- khoya 125 g
- All-purpose flour 5 tbsp
- Baking powder 1/4 tsp • 156 kcal
- Milk 2 to 4 tbsp • 49 kcal
- paneer (optional) 2 tbsp
- Oil for frying
- Lemon juice 1 1/2 tsp
- almond, chopped (optional)
- for the syrup
- Sugar 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups • 470 kcal
- Water 3/4 cup
- Cardamom powder 1/2 tsp
- rose water 1 tsp
If you're a fan of Indian sweets, you'll love gulab jamun. This traditional sweet is made from sweet fried dough balls soaked in wonderful aromatic rosewater syrup. They're tender and moist, with a sweet milky flavor.
Gulab jamun is made with khoya or mawa, which are a type of milk solid used in Indian cuisine. They're a popular dessert across India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and other countries with a large South Asian population.
Gulab jamun is usually served at weddings, during festivals like Diwali or Eid, or as an occasional sweet treat. There are a few different ways to make gulab jamun, but this version is one of the easiest and widely used. Let's get started!
What is Gulab Jamun?
Gulab jamun is a type of Indian sweet made from fried dough balls soaked in rosewater sugar syrup. The dough balls are made from khoya, or milk solids, flour, baking powder, milk, and cardamom powder.
The result is a wonderfully sweet treat that's perfect for festive occasions or to serve as a simple dessert that will impress your guests.
Gulab Jamun Ingredients
The main ingredient of gulab jamun is khoya, mawa, or milk curds. The curds are mixed with flour, milk, cardamom powder, and a dash of baking powder, which helps to leaven the dough when they're frying.
Gulab jamun is soaked in a heavenly rosewater syrup which is made by boiling water and sugar to make a simple syrup, then adding in lemon juice, rosewater, and cardamom powder.
How to Make Gulab Jamun
To make gulab jamun at home, start with making the syrup. Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a saucepan. Stir to help the sugar dissolve, then let it keep cooking until the water evaporates and a thick syrup forms. Take the pot off the heat and stir in the rose water, lemon juice, and cardamom powder. Set aside and place a lid over it to keep it warm.
Next up is the dough! Combine the khoya, flour, cardamom powder, and baking powder in a bowl. Add in milk gradually, just enough to form a soft dough that's free from cracks. Cut the dough into 14 equal pieces, then shape them into balls. Heat oil in a deep pot or Dutch oven over medium heat.
Gently slide the dough into the hot oil and fry them until they turn a rich golden brown, working in batches if necessary. Remove the gulab jamun from the oil with a slotted spoon and place them in a colander to drain off the excess oil. Cool the gulab jamun for several minutes then place them in the syrup.
Roll them in the syrup to coat and let them soak for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve the gulab jamun in the syrup, with a side of vanilla ice cream, or some kulfi. Don't forget some chopped nuts as a garnish!
Pro Tips for the Best Gulab Jamun
Don't over-knead the dough as it will make the gulab jamun tough and chewy.
If the dough breaks during frying, you've probably added too much baking powder. Make sure to measure out the ingredients carefully before you get started.
Only add enough milk to make a smooth, crack-free dough.
Don't overcrowd the pot when you're frying the dough. They'll get soggy and won't cook properly.
Because of the sugar and the fact the dough is deep-fried, gulab jamun isn't a healthy snack to eat all the time. These delicious treats should only be enjoyed from time to time.
Gulab Jamun Variations
There are many great-tasting gulab jamun variations. Roll them in coconut, serve them with vanilla ice cream and top them with sliced pistachios, drizzle some chocolate over the top and garnish them with sliced almonds.
How to Store Gulab Jamun
Store your gulab jamun in an airtight container. They will last up to one week at room temperature or up to one month when refrigerated.
For the syrup
Pour sugar and water into a saucepan. Bring to a boil until the water evaporates and the mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Stir in rose water, lemon juice, and cardamom powder. Set aside and cover to keep warm.
For the dough
Combine the khoya, flour, cardamom powder, and baking powder in a bowl. Add in milk gradually, just enough to form a dough. Knead gently, but don't overwork the dough.
Divide the dough into 14 equal portions. Roll them into balls.
Heat oil in a deep pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Gently place the dough balls in the hot oil. Fry until the dough balls are golden brown. Take out the gulab jamun and let them drain in a colander. Repeat until all the balls are fried.
Cool the gulab jamun for several minutes, then place them in the syrup. Roll them in the syrup to coat and let them soak for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Serve the gulab jamun in the syrup.
If you don't want to use milk, you can use a plant-based option or water instead.