Gulab Jamun

Gulab jamun is an indian dessert. It is basically a fried doughnut that has been soaked in sugar water. It starts out as a fairly small fried ball, and then expands to about 3 times it’s original size, chock-full of sugar water. YUM. Can you say heart attack?

It’s not as bad as jalebi.

This recipe is my Athai’s. Athai is a fantastic cook, and she makes the most fantastic gulab jamun. They are always so perfect, all standard size, perfectly round, and delicious! I asked her for the recipe in preparation for my dinner party, and now I am sharing her delightful recipe with you.

Guys, I really went through the wars for this one.

I was all excited to make gulab jamun, went and bought my special instant milk powder to make it for the Deepavali Dinner party, and then!

I mis-read the recipe. Some confusion and epic-MacGyvering later, I had my gulab jamuns made for my dinner party, and my guests were consuming my “Gulab Jamun”.

It was only after they’d all finished eating that I realised I had missed the key ingredient! The instant milk powder! I still don’t understand how I missed it, but it suddenly became clear why my batter was so wet and I needed to add so much flour to fix it.

Anyway, the damage was done and my guests were full so I just had to let it be.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t sleep the rest of that night – I needed closure about these gulab jamun!

So the next day I told my husband I was going to make them again even though I had nobody to eat it. He said I was crazy. I made them anyway.

The second batch turned out so beautifully, albeit, they were not perfectly round or a standard size.

I have closure now, and I feel like I made my Athai proud.

Feedback from the office is that these are the best gulab jamun they’ve ever had (Probably the only gulab jamun they’ve ever had, but I’ll take it!).

I used a round bowl to soak my gulab jamun, in hindsight, I should have used a flat rectangular baking dish for soaking the gulab jamun. Gulab jamun apparently like to swim alone, so make sure your gulab jamun have plenty of space to bob along on their own, otherwise they will turn into prune-y things and will be weird.

Thank you so much Athai for sharing this recipe with me 🙂

Here it is.

Serves: A lot. Probably 30 balls.

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour

Soaking time: Overnight, outside the fridge preferably. You can put it in the fridge the next morning.


2 cups sugar

3.5 cups water

6 cardamom, press with flat of knife to split

2 drops of rose water

1 heaped cup instant full cream milk powder

1/2 cup plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp bi-carb soda

2 tsp yoghurt

4 tsp melted butter

1/3 cup milk

2 cups of oil to fry


  1. Sugar waterIn a saucepan, place water, sugar, cardamom and rose water. Boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into a flat rectangular baking dish (with sides).
  2. Gulab jamun mixHeat oil in a small saucepan.
    • Mix instant milk powder, plain flour, baking powder, bi-carb soda, yoghurt, butter and milk together.
    • If miss is still a bit sticky, just add a bit more plain flour until it turns into a roll-able consistency.
    • Form your gulab jamun balls, make them about 2 cm in diameter (as you can see, mine are a bit inconsistent)
    • Fry off about 7-10 balls at a time, make sure you turn them in the oil every couple of minutes or so.
    • You want your gulab jamun to fry to a very dark brown colour, but not burnt. Once they have soaked overnight, they will expand and the colour will change to a lovely dark honey colour.
    • Remove gulab jamun from the oil and drain. Once drained, immediately place in the sugar water.
    • Soak overnight, outside the fridge uncovered. You can pop in the fridge the next morning.
    • Serve 2 gulab jamun at a time and pour some sugar water over it. If you reheat in the microwave for 30 seconds, it will be so lovely.
Not very consistent
Fry them off
That’s how dark they should be
Into the sugar water they go
A thing of beauty it is

3 thoughts on “Gulab Jamun

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