I was thinking about what to post these past few months and I wasn’t able to decide until a few weeks ago when I posted the gulab jamuns on instagram. The response was so warm and soooo many of you asked for the recipe that it felt right to post it.
We do not need any introduction for Gulab Jamuns. They are the crown-less kings/queens of all the sweets combined. There is no one that I know who doesn’t like these gorgeous looking sweets from heaven. No celebration is complete without them. In the sub-continent and even found in the Caribbean, these are appreciated all over the world. I love gulab jamuns, piping hot, dripping with sheera, right from the karahi, there is no other feeling as amazing as that first bite of a Gulab Jamun.
Most of you know home made gulab jamuns are tricky to make. There are countless recipes available online. Your family probably has tens of recipe too and to find that one perfect recipe is hard. I have tried at least ten different recipes and found this one, which is a combination of a few to be the most perfect. For first timers there are a few important steps that you should know about. I feel that recipes fail to explain or highlight and we end up with something that is not gulab jamun. I’ll try to explain everything as best as I can. The thing you should focus on is the temperature of the oil. It might make or break your GJ.
This recipe has two parts, one is the sheera -the syrup and the second part is the actual gulab jamuns.
Sheera/Rose and cardamom syrup
- 475 gm (2¼ cups) caster sugar
- 750 ml (3 1/4 cup) water
- 10 cardamom pods
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 3 tsp rose water (optional)
- Turn the stove on medium high heat.
- In a large saucepan, add water and stir in sugar, cardamom, cinnamon sticks. Let the sugar dissolve. I feel that cinnamon to be a really strong flavor so I use only 1 stick.
- Once the sugar dissolves then bring it to a boil and cook until a slightly sticky syrup forms, About 8-10 minutes. Test between thumb and index finger – it should form a thread when stretched.
- Remove from heat, cool to room temperature, then stir in rosewater. I also do not like rose water so I usually skip this step. Try adding just 1 tsp first and see how you like the result, add more if you want but no more than 3 tsp.
- Keep this sugar syrup in a large enough bowl so that you can add the gulab jamuns directly to it later.
The Gulab Jamuns
- 260 gm (2 cups) full-cream milk powder
- 150 gm (1 cup) self-raising flour
- 90 gm (½ cup) fine semolina
- 300 ml thickened cream
- Vegetable oil, for frying.
- Combine dry ingredients in a bowl, add cream and stir to just combine.
- Turn out the dough onto a flat work surface, knead lightly to bring dough together. Don’t knead too much as we do not want gluten to form, just enough to form a ball. If you knead too much it will cause gluten to form. That will make the center of the balls dense and it won’t absorb any of the syrup. The dough should be smooth and very slightly sticky.
- Divide this mixture into 25 portions.
- Rub some oil on your hands and shape these portions into small balls. These will double in size when you fry them and also when you soak them in syrup so don’t make their size too big.
- Cover these with a kitchen towel.
- Heat oil in a wok to 170°C. This is a crucial step, the temperature of the oil needs to be just right. If you have a thermometer use it. If you don’t try throwing in a test gulab jamun. If the oil is too hot the ball will rise to the top quickly, brown super fast and not cook all the way through. If it doesn’t rise to the top then the oil is not hot enough.
- Once you think the temperature is perfect, carefully lower dumplings into oil in batches (be careful, hot oil will spit), then cook, gently shaking the wok so they brown evenly. You can also use a slotted spoon but it might break the gulab jamuns.
- Cook until golden and cooked through. It usually takes about 2-3 minutes.
- Every time you add a new batch of gulab jamuns make sure the temperature is right, if it cools down the gulab jamuns wont cook perfectly and absorb waay too much oil. So heat it up again untill it is just right.
- Remove with a slotted spoon, immerse in the container with the sugar syrup to soak for 1 hour, then serve.
I swear by this recipe. Every time we make it, it comes out perfect and everyone loves it. We like it just as they are, very basic: no garnishing. Serve as you prefer your gulab jamuns. Warm, room-temperature or cold, they taste just as delightful. These are a perfect thing to serve to your family on Eid and it will be a feather in your cap: that you are a gulab jamun pro.
Aa jao “Gulab jamun” tayyar hain!!