Make this incredible and famous Indian dessert, Gulab Jamun! Soaked in a rose water syrup and sprinkled with crushed pistachio nuts, if you’ve got a sweet tooth, this dish is for you!
What is Gulab Jamun?
This sweet Indian dumpling is a milk solid based dessert originating from India. It is also popular in parts of Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.
Traditional recipes make Gulab Jamun using milk solids called Khoya or Mawa (here’s a recipe of how to make it from scratch!). However, Khoya isn’t widely available in other parts of the world, so a common substitute in order to make the recipe is milk powder. Gulab Jamun is served during celebrations and festivals throughout the year, making it a wonderful dish to eat with friends and family (or by yourself nom nom nom).
The Dumpling Recipe
More traditional recipes combine Khoya or Mawa, flour, baking powder and optionally some paneer (Indian cheese). However, because Khoya isn’t widely available in many parts of the world, the recipe has evolved into a more modern version that can be used in many of countries. Instead of using Khoya, milk powder is the new substitute.
The recipe is simple. Combine milk powder, flour, baking powder, ghee (or oil), and egg. Now, be careful not to over knead the dough! This will create a hard centre and you do not want that (no no). So, gently combine the dough ingredients until a ball has formed. Then you want to roll it into a thick cylinder and tear off small bits of dough (around 3-4cm in diameter). Using the palm of your hand, roll the bits of dough into little balls. Make sure there are no cracks in the balls of dough. The Gulab Jamun balls will double in size once you deep fry them and add them to the syrup!
Syrup is a simple sauce to make and has little flavour apart from tasting really really sweet. This dish is different. By adding just a couple of ingredients, the syrup is transformed!
You want to add water and sugar to a sauce pan and boil for 5 minutes. Then, add cardamom seeds and rose water. You could also add some saffron for an extra bit of flavour. Boil this for another 5 minutes and then turn off the heat. Leave the syrup to cool completely before you add the deep fried Gulab Jamun (if you don't wait, the dumplings will go in on themselves).
Cooking & Serving Gulab Jamun
Add a good amount of oil to a saucepan and put on low to medium heat. You want the oil to be very warm, but not hot. Place the dumplings into the oil and stir continuously. Cook them for around 3-5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the dumplings and add straight to the syrup (make sure the syrup is cool).
Soak the Gulab Jamun in the syrup for at least two hours. Then serve up with some crushed pistachios and enjoy!
Want More Dumpling Recipes?
Check Out My Dumpling World Tour Series
I've set myself a challenge to go around the world in 80 dumplings. Why? Because so many countries share a love for dumplings and every country’s dumplings have their own unique twist. From Varenyky in Ukraine to Banh Bot Loc in Vietnam, dumplings are a way for us to celebrate various cultures and culinary differences from all parts of the globe.
Not all my dumpling recipes are up on my website, yet! So, if you’d like to check them out, head on over to my Instagram for the video tutorial and full recipe!
Gulab Jamun (Sweet Indian Dumplings)
For The Dough
- 100g milk powder
- 1 tablespoon plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 tablespoon Ghee or oil
- 1 egg
- Oil as needed for deep frying
For The Syrup
- 250ml water
- 150g sugar
- 2 cardamom pods
- 2 tsp rose water (optional if you don't have it)
- 5 pistachios, crushed
For The Syrup
- In a saucepan, combine the water and sugar. Bring up to boil and then simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add in your cardamom and rose water. Stir and leave to simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Turn off the hob and leave to fully cool.
For The Dough
- Combine the milk powder, flour, and baking powder in a bowl. Then add the egg and ghee (or oil). Gently combine with your hands to form a dough. Add some warm milk if the dough is too dry. Make sure to not over knead the dough, because if you do, the centre of the balls will end up hard and you don't want that!
- Once a rough dough has formed, tear off small bits of dough (around 3-4cm in diameter). Place the piece of dough into the palm of your hand and gently roll into a perfect sphere. Make sure there are little to no cracks or breaks in the dough. You want the surface to be as smooth as possible.
- Repeat the previous step until the dough is used up.
- Pour your oil into a deep saucepan or wok. Place on a low to medium heat. You want your oil to be very warm but not very hot (you don't want to see a sizzle when you place the Gulab Jamun into the oil, you want them to cook slowly)
- Once the oil has reached the right temperature (you can tell by placing a chopstick into the oil. If bubbles slowly start to form around the chopstick, then the oil is ready), add in the Gulab Jamun. (Check out my video on Instagram if you're struggling).
- Stir continuously and cook for around 3-5 minutes or until the dumplings have grown in size and are golden brown.
- Remove the dumplings and add straight into the syrup mixture (make sure the syrup has cooled down).
- Place the lid on the saucepan and leave the Gulab Jamun for 2 hours to soak up the juices.
- Once the Gulab Jamun is ready, add a few dumplings into a bowl with some syrup and a sprinkle of pistachios. Enjoy!