Gulgule (singular gulgula) is a deep-fried sweet made from whole wheat flour, sugar or jaggery and fennel seeds from the North Indian cuisine. These crispy soft and fluffy balls are pretty easy to make.
You can even call them an Indian version of fried doughnuts. Gulgule can also be referred to as Pua. In the Punjabi language, this dish is called as pooda or puda.
About this Gulgule recipe
There is a special ingredient in this gulgule recipe which gives the final dish a lovely soft texture. Any guesses?
If you cook or bake with bananas, you will know their immense contribution to the flavor, texture and taste. Bananas help in giving a nice fluffy and soft texture to these fried dainty sweets.
No Bananas? Not to worry
I even make these without bananas. So don’t panic if you don’t have bananas. You can easily let go of them. You just need to add some more sugar and water while making the batter. I have mentioned the details in the notes section of the recipe card towards the end of the post.
Gulgule vs Malpua
Gulgule has some similarities with Malpua – a popular Indian dish of shallow fried flour pancakes glazed with sugar syrup.
- Malpua is made like a pancake and gulgula are fried like fritters (pakoda) or doughnuts.
- Malpuas are sweeter than gulgule as they are glazed with sugar syrup. In gulgule, fennel seeds are added which lends a subtle sweet flavor. I also make another variation of this gulgule recipe like a pancake. Recipe link -> Pooda recipe.
I came across gulgule recipe for the first time about 12 years back when my mother-in-law shared it with me. We were living in Delhi at that time and when it used to rain, on occasions we would make these crispy Indian doughnuts for the entire family.
Like many of my recipes, this one is again a simple recipe and easy to make in less time. You can make them during any festive occasion like Holi, Diwali, Karwa Chauth etc. They taste great during rains or in cold weather.
How to make Gulgule (Pua)
1. Take ½ cup chopped bananas and 6 tablespoons raw sugar in a bowl. You can also use white sugar or jaggery.
2. Mash very well with a fork or vegetable masher. Mix the sugar with the bananas as you go on mashing.
3. Add 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder, ½ teaspoon baking powder and a pinch of salt to the mashed banana and sugar mixture. You can sift the flour if you want. For a more fluffy texture, you can add 1 teaspoon baking powder.
4. First, add ½ cup of water.
5. Begin to mix. Then add more water if required to make a batter which is neither too thick nor too thin. The batter should be slightly thicker than a pakoda batter. Do not over mix as then gluten can form in the batter which will result in giving a dense texture. If the flour is finely ground, then less water will be needed. If the flour is coarse, then more water will be needed. Overall you may need to add from 8 to 11 tablespoons water. I had used a slightly coarse flour and added 11 tablespoons of water. 8 tablespoons water is ½ cup of water.
6. In a deep pan or wok or kadai take ghee or oil. Let the oil become hot. Test a small portion of the batter in the oil. If the portion comes up on the surface of the oil steadily, then you can begin to fry. Note that the oil should be hot, otherwise, the batter may stick to the kadai.
7. Add spoonfuls of the batter in the oil. Fry on medium flame.
8. Let the gulgule become light golden from the bottom and sides. The gulgule will puff while frying. Then gently turn over each gulgula. Note that the oil or ghee should not be very hot, otherwise they will get burnt. Do not overcrowd the pan. You can easily fry 8 to 12 gulgule at a time depending on the size of the pan or kadai.
9. Keep turning for even frying till they are crisp and golden. If you do not want to deep fry, then you can also make these in an appe pan (aebleskiver pan).
10. Once they are golden brown, remove them with a slotted spoon and place on kitchen paper towels. This way fry the remaining gulgule in a total of two to three batches. Note that bananas will give a dark browning in the fritters. The sugars in the bananas caramelize when frying giving a dark golden color. If the fritters begin to get too much browned or burnt, then lower the flame. If the oil is too hot, then the outside part will darken and brown quickly but the inside will be undercooked.
11. Serve gulgule hot with masala chai or ginger chai.
Mostly I make these as a tea-time snack. We usually have them with chai. You can even serve them with Rabri (sweetened thickened milk) or Rice Kheer. You can even make these as an after school snack for kids.
More Indian Sweet recipes
This recipe post is from the archives (August 10, 2009) and has been republished and updated on March 7, 2020.
Gulgule (Pua or Gulgula)
For mashing bananas
- ½ cup chopped bananas or 1 small banana
- 6 tablespoons raw sugar or white sugar or jaggery - add as per taste
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds (saunf)
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder - optional
- 1 pinch salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 8 to 11 tablespoons water or add as required
- oil as required - for deep frying
Making the batter
- Take chopped bananas and sugar in a mixing bowl. Mash very well with a fork or vegetable masher. Mix the sugar with the bananas as you go on mashing.
- Add the wheat flour, fennel seeds, cardamom powder and salt to the mashed banana and sugar mixture.
- Add half a cup of water first. Mix well and add more water as required to make a batter that is neither too thick nor too thin. Check the notes section of this recipe card for tips on batter consistency and adding water.
- The batter should be slightly thicker than a pakoda batter
- In a deep pan or wok or kadai heat ghee or oil. Let the oil become hot.
- Drop spoonfuls of the batter in the hot oil. Fry the gulgule on a medium flame.
- Note that the oil should not be less hot, otherwise the batter may stick. The oil or ghee should not be very hot, otherwise the gulgule may get burnt.
- Do not overcrowd the pan. You can easily fry 8 to 12 gulgule at a time depending on the size of the pan or kadai. While frying if the oil becomes too hot, then reduce the flame.
- The gulgule will puff while frying. When one side is light golden, gently turn over and fry the other side. Keep on turning and frying them till they are golden brown. Remove them and place on kitchen paper towels for the extra oil or ghee to be absorbed.
- When frying, they may stick, but get separated once browned.
- Serve the gulgule or meetha pua hot with Indian tea.
- Batter consistency: First add half a cup of water. Begin to mix and then add more water as and if required in parts to make a medium thick batter. The batter should be slightly thick than pakoda batter. If the flour is finely ground, then less water will be needed. If the flour is coarse, then more water will be needed. Overall you may need to add from 8 to 11 tablespoons water. I had used a slightly coarse flour and added 11 tablespoons water.
- Spices: Fennel seeds are essential and cannot be skipped. But you can skip cardamom powder.
- Frying: Fry on medium flame. Do not fry on a high flame. Since bananas are added, the browning will be darker. The sugars in the bananas caramelize when frying giving a dark golden color. If the fritters begin to get too much browned, then lower the flame. If the oil is too hot, then the outside part will darken and brown quickly but the inside will be undercooked.
- Bananas: Adding bananas is optional. Bananas give a nice soft texture and hence I add them. If you do not add bananas, you can add about ½ cup sugar and a bit more water.
- Baking powder: If you do not prefer baking powder in your sweets, then you can easily skip them. I make gulgule without baking powder too - taste wise they are good but the texture is less soft. Alternatively, for a more fluffy texture, you can add 1 teaspoon baking powder instead of ½ teaspoon baking powder.
- Sweeteners: You can even use jaggery (non centrifugal indian unrefined sugar) in place of raw sugar or refined sugar.
- Scaling: This gulgule recipe can be easily halved or doubled.