Gulab Jamun

City Connect brings you another instalment of our popular cookery series, Taste of India with Mina Joshi. This time Mina shares her easy-to-follow recipe for gulab jamun with us.

Gulab jamun is an Indian sweet traditionally made out of powdered or evaporated milk blended with plain flour, fried & soaked in sugar syrup.  It is one of the most popular sweets ordered in an Indian restaurant.  There are lots of ready to cook packs of gulab jamuns now available in UK and they are great to have as a back up for the times you have any unexpected dinner guests you have to impress (e.g. the in laws or the Boss) .  But, I am sure you will agree with me that nothing beats the taste of freshly made home cooked gulab jamuns and they are not too difficult to make.

Ingredients for about 25 Gulab Jamuns
Cooking time 1 hour

1 cup milk powder (available in the World Food section of most supermarkets and most Indian grocery stores.)
¼ cup plain flour
1 litre cooking oil for frying (I used sunflower oil)
2 pinches of baking soda
A tiny pinch of Saffron
¼ teaspoon of cardamom seeds – slightly crushed if possible.
1 ¼ cup Sugar
¼ cup of milk (I used semi skimmed milk)
¼ cup of ghee or melted salt free butter


First prepare the sugar syrup:

1. Heat up one and ¼ cups of water and add in all the sugar in a saucepan. Stir and allow it to heat up. Add in the crushed cardamom and saffron.

2. Keep heating this mixture gently on medium heat until it forms a syrup. The syrup should be of one-thread consistency. To check this – take a drop of the syrup and rub it between your thumb and first finger. When you separate the thumb and finger, the syrup should be thick enough to form a thin string.

Whilst the sugar syrup is heating – prepare the gulab jamun balls.

3. Combine the milk powder, plain flour, ghee or butter and baking soda in a bowl.

4. Warm the milk slightly. Add a little of the milk at a time to bind and prepare the dough for the gulab jamun.

5. Cover the dough for 10 minutes and knead it again. If the dough feels dry – add more milk and knead it until it feels smooth and pliable.

6. Rub some ghee on your palms and form small balls the size of marbles. (The dough balls will become bigger when fried).

Fry 8-10 gulab jamun balls at a time in the oil till they become golden brown.

Tip: The oil should be on a low heat and each batch of gulab jamun could take upto 5 -6 minutes to cook. Cooking them on high or rushing the frying will spoil the gulab jamuns as they won’t puff up and therefore will not soak up the sugar syrup! Also be extra careful when turning them over during the frying as they can break.

8. Once all of the gulab jamun balls have been fried – allow them to cool for 10 minutes.

9. Once the syrup is ready, gently pour it over the gulab jamun and allow them to soak up the syrup for at least half an hour. The aroma of cardamom and saffron in these hot gulab jamuns is irresistible.

10. Transfer the gulab jamuns one at a time into a serving dish, sprinkle with sliced almonds and pistaccio. You can serve these hot or cold; with or without the syrup.

Tip: For an extra special taste, serve them warm with vanilla ice cream.

Images courtesy of Mina Joshi

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About Mina Joshi

Mina Joshi writes a vegetarian food blog,, and as a busy working Cambridgeshire mum, she specialises in quick and healthy authentic vegetarian recipes Both her father and father-in-law were experienced chefs who owned restaurants in East Africa and they shared their recipes and tips with Mina. She started her blog to pass on some of the old-fashioned dishes that might otherwise be lost. Mina believes that nothing beats home cooking and it is her aim to make everyone realise that cooking can be fun. also teaches vegetarian Indian cookery to adults at Evening classes at a Local College as well as in one to one classes in the Student's home where students can then invite friends to taste the dishes they have prepared. Follow Mina on Twitter @GiveMeSomeSpice
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