gulab jamun – a simple recipe of gulab jamun with milk powder. this is an easy way to make gulab jamuns at home but this is not a quick recipe.
this gulab jamun recipe is good if you don’t have khoya (evaporated milk) or paneer (cottage cheese) readily available at home. all you need is milk powder, yogurt, sugar and water to make a basic gulab jamun at home.
gulab jamun literally translates to rose berries. gulab means rose and jamuns are deep purple colored berries available in india. since the syrup made is rose water scented and the deep fried dough balls are the size of the jamun berries, hence the term gulab jamun.
traditionally gulab jamuns are fried in ghee. you can go the traditional way if you want or just fry them in oil like i have done.
i used to and still make gulab jamun with khoya or evaporated milk and cottage cheese. the taste of gulab jamun made with khoya/evaporated milk is different than this recipe. this version of gulab jamun is soft, melt in the mouth and taste delicious with a milky taste.
i have even made gulab jamuns with sweet potatoes and these were a vegan version. hopefully i shall be able to post the vegan gulab jamun recipe too.
the whole trick is to get the right consistency in the gulab jamun dough. if you get it right, then making these gulab jamuns are a cakewalk and you won’t feel like buying them from outside….. since then it becomes an easy recipe. please take note of step nos 6,7 and 8. i have mentioned all the tips and suggestions in the steps which can become a bit tricky, if not rightly done. so please take your time to read each step carefully.
so lets begin the step by step gulab jamun recipe:
1: first stir the sugar, water, cardamom powder and saffron in a pan and keep it on fire. i have kept the cardamoms peels and these can be thrown away when serving the gulab jamuns.
2: gently bring to a boil and continue to stir occasionally.
3: add some pistachios in the syrup. an optional step but tastes good.
4: make a thick syrup and switch off the fire much before the sugar solution reaches a one thread consistency. on cooling if the sugar syrup crystallizes, then just add 2 to 3 tbsp water and warm the syrup again. it will again return to a liquid state.
5: mix the flour, milk powder and baking soda in a mixing bowl. add oil/ghee and 1 tbsp yogurt.
6: just mix everything lightly. add little of yogurt if the mixture looks dry. don’t over mix or knead. you don’t want gluten to form, so just mixing well is enough. the all purpose flour is just added to bind the mixture. if gluten forms then the dough balls become dense and won’t absorb any of the sugar syrup and the inside of gulab jamun will not be soft.
7: the mixture will be sticky but smooth. apply some oil on your palms and make small balls from the dough. these gulab jamun balls almost double when frying and also increase when soaked in the sugar syrup. so don’t make large sized balls.
there should be no cracks on the dough balls. they should be smooth. if there are cracks, then just add some 1 or 2 tsp of yogurt or milk to the mixture and continue making the balls. once done, then cover the balls with a kitchen towel.
8: heat oil for deep frying in a kadai or a pan. when the oil becomes medium hot, lower the flame. add a small ball in the oil. the ball should slowly rise to the top from the bottom. if it does not rise then, the oil is not hot enough. if it rises quickly and browns also quickly, then the oil is too hot to fry.
if the small ball does not crack or break while frying, you are ok to proceed further. if it cracks, then just add some 1 or 2 tsp flour to the dough and form the balls again. in an ideal case, the gulab jamun ball should not crack and should rise slowly to the top and should not get browned quickly.
9: when you know the oil is hot enough and on a low flame, then add 3-4 balls or more depending on the capacity of your kadai or pan. the balls have to be stirred with a slotted spoon frequently to get even browning. if there are handles on the pan, you can just lightly shake the pan so that the balls are evenly fried without using the spoon. but take care as hot oil is there in the pan. the gulab jamun balls should also not become browned too soon. they have to be cooked from the insides too.
10: keep on turning the gulab jamuns till they become golden. if the oil becomes cold, then don’t fry the gulab jamun balls. increase the temperature and then fry. otherwise the gulab jamuns would have a hard crisp thick cover when fried in a not so hot oil and they won’t absorb the sugar syrup. plus they would absorb a lot of oil too.
11: when the gulab jamuns are evenly golden and browned, remove from the slotted spoon and add them directly into the sugar syrup. keep the gulab jamuns in the sugar syrup for atleast 1-2 hours before serving. this is done so that the gulab jamun soaks up the sugar syrup which will make the insides soft and sweet. thats why in the sweet shops, the gulab jamun are always soaked in sugar syrup.
if you feel the gulab jamuns are not soaking in the sugar syrup, then warm the whole gulab jamuns along with the sugar syrup on stove top or in the microwave. cover and keep aside. just warm them, don’t heat.
12: gulab jamuns can be served warm or cold. if they are at room temperature, then warm in the microwave and serve the gulab jamun topped with sugar syrup and garnished with pistachios or almond slices.
gulab jamun recipe details below:
- 1 cup milk powder
- ¼ cup all purpose flour or maida
- 1 tsp oil or ½ tsp ghee
- a pinch of salt (optional)
- a pinch of baking soda
- 1 to 2 tbsp yogurt
- a few blanched pistachio or almond slices for garnishing
- 2 cups water
- 1.5 cups sugar
- 3-4 green cardamoms, husked & crushed or powdered
- a pinch of saffron (optional)
- 1 tsp rose water (optional)
- mix water, sugar, cardamom and saffron.
- keep this sugar solution on fire and cook till you get a syrup consistency.
- there should be no thread formation in the sugar solution.
- stir in the rose water and keep aside.
- first mix the milk powder, all purpose flour, soda in a bowl.
- add oil or ghee and just 1 tbsp of yogurt.
- mix and keep on adding little of the yogurt to get a soft sticky mixture.
- the dough should not be crumbly or dry. if it is then add some yogurt.
- make smooth small balls from the dough.
- heat the oil and the reduce the flame to low.
- add the balls and fry them stirring often to get even color.
- when they become golden, remove from a slotted spoon and add them to the sugar syrup.
- let them soak in the sugar syrup for atleast 1-2 hours.
- gulab jamuns can be served warm or cold. if they are at room temperature, then warm in the microwave and serve gulab jamun topped with sugar syrup.