Gulab Jamun (Indian sweet)

Gulab Jamuns are popular Indian sweets, very easily available in every corner of the country, but rarely made at home. My American son at 5 once asked me if I could make him some “rose berries”, a direct translation of gulab jamun. I had said, no, and that I would buy it from the store. That was in USA; in Sweden, I haven’t found the sweet anywhere close to me. I explained to C that it’s quite impossible to make it at home, and I miss eating it. He took it up, of course, as a challenge to make it from scratch. And here one fine day, I had somebody asking me if the “khoya” was okay (condensed milk till it solidifies, used for sweets)! I had never made khoya at home in my life. This was a treat and an exciting journey to see him make gulab jamun to perfection at home. They were delicious, with rose water and pistachios, just like the ones in India.


  • 2 qt Whole milk
  • 1/2 cup All-pupose flour
  • 1/4 tsp Baking powder
  • Milk
  • Pistachios, to garnish
  • 1.75 cup Granulated sugar
  • 1 cup Water
  • Some Green cardamon pods
  • Pinch of Saffron
  • 1.5 tsp Lime or lemon juice
  • 1 tsp rose water

Making the Khoya

Now is the time to bring out the pan and your patience, because this will take time. Pour the milk into a pan, preferably non stick and gently start to simmer the milk. The mission is to boil away everything, yes almost all the liquid and turn the milk into a solid dough. The thicker it gets the more you need to stir. When done, you can shred the khoya so it will be easier to mix with the flour. This stage can be done in advance.

Making the Gulab Jamun

Mix the flour and baking powder and add the khoya. This should be mixed into a dough and you might need to add some milk of the consistency goes too dry. Make sure not to add a lot of milk and see what the dough consistency needs. This dough needs to be smooth without air-cracks in them. Make small rounded doughs in your palm and keep aside. Again, make sure the small balls for frying are smooth.

Making sugar syrup for Gulab Jamun

Mix sugar and water and put on boil for few minutes. Before it boils, add cardamom, saffron, hint of lemon juice for acidity and rose water. Boil for 4-5 minutes. Your syrup is ready.

Frying the Gulab Jamun

Heat oil in a vessel to medium. We checked to see if the oil is ready by dropping a small piece of dough into it. If the dough rises slowly with bubbles then the oil is ready for frying. Also, at this point, make sure the syrup is warm for dipping immediately after frying the gulab jamun. In the heated oil, fry the small rounded doughs in a batch of 4, so there is enough space for them. Take out when they are golden and immediately dunk them into the hot syrup. After everything is fried and submerged into syrup, store in a cool place. It can be refrigerated for later use also.

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