Deep fried dough balls in a sweet syrup

Gulab Jamun

My mum loved Gulab Jamun – making them and eating them – so I am going to keep this post short and go straight to her recipe. I’ve used measuring cups to measure the ingredients….

Ingredients – Makes up to 30

1½ cups of unsweetened milk powder

1 cup plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

4 tbsp ghee

2 tbsp milk for kneading (any kind)

Oil for deep frying

4 cups water

4 cups white sugar

4 green cardamom

A pinch of saffron (kesar)

2 tsp lemon juice (to prevent syrup from crystalising)

2 tsp rose water (for gulab flavour)


  • Mix together the milk powder, plain flour and baking powder in a large bowl
  • Add the ghee and use your fingertips to form a breadcrumb consistency
  • Now adding a little of the milk at a time, very lightly knead into a soft dough – do not over knead
  • Cover the dough and leave it to rest for minimum 10 minutes
  • Whilst the dough is resting, in a large pan, mix together the water, sugar, cardamom, saffron and rose water and boil until it forms a sticky syrup. Make sure it doesn’t get stringy and add the lemon juice at the end when you take it off the heat to prevent it from crystalising
  • Now take the dough and form equal sized balls ensuring they have a smooth surface and no cracks
  • Heat the oil on a medium heat and test to see if it is ready – you can do this by throwing in a tiny ball of the dough mixture – it should rise to the top instantly
  • Turn the flame to low and place the dough balls into the hot oil and fry gently until golden brown – turning continuously so they brown equally on all sides
  • Remove from the hot oil and drain
  • Now add to the hot syrup. They will double in size over the next 3 to 4 hours.
  • Serve either hot or chilled with ice-cream or on their own.

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