Gulab Jamun Pic 1

Gulab Jamun – milk balls in a rosy sugar syrup!

I’m not the biggest fan of Indian (or Asian, for that matter) desserts. I’m a chocoholic, through and through. But amongst the Indian desserts, the ones I like are Gulab Jamun, Rasmalai (cottage cheese balls soaked in thick, sweetened milk) and Kulfi (“indian ice cream”).

Although it’s easy to buy Gulab Jamun off the shelf at places in Little India (like Mustafa Shopping Centre), as it turns out, it’s super easy to make at home as well. Plus you can control the sweetness levels of the syrup those golden balls soak in.

And, it’s the syrup that’s sweet, by the way. Those fried milk balls don’t contain any sugar in them.

Powdered milk, yoghurt and flour is the base in this recipe for the bouncy balls. When they soak up the (preferably) saffron-scented, rosewater-laced, pistachio-dotted sugar syrup, they become scrumptious!

Gulab Jamun Featured

Ingredients for Gulab Jamun:

Makes around 20 balls

For the gulab jamun:

  • 1 cup milk powder
  • ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 to 2 tbsp plain yoghurt
  • a pinch of baking soda
  • a pinch of salt

For the sugar syrup:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 green cardamoms (smash them slightly so that the husk opens up a little)
  • a pinch of saffron
  • 1 tsp rose water
  • a few roughly chopped pistachios

Method for Gulab Jamun:

For the sugar syrup:

  1. Add the water, sugar, cardamoms and saffron to a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the liquid becomes a thick syrup. Just coating the back of your spoon, not till it hardens.
  2. Add the chopped pistachios and stir in the rose water.

For the gulab jamun:

  1. Mix the milk powder, flour and baking soda in a bowl.
  2. Add oil and 1 tbsp of yoghurt.
  3. Using a light touch, mix above ingredients. Do not over-knead, you don’t want to overwork the gluten in the flour.
  4. Add more of the yogurt if you feel that the dough is crumbly. The dough should be moist and smooth.
  5. Lightly oil your hands and start forming balls from the dough. I find it helpful to have a little bowl of oil by the side, to keep oiling my hands. If the balls you are making look cracked, just add a little more yoghurt or milk and re-roll. Also, don’t make too large a ball, as they increase in size when they are fried.Gulab Jamun uncooked
  6. Set aside and cover with a slightly damp towel.
  7. Heat some oil in a deep frying pan and reduce to a low flame before starting to add the balls.
  8. Test one of the small balls by adding to the oil. If it rises up slowly, you are ready. If it doesn’t rise, then the oil isn’t hot enough. And if it rises too quickly and browns too quickly, then your oil is too hot.
  9. Keep frying the balls in batches, and stir them around to ensure even browning. You want to ensure that the balls are not browning too quickly, as the insides need to be cooked too, so looking out for the oil temperature is important here.Gulab Jamun Frying Brown
  10. Add the golden, fried balls to the sugar syrup and let them soak for about 1-2 hours.

Gulab Jamun Pic 1

That’s about it! You can either eat the Gulab Jamuns hot or cold. Enjoy!

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