Gulab Jamun

Gulab Jamun.
Image by Kailash Kumar, c/o

Gulab jamun is a good old fashioned Indian dessert which hits the spot for anyone with a sweet tooth. Not really a dessert for anyone on a diet but then it was not designed for keeping a trim waist unless you wanted to grow one. These are sticky and sweet dough balls or dumplings which are deep fried. An absolute classic.

The usual ingredient is to make with khoya or mawa, a thick milk solid. This isn’t readily available and can add considerable time to the preparation if this ingredient is made from scratch.  Nowadays we use powdered milk.

The dough balls are fried golden and then dipped in saffron infused sugar syrup. It is a true festive favourite! Easy to make at home by the way so do not fret if you feel you have to go out and buy them.

You may well also see them spelt as goulab jamun.


The story behind the appearance of gulab jamun is that of a dessert introduced by the Mughals. Before it was known in India there are records of it in medieval Iran. Then it was a type of fritter that was brought to India by the Turkic conquerors. It may have been prepared accidentally by Shah Jahan’s personal cook but this is only a myth in many ways. 

The preparation time is between an hour or two but they cook in less than 10 minutes.

Ingredients For Gulab Jamun

If you are making for two, here is a typical amount of dough for preparing about 6 balls. These are prepared using the following ingredients:

  • 225g/8oz. powdered milk ( in some cases a sports powder based on whey can be substituted)
  • 110g/4oz. plain flour
  • 1¼ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. bicarbonate of soda
  • 350ml/12fl oz full-fat milk
  • 25g/1oz of melted butter
  • vegetable oil, for deep frying


  1. Simply mix all these ingredients together in a large bowl. Add enough water to prepare a sticky dough. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave for 10 minutes.
  2. Shape the dough into small round balls.
  3. Heat some vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan. Remember oil when hot is dangerous and there is always a risk of burning. The oil is ready when a breadcrumb dropped in fries. Deep fry these balls to a golden-brown colour. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and set aside on kitchen towel or paper so that it drains the oil away.
  4. The sugar syrup is prepared by heating 200g of caster sugar in 100ml of water. Add a few strands of saffron to provide the yellow-gold colour when all the sugar has dissolved.
  5. If you want something a bit special, why not add a few drops of rose essence which then gives the syrup a special perfume, rather like a box of Turkish delight. 
  6. When the dough balls have cooled sufficiently – lets say to room temperature, add to the syrup and leave for at least an hour to soak up.
  7. Most people like to add pistachio nuts and flaked almonds as a garnish.
(Visited 6 times, 1 visits today)

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. How to Prepare Bengali Pitha - FoodWrite

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.