Gulab Jamun

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Get not one but two Gulab Jamun recipes with my step-by-step photo guide that will help you to make perfect gulab jamun every time.

gulab jamun served in a white bowl on a white napkin

What is Gulab Jamun

Gulab Jamun is a very popular Indian sweet. There are some versions of making it with khoya, milk powder, bread or sweet potatoes.

Indeed it is a favorite Indian sweet for many of us. In parties, weddings and even in an Indian dinner meal, gulab jamun happens to be one of the sweets served after the meals.

These soft sugar syrup soaked balls are a treat always. Sometimes to satisfy our sweet cravings, I make gulab jamun.

The word “gulab jamun” means rose berries. In Hindi language, the word “gulab” means rose and “jamun” is a darkish purple berry (java plum, black plum) available in India.

The sugar syrup for gulab jamun is flavoured with rose water and the fried dough balls have a size similar to jamun berries – hence the term Gulab Jamun.

It is made traditionally with dried milk solids. These dried milk solids are also called as khoya or mawa in Hindi. An easy version is also made with milk powder.

In this recipe post I am sharing both the versions.

  • Gulab Jamun made with Khoya – Traditional method for the best taste and a soft melt in the mouth texture.
  • Gulab Jamun made with Milk Powder – Easy and handy recipe if you don’t have khoya.

Both the recipes are easy and even beginners can make these tried and tested delicious melt in the mouth gulab jamun. You can choose the method depending on the ingredients you have.

About this recipe

Authentically and traditionally Gulab Jamun recipe is always made with khoya. Khoya or mawa is the Hindi term for evaporated milk solids. It is made by continuously simmering the milk on a low heat until most of the moisture evaporates.

There are 3 different types of khoya that you get in the Indian market. To make gulab jamun recipe you need to use “chikna khoya” or “dhaap khoya”. The word ‘chikna’ means smooth. Thus basically this khoya has a smooth and soft texture. It has more moisture than the other two varieties of khoya viz ‘danedar khoya’ and ‘batti khoya’.

You can easily make chikna khoya at home. You can check the method of making khoya at this link -> Khoya Recipe. You can also buy khoya from a Indian sweet shop.

My gulab jamun recipe is an easy one that yields delicious, soft and tasty jamun. My recipe is adapted from my cooking school which I have been making for decades and has never failed.

In fact I have made this gulab jamun recipe numerous times. Besides khoya you will also need paneer to make the jamun. The addition of these two ingredients gives a soft texture.

Step-by-Step Guide

How to make Gulab Jamun (traditional recipe)

Get my easy pictorial guide below to make this best gulab jamun recipe!

Making the dough

1. Take 1 cup khoya or mawa (200 grams) in a bowl. Soft khoya also known as ‘daap ka khoya’ or ‘chikna khoya’ is used. This is a soft khoya, so it mashes and kneads very well.

khoya in a mixing bowl

2. Mash it very well. There should be no lumps or small bits or pieces in the khoya. You can also grate and then mash the khoya. Do not mash too much. Just mash and proceed with the next step.

mashed khoya

3. Then add ¾ cup or 100 grams grated paneer, fine rava (semolina), 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, ¼ teaspoon baking powder and ½ teaspoon cardamom powder to the mashed khoya.

There should be no lumps in both the mawa and paneer. If there are lumps, then the texture is not even and smooth. The bits and pieces of mawa or paneer give a bite while eating.

flour and other ingredients added

4. Mix well.

ingredients mixed

5. Add 1 tablespoon milk and gather together to form a dough with milk. Don’t knead. Just gently mix. If you are unable to form balls or if the mixture appears dry, then add a few teaspoons of milk and mix again. Cover the dough and set aside for 30 minutes.

dough formed

Making sugar solution

6. Mix 1.75 cups (250 grams) sugar in 1 cup water.

sugar and water

7. On a medium-low flame, heat the sugar solution till it becomes sticky. You just need to switch off the fire before the syrup reaches a one thread consistency. I have used raw sugar which made the syrup have a dark color.

The syrup should be sticky and not watery. You can even cook the sugar syrup till it reaches a half-string consistency.

sugar syrup made

8. Add rose water and stir. Set the sugar solution aside. On cooling, if the sugar syrup crystallizes, then just add 2 to 3 tablespoons water and warm the syrup again. Stir while warming the syrup. The sugar crystals will disappear.

rose water added

Shaping and Frying

9. After 30 minutes, make small balls from the dough without cracks. Cover the dough balls and set aside.

made dough balls

10. Heat oil until it is medium-hot. Lower the flame to a medium-low or low and wait for a minute. Then gently place the dough balls in the oil.

If in case, the dough balls breaks when frying, then add some more maida (about 1 to 2 tablespoons) to the dough. Mix gently again. Set aside for fifteen minutes. Then later fry.

You can also check one small piece before frying the rest of the balls. If it breaks, then use the tip mentioned above.

fry the gulab jamun dough balls

11. Once they start to have tiny golden spots, keep on rotating them in the oil, so that the balls are evenly browned. Since I was taking the photos, I browned a few of them more.

frying until golden

12. Remove the fried dough balls and then place them on kitchen paper towels to remove extra oil.

fried balls placed on paper towels

Soaking in sugar syrup

13: Place the hot fried dough balls in the sugar syrup. Continue to fry the rest of the dough balls in batches. Later place them while still hot in the sugar syrup.

fried gulab jamun balls added into sugar syrup

14. When all the gulab jamun are placed in the sugar syrup, then keep the whole pan on a low flame for 1 to 2 minutes, till the jamun become soft. Heating helps the jamun to absorb the syrup and become soft.

The gulab jamun increases a bit in size. Don’t overcook as then they can break. Use a large pan, so that the fried jamun balls are not overcrowded and you can easily stir them gently while they are simmering.

sugar syrup with gulab jamun being simmered

15. Serve gulab jamun warm or at room temperature. You can also chill them and serve them cold. Garnish them with rose petals or almond slivers.

gulab jamun halved with a spoon on white plate

Variations

There are many variations of gulab jamun. The variations vary with the ingredients used or the cooking technique applied. Some of the variations that I have already shared are:

Tips

Tips + FAQs

I have compiled below tips and frequently asked questions based upon the queries received from the readers in the comments section.

Why my gulab jamun breaks on frying

  • If there is too much moisture in the dough, the jamun will break in the oil.
  • More baking powder can also result in the jamun breaking and disintegrating in oil.
  • When frying the temperature should not be too high or too low. A higher or a too low temperature of oil while frying can also break or crack the gulab jamun.
  • If the binding ingredients like maida or rava (sooji) are less, then this can also break jamun when frying.
  • As soon as you add the jamun dough balls in the oil, then let them become slightly crisp and then only turn them.
  • When making jamun dough ball, there should be no cracks on it. If you see cracks then add some more milk in the dough mixture. Mix and then form the jamun again.

Why has gulab jamun become hard

  • If there is less moisture in the jamun, it may become hard.
  • The jamun dough has to be mixed and not kneaded. If the dough is kneaded then the gulab jamun will become hard. When you knead the dough, gluten strands will form which will make the jamun dense and heavy.

    Even if they are slightly dense they won’t absorb the syrup and thus remain hard. In fact when frying gulab jamun, it should feel like very light spongy balls. You will feel the lightness in them.

Why my gulab jamun is too soft

  • The sugar syrup should have a sticky consistency. They should not have a watery consistency. If the sugar syrup is watery, then the jamun absorbs more sugar syrup resulting in it being super soft and can even break in the sugar syrup.

How to perfectly fry the dough balls

  • First, the oil has to be heated till it is medium hot. Then reduce flame to a medium-low or low and wait for a minute. Then gently place the jamun dough balls in the oil.

    Once the jamun dough balls start to have tiny light golden spots on them, then keep on rotating them with a slotted spoon in the oil often. This way the jamun will have an even golden color.
  • Also do note that if the oil is on the cooler side, then the jamun will absorb more oil and can crack or break too.
  • If the oil is very hot, then the balls get browned quickly with the inside portion being under cooked.
  • Traditionally gulab jamun are fried in ghee. You can go the traditional way if you want or just fry them in oil as I have done.

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gulab jamun served in a white bowl

Gulab Jamun

4.88 from 50 votes
Delicious gulab jamun recipe made with khoya (mawa) and paneer in the traditional way.
Prep Time 35 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 45 mins

Cuisine North Indian
Course: Desserts, Sweets
Diet: Vegetarian
Difficulty Level: Easy

Servings 20 gulab jamun
Units

Ingredients

for the dough

  • 1 cup khoya or mawa – 200 grams
  • ¾ cup grated paneer – 100 grams of paneer (Indian cottage cheese)
  • 3 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoon fine sooji (rava or semolina)
  • 4 green cardamoms – powdered in a mortar-pestle or ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1 tablespoon milk or add as required
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • oil for deep frying – as required

for sugar syrup

  • 1.75 cups sugar – 250 grams
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon rose water
  • 1 tablespoon milk (optional) – read notes

Instructions

Making dough

  • Take khoya (mawa or evaporated milk) in a bowl. Mash it very well. There should be no lumps. You can also grate and then mash the khoya.
  • Then add grated paneer, rava (sooji), all purpose flour (maida), baking powder and cardamom powder to the mashed khoya. There should be no lumps in both the mawa and paneer.
  • As if they are there, then you will find the texture of the gulab jamun not so good. The bits and pieces of mava or paneer will give a bite in the mouth, when you have the gulab jamun. They won’t be smooth.
  • Mix well. Add milk and gather together to form a dough with milk. Don’t knead.
  • Just gently mix. If you are unable to form balls or if the mixture appears dry, then add a few teaspoons of milk. Cover the dough and keep aside for 30 mins.
  • Make small balls from the dough. Cover the balls and keep aside.

Making sugar syrup

  • Dissolve sugar in water. Heat the sugar solution till it become sticky. You just need to switch off the fire before the syrup reaches a one thread consistency.
  • Add rose water and stir. Keep the sugar solution aside. 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.

Frying

  • Meanwhile, while the sugar syrup is cooking, heat oil till its medium hot. Lower the flame and wait for a minute. Then gently place the dough balls in the oil.
  • Once they start to have tiny golden spots, keep on rotating them in the oil, so that the jamun are evenly browned.
  • Remove the fried jamun and then drain them on kitchen paper towels to remove excess oil.

Making gulab jamun

  • Then place the hot fried dough balls in the sugar syrup. Continue frying the rest of the dough balls in batches.
  • When all the jamuns are placed in the sugar syrup, then keep the whole pan with the sugar syrup and the gulab jamun, on a low flame for 1 to 2 minutes till the jamun become soft.
  • Heating helps the gulab jamun to absorb the syrup and become soft. The jamun increase a bit in size. Don’t overcook as then the jamun can break.
  • Use a large pan, so that the jamuns are not overcrowded and you can easily stir them gently while they are simmering.
  • Serve gulab jamun warm or at room temperature. You can also chill them and serve them cold. Garnish with rose petals or almond slivers.

Notes

1. If the sugar syrup has impurities, then add milk and simmer. A layer of scum will be formed. Remove this layer with a spoon.

Nutrition Info Approximate values

Nutrition Facts
Gulab Jamun
Amount Per Serving (1 gulab jamun)
Calories 126 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 5mg2%
Sodium 30mg1%
Potassium 16mg0%
Carbohydrates 17g6%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 12g13%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 46IU1%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin B12 1µg17%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Vitamin D 1µg7%
Vitamin E 1mg7%
Vitamin K 1µg1%
Calcium 99mg10%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 5µg1%
Iron 1mg6%
Magnesium 2mg1%
Phosphorus 9mg1%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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milk powder gulab jamun in a white bowl

About Milk Powder Version

This gulab jamun recipe made with milk powder is a cheat’s version but tastes equally good. This recipe comes handy if you don’t have khoya or paneer readily available.

All you need is milk powder, curd (yogurt), sugar and water to make tasty gulab jamun at home.

This version made with milk powder is soft, melt in the mouth and taste delicious with a milky taste.

For making these it is important to get the right texture in the jamun dough. If you get it right, then making them is a cakewalk and you won’t feel like buying them from outside.

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. 

Step-by-step Milk Powder Gulab Jamun

Making sugar syrup

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 discarded when serving.

sugar, water, flavorings in a pan

2. Gently bring to a boil and continue to stir occasionally.

sugar solution being simmered

3. Add some pistachios in the syrup. An optional step but tastes good. Make a thick syrup and switch off the fire much before the sugar solution reaches a one thread consistency.

You can cook the sugar syrup till it reaches a half string consistency. On cooling, if the sugar syrup crystallizes, then just add 2 to 3 tablespoons water and warm the syrup again. It will again return to a liquid state.

pistachios added

Preparing milk powder dough

4. Mix the 1 cup milk powder, ¼ cup all-purpose flour or maida, a pinch of baking soda, a pinch of salt (optional) in a mixing bowl. Add 1 teaspoon oil OR ½ teaspoon ghee and 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh curd or yogurt.

milk powder, flour, curd, baking soda, ghee in a mixing bowl

5. Just mix everything lightly. Add some more curd 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 jamun will not be soft.

milk powder dough ready

6. The mixture will be sticky but smooth. Apply some oil on your palms and make small balls from the dough. These dough 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 teaspoons of curd or milk to the mixture and continue making the balls. Once done, then cover the balls with a kitchen towel.

small dough balls made

Frying

7. 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 alright to proceed further. If it cracks, then just add some 1 or 2 teaspoons flour to the dough and form the balls again.

In an ideal case, the dough ball should not crack and should rise slowly to the top and should not get browned quickly.

testing a small piece of dough ball

8. When you know the oil is hot enough and on a low flame or medium-low flame, then add 3 to 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 balls should also not become browned too soon. They have to be cooked from the insides too.

frying gulab jamun

9. Keep on turning until they become golden. If the oil becomes cold, then don’t fry the balls. Increase the temperature and then fry.

Otherwise, they would have a hard crisp thick cover when fried in a less hot oil and they won’t absorb the sugar syrup. Plus they would absorb a lot of oil too.

frying until golden in color

10. When the balls are evenly golden and browned, remove from the slotted spoon and add them directly into the sugar syrup. Keep them in the sugar syrup for at least 1 to 2 hours before serving.

This is done so that they soaks up the sugar syrup which will make them soft and sweet. That’s why in the mithai shops, the gulab jamun are always soaked in sugar syrup.

If you feel the jamun is not soaking in the sugar syrup, then warm the entire sugar syrup with the jamuns for a couple of minutes on stove-top. Cover and keep aside. Just warm them, don’t heat.

gulab jamun placed in sugar syrup

11. Gulab jamun can be served warm or cold. If they are at room temperature, then warm in the microwave and serve them topped with sugar syrup and garnished with pistachios or almond slices.

gulab jamun served in a white bowl
gulab jamun recipe

Milk Powder Gulab Jamun

4.8 from 29 votes
The gulab jamun recipe made with milk powder is a cheat’s version but tastes equally good. All you need is milk powder, curd, sugar and water to make a tasty gulab jamun.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 50 mins

Cuisine North Indian
Course: Sweets
Diet: Vegetarian
Difficulty Level: Easy

Servings 14 gulab jamun
Units

Ingredients

For the Jamun

  • 1 cup milk powder
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon oil OR ½ teaspoon ghee
  • 1 pinch salt (optional)
  • 1 pinch baking soda
  • 1 to 2 tablespoon s curd (yogurt)
  • some blanched pistachios or almond slices for garnishing

For the sugar syrup

  • 2 cups  water
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 3 to 4 green cardamoms – – husked and crushed or powdered or ½ teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1 pinch saffron – optional
  • 1 teaspoon rose water – optional

Instructions

Making dough balls

  • 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 discarded when serving.
  • Gently bring to a boil and continue to stir occasionally.
  • Add some pistachios in the syrup. An optional step but tastes good. Make a thick syrup and switch off the fire much before the sugar solution reaches a one thread consistency.
  • You can cook the sugar syrup till it reaches a half string consistency. On cooling, if the sugar syrup crystallizes, then just add 2 to 3 tablespoons water and warm the syrup again. It will again return to a liquid state.
  • Mix the 1 cup milk powder, ¼ cup all-purpose flour or maida, a pinch of baking soda, a pinch of salt (optional) in a mixing bowl. Add 1 teaspoon oil OR ½ teaspoon ghee and 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh curd or yogurt.
  • Just mix everything lightly. Add some more curd 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 jamun will not be soft.
  • The mixture will be sticky but smooth. Apply some oil on your palms and make small balls from the dough. These dough 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 teaspoons of curd or milk to the mixture and continue making the balls. Once done, then cover the balls with a kitchen towel.

Frying

  • 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 alright to proceed further. If it cracks, then just add some 1 or 2 teaspoons flour to the dough and form the balls again. In an ideal case, the dough ball should not crack and should rise slowly to the top and should not get browned quickly.
  • When you know the oil is hot enough and on a low flame or medium-low flame, then add 3 to 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 balls should also not become browned too soon. They have to be cooked from the insides too.
  • Keep on turning the balls until they become golden. If the oil becomes cold, then don’t fry the balls. Increase the temperature and then fry. Otherwise, the balls would have a hard crisp thick cover when fried in a less hot oil and they won’t absorb the sugar syrup. Plus they would absorb a lot of oil too.

Soaking jamun in sugar syrup

  • When the balls are evenly golden and browned, remove from the slotted spoon and add them directly into the sugar syrup.
  • Keep the fried golden balls in the sugar syrup for at least 1 to 2 hours before serving. This is done so that the jamun soaks up the sugar syrup which will make them soft and sweet. That’s why in the mithai shops, the gulab jamun are always soaked in sugar syrup.
  • If you feel the jamun is not soaking in the sugar syrup, then warm the whole gulab jamun along with the sugar syrup on stove-top for a couple of minutes. Cover and set aside. Just warm them, don’t heat.
  • Gulab jamun can be served warm or cold. If they are at room temperature, then warm in the microwave and serve them topped with sugar syrup and garnished with pistachios or almond slices.

Nutrition Info Approximate values

Nutrition Facts
Milk Powder Gulab Jamun
Amount Per Serving (1 gulab jamun)
Calories 144 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Fat 3g5%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 9mg3%
Sodium 59mg3%
Potassium 133mg4%
Carbohydrates 27g9%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 25g28%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 85IU2%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) 1mg67%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 1mg59%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1mg5%
Vitamin B6 1mg50%
Vitamin B12 1µg17%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Vitamin D 1µg7%
Vitamin E 1mg7%
Vitamin K 1µg1%
Calcium 90mg9%
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 7µg2%
Iron 1mg6%
Magnesium 10mg3%
Phosphorus 75mg8%
Zinc 1mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Like our videos? Then do follow and subscribe to us on youtube to get the latest Recipe Video updates.

Tried this recipe?If you have made the recipe and liked it then do share the recipe link on facebook, twitter & pinterest. For instagram mention @vegrecipesofindia and tag #vegrecipesofindia!

This recipe post from the archives (August 2014) has been republished and updated on 3rd June 2020.

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Dassana Amit

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Welcome to Dassana's Veg Recipes. I share vegetarian recipes from India & around the World. Having been cooking for decades and with a professional background in cooking & baking, I help you to make your cooking journey easier with my tried and tested recipes showcased with step by step photos & plenty of tips & suggestions.

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144 Comments

  1. Hi Dassana
    I wanted to inquire about doubling the recipe. How would I go about with the amount of flour and Sooji. I did 6 Tablespoons of Maida and 4 Tablespoons of Sooji and ended up with polka dot Gulab Jamuns that resembled strawberries ???? So I guess 3 Tablespoons of Sooji would be sufficient?5 stars

    1. radha, whenever sooji is used, one has to be careful. firstly too much of sooji can make the dish hard or dense. and when sooji is added it absorbs moe moisture or water content from the mixture or batter. so here in this case, some more liquid ingredients like milk or water can be added, so that the sooji softens and does not remain crisp – nor you can see the fine dots of sooji in the dish. in this recipe, 4 tablespoons sooji will be more. so just 2.5 to 3 tablespoons. your guess is right ????

  2. Hi Dassana, Your recipes are wonderful and so spot on. I have been meaning to say this on so many posts of yours that I try- but today I am posting this as I have run into an issue and I am hoping you might be able to tell me why.
    The first time I made your Gulab jamun they were just fabulous. Then the second time ( I bought a different Khoya- this was softer) and made it and all the dumplings when I put them in the sugar syrup went in , in the middle. I had half that Khoya still- saved it up and made it again today and this happened with some and not all.
    What am I doing wrong- did I put in the dumplings too hot into the sugar syrup?
    Your recipes are so very good.. thank you for sharing them.5 stars

    1. thanks meena. i have also used softer khoya in the recipe. gulab jamuns have to be hot when adding sugar syrup. could be that the sugar syrup was either not a perfect one string consistency or the khoya must be more on softer side. what you can do is do not heat up the sugar syrup once you add them in it. just let them soak in the syrup. hope this helps.

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