Originating from the kitchens of the Mughal emperors during their reign in India, the love for these sweet dumplings of goodness has extended to other Asian countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar, and even Mauritius. During Eid and other festivities, gulab jamuns are the perfect dessert to make and bring along to celebrations with family and friends!
Gulab jamun are undoubtedly one of the most popular and loved sweets in India. Along with other traditional sweets like rasgulla, jalebi, kheer, and gajar ka halwa, gulab jamuns are a classic during festivities and celebrations and have become inseparable with Indian culture.
- 1 ½ cups milk powder
- ¾ cup plain flour
- 1 tbsp fine semolina
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp cup plain yogurt
- ⅓ cup milk (and a dash more if needed)
- 2 tsp pure Desi ghee
- Melted ghee or oil, for frying
- 3 cups sugar
- 3 cups water
- 3-4 cardamon pods
- 2 tbsp rose water
- 6-10 strands of saffron (optional)
Garnishing (all are optional and interchangeable)
- Rose petals
- Desiccated coconut
- Sliced pistachio
- Gold or silver leaf
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time: 15 minutes
- In a large bowl, mix together your dry ingredients for the dough (milk powder, plain flour, baking soda, and semolina) until well combined.
- Create a dip in the centre and add the yogurt and milk. Mix in until a dough is formed with a spoon or by hand. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky, but not runny. Mix until combined and do not overmix, as this will soften the dough too much. If the dough is too soft/runny to roll into balls, add small amounts of flour. If the mixture is too dry, add a dash of milk and mix in to loosen the dough.
- Apply a drop of Desi ghee to your palms and fingers (this prevents sticking of the soft dough to your hands) and separate a piece of the dough and form a ball about 2.5 cm wide. The balls will double in size when frying and enlarge further when soaking the sugar syrup.
- Continue making dough balls with the rest of the dough and set aside
- In a separate pan, over medium heat, combine your water and sugar until dissolved. Add in saffron (optional), cardamon pods and rosewater. Simmer for 2 minutes and then set aside.
- Fill a kadhai (deep-sided, flat bottomed pan) generously with ghee or oil. Heat the ghee/oil on a medium heat, and drop a small ball of the dough into the oil. Once it floats to the top, reduce the heat to a low flame and then begin frying the gulab jamuns.
- Keep stirring the gulab jamuns to brown them evenly. Remove the gulab jamuns when medium brown, and add them straight into the hot syrup.
- Allow the gulab rest for at least 15 minutes in the syrup.
- Serve while warm and garnish with your choice of pistachio, rose petals, desiccated coconut or gold/silver leaf.