how to make gulab jamuns

by oBelIX

DISCLAIMER: Unlike previous (and/or most) posts on this blog this one actually contains useful information. It tells you how to make gulab jamuns from scratch. The last post that was like this was about rasgullas.

What is a gulab jamun

Gulab jamun , is a popular dessert in countries of the Indian Subcontinent such as India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh. In Nepal it is widely known as Lalmohan, served with or without curd, which is a popular dessert on all occasions. It is made of a dough consisting mainly of milk solids. Traditionally, khoya, an Indian milk product (buffalo milk) is rolled into a ball together with some flour and then deep fried, but at a low temperature of about 148°C. It is then put into a sugar syrup flavored with cardamom seeds and rosewater, kewra or saffron.

(The definition above was lifted from wikipedia)

How long does it take to make

About two and a half hours. That includes the time it takes to clean it up. This was the first time I made this, I reckon I can shave an hour off this. Two and a half hours for 35-40 odd gulab jamuns.

Is it good for me

Indeed. You should consume copious quantities of these. They are perhaps the best Indian sweet.

How do I make it?

To put it simply:

a) Make the syrup

b) Make the balls/dumplings. This post from now onwards will use balls because of the greater potential of cheap jokes.

c) Fry the balls

d) Put balls in syrup

What all do I need

Look this up on the internet. You lazy … oh wait … this is the internet and I said I’d give useful advice. Well you need:

  • Oil
  • Water
  • Milk Powder
  • Rose Essence
  • Flour
  • Ghee
  • Milk/Yogurt
  • Sugar
  • Cardamom
  • Kitchen utensils

That is as useful as this is going to get. For more (and you will anyway, let us be honest, you are never going to use this blog as the single source of all ngyanam on gulab jamun creation) look up the internet.


here we go …

Making the syrup: The first step. For that you need a lot of sugar. By a lot I mean a lot. I must have used somewhere between a half and three quarters of kilogram.



pure sugar in a pan or bowl or vessel



add water and start boiling. as the sugar dissolves add more water. then add some cardamom some



Rose Essence. That is the item in the foreground (I had to use rose water because rose essence is hard to find). Rose water is like an alcohol, just a pleasant smelling alcohol.



The solubility of sugar in water increases with temperature. Also, this is really really really sweet.


Making the balls: The balls are the jamuns. First, collect your ingredients and keep them in an easily reachable manner. I did not do this and halfway through kneading the dough I realized I needed more milk and then I had to go open the fridge to get more milk which is rather painful because as I was about to grasp the fridge handle to open the door to get more milk I saw that my hands were covered in dough which if it got stuck on the fridge handle would be painful to cleanup so I had to wash my hands. (A friend of mine writes emails like this)



The core ingredients – the milk powder and flour



I used that much milk powder to make the first batch. The glass is approximately two thirds the diameter of the bournvita bottle and a shade under a third it’s height and it was half filled with milk powder.

I also added some flour.



and some ghee which ideally should be melted.



first up, put all the dry ingredients in a bowl (oh you need a little bit of baking soda as well)



I had to find a bigger bowl. PROTIP: Make sure your bowl is big enough



Add a little bit of yogurt and ghee. The ghee is to make it non-sticky and the yogurt is what holds it together. If I was a hippie the yogurt would be akin to LOVE



It should be sticky and rolling your hand in there is a lot of fun. Don’t worry if it is sticking to the bowl, once you have rolled it enough let it be for ten minutes or so. It compacts (I think the baking soda does something to the dough) and all comes together.



It is a good idea to eat some Jalapeno flavoured Pringles while you wait for the dough to come together.




That is what the dough looks like. BTW this is very edible. I had quite a few fingerfulls of this which significantly impacted the yield of my gulab jamuns.


Once you’ve waited long enoguh (i.e. the chips are over) make the balls.


Nascent Gulab Jamuns. These balls don’t know that they are going to be stepping into the frying pan.


The final step: Frying the gulab jamuns. (Yes, I’m aware that this is the semi-final step).



Heat the oil. This is important. The temperature of the oil is vital. Too hot and the balls will become black too fast. I had my stove set on 2. Out of 10.



Drop the balls in. One-two-three at a time. The ball will sink down and then magically rise up.



The ball rises up. It is getting fried. Golden brown is the colour you want.




Let them fry. After this, I kind of stopped taking pictures because it is difficult to take pictures while balls are frying.



Once they become golden brown take them out of the frying pan and dump them into the syrup. Let the syrup simmer and let the balls absorb the sugar.



Garnish and eat!