At one of the dinner gatherings at Adnan Bhai’s house, the dessert afte the main course was gulab jamun. Those unfamiliar with this mouth-watering South Asian sweet, allow me to introduce you. Gulab Jamun is a ball of deep-fried milk-solids and boiled in a sugar syrup. Gulab means “rose” in Urdu, and jamun is a type of purple, grape-looking fruit (known as Java Plum in English). The dessert gets its name form its rose-like smell and taste, and jamun-like shape.
Below you will find a recipe that I have taken from Madiha Bhabi. Disclaimer: there are many ways to gulab jamun and as such, you’ll find many YouTube videos and recipes out on the net. However, this is the easiest and most delicious one in my biased opinion. Before trying this at home, one should note that gulab jamun can sometimes take a few practices before they turn out “perfect.” I know this from first-hand experience, unfortunately; two weeks ago, my gulab jamun were a complete mess…they broke apart as soon as I deep-fried them. A big part of this failure is because I used coffee creamer in place of milk powder which I could not find in the local market—but I have found the correct milk powder now! Anyhow, without further adieu, here is the recipe!
Gulab Jamun Recipe
Makes 20 gulab jamun
½ cup milk
¼ cup butter
2 tbsp semolina (suji)
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 heaping mug of milk powder
2 cups sugar
A pinch of baking soda
A pinch of ground nutmeg
2-3 cups vegetable cooking oil (depending on size of frying pot)
Pistachios as a topping (optional)
- On low heat, create sugar syrup by pouring 2 cups sugar in 2 cups of water. Do not stir; let the sugar dissolve by itself.
- Warm the milk, butter, and milk powder in a pot. Be sure to stir consistently so that there are no lumps.
- Soften the semolina by letting it soak in warm water for 2 minutes. Add the semolina (drain if too much water) to the milk mixture on the heat.
- Let this milk/semolina batter cool down by spreading it on a platter or tray.
- Add 2 pinches of baking soda and 1 pinch of nutmeg to the spread batter. Mix well. Then add flour and knead well.
- In a separate bowl, beat the egg with a whisk or fork. Then add 2 tablespoons of egg to the dough. (This helps keep the gulab jamun together.)
- Once the dough is well mixed, make small round balls with your hand.
- Warm up the oil in a deep-frying pot. Be sure that the oil is not too hot! This is critical because you want your gulab jamun to cook well from the inside; cold oil will not cook it while hot oil will burn the outside but leave the inside raw. The correct way to tell if your oil is the right temperature is to put a very small tester piece of dough in the oil and see if it takes time to rise to the top—if it does, then the oil is perfect. If it rises too quickly, then lower the heat or add more oil to keep the temperature warm.
- Place the dough balls in the deep-frying pot of warm oil and stir slowly as the balls rise to the top.
- When the balls have turned a golden-brown color, take them out and place them in the sugar syrup which should be ready now.
- Once you have fried all the jamuns, turn off the heat from under the syrup and let the dessert cool down. You may add crushed pistachios on the top.
- Serve when slightly warm. Enjoy with family and friends!