popular milk sweet dish from the Indian Subcontinent made of milk solids and immersed in a rose flavored syrup. Traditionally Gulab jamuns were made using khoya

(milk solids) and chenna (coagulated milk) as the main ingredients. Given the complexity of prepping the ingredients at home and finding fresh khoya at stores outside of India, the recipe has evolved over the years with simpler ingredients. Recipe developers have resorted to using milk powder as a good substitute without compromising on the taste.

Gulab means "rose" and refers to the rose water that renders the royal fragrance. Jamun is an "Indian berry", which resembles the brown sweet balls.

Super markets have an interesting line-up of Gulab Jamun instant mixes. Why pick up a box when you can make it at home? Good quality ingredients make a huge difference to taste of Gulab jamuns. Here a few recommendations on brands I use for your convenience.

Here are a few important details to keep in mind while making Gulab jamuns;

Frying the Gulab Jamuns: Heat the oil till its hot, but turn it to low flame while frying the jamuns. Else, the outer covering with brown quickly and the inside will remain uncooked. Soaking those will result in jamuns with a hard center.

Sugar syrup: The sugar syrup needs to be warm when you drop in the jamuns. The jamuns may crack if its boiling hot and will not soak the syrup if its cold.

Sugar syrup consistency: The recipe just calls for a sticky syrup and one doesn't need a thermometer or look for a string consistency. The syrup thickens as it cools and the lemon juice that's added prevents the syrup from crystalizing. Follow the recipe below precisely for best results.

Jamuns: Leave the jamuns on a plate for a few seconds before dropping them in the syrup.


Makes 12 Jamuns Ready in 30 min


Sugar syrup

1 cup Water

1 cup Sugar

1 tbsp Rose water

2 tsp lemon water

1 tsp Cardamom powder or 3 pods crushed

1 tsp Saffron


1/2 cup Milk powder

2 tsp Sooji ( Cream of Wheat)

3 1/2 tbsp Maida ( All purpose flour)

1/2 tsp Baking soda

1 tsp Yogurt

2 tbsp Milk or As required to make the dough

2 tsp Ghee ( Clarified butter)

Oil or Ghee to fry


Order of preparation:

Start making the dough and set the Sugar syrup to boil simultaneously.

Heat the oil once the dough is ready.

Sugar syrup:

1.Add all the ingredients in a pan except the lemon water and rose water.

2.Bring it to a boil on medium- high flame.

3.Once the syrup starts boiling lower the flame and let it simmer for exactly 6 min.

4. Turn off the flame.

5. Add rose water and lemon juice and give it a stir.

6. The syrup should be just sticky to touch and not gummy or stringy.

7. Transfer the syrup to a large bowl, big enough to hold all the jamuns. Keep in mind that the jamuns double in size once they soak the syrup.


1. Take a medium sized bowl and add all the dry ingredients.

2. Using a spatula works best to mix the ingredients as you really don't have to knead the dough.

3. Mix in the Yogurt and ghee.

4. Add milk just enough to make a dough. The consistency should match the pic above. It shouldn't be dry to touch or runny.

5. Heat the oil/ ghee for frying.

6. Make balls out of the dough. Roll them slightly bigger than a grape applying some ghee on your palms. Roughly about the size of a dime. The jamuns soak up the syrup and double in size so keep that in mind.

7. The rolled balls should be super smooth without any cracks in them. Refer pic above. Give it a gentle knead and roll the ball again if you see cracks.

8. Once the oil is hot, turn the flame down to low. Drop in the jamuns and fry them gently till they reach a rich golden brown color. Set them on a plate for a few seconds.

9. Check if the sugar syrup is still warm and drop the fried balls into the syrup.

10. Jamuns need to soak in for at least 30 min before you get to relish them.

11. Garnish with some pistachios and saffron.

12. Serve hot with some Vanilla ice cream!


Best served hot or warm with Vanilla ice cream. It can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated. But, do warm them up before serving!

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