Gulab Jamun

It’s hard to pick a favourite cuisine. There’s so much amazing food offered from all corners of the globe. But Indian food is definitely one of them. Growing up, my family was very anti-Indian food. They were really anti-anything that wasn’t pasta, schnitzel or cooked on a BBQ. It wasn’t until I was out with Cam’s family celebrating a birthday that I tried it for the first time, and it was love at first bite. These days I cook a lot of it at home. I love learning about the different dishes from different regions and trying to recreate them. [And I’ll totally take up any suggestions you guys have for favourite Indian dishes to try at any time!]

Cam and I also often go out to Indian restaurants, looking for the most authentic-tasting food we can find. We have a few favourite places we find ourselves at. We’re never good at just ordering one curry, so we usually pick the banquet option and have a couple between us.

 Cakecrumbs' Gulab Jamun 00

The dessert options at every place appear to be the same two options: gulab jamun or one of a variety of kulfis. By the time we’ve made it through the curries (during which I’ve usually made Cam finish off my plate too) the thought of squeezing in anything that requires chewing feels completely beyond me. I always go for the kulfi. Cam, on the other hand, simply engages what he calls his ‘dessert’ stomach and goes for the gulab jamun.

Invariably, they always serve one. Invariably, he is always disappointed by this. And invariably, I’m always left wondering how he could stomach more than one.

Since he loves them so much and always wants more, it was more than enough of an excuse to try making them at home. I was also keen to find out what all the fuss was about myself.

The dish, as it turns out, is incredibly straight-forward. The first step involves make a sugar syrup using a couple of my favourite spices:

Cakecrumbs' Gulab Jamun 01

I was glad to discover making the dumpling itself involved milk powder. I bought the smallest tin of it I could find for another recipe and I still had multitudes sitting there with no use. Well I’ve definitely found how said tin will be spending its days now.

Cakecrumbs' Gulab Jamun 02

I’m lazy [read: I hate the rubbing method with the fire of 1000 suns] so I threw it all in a food processor. Much like making a shortcrust, you don’t want to develop any gluten, so not overworking the dough is key.

Cakecrumbs' Gulab Jamun 03

I gently pulsed it until the butter was just incorporated. Then I added just enough water to make the dough. I kept using my processor, because lazy. But if you don’t have one you can do this all by hand.

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Once the dough is ready, roll it into lil’ dumplings, then heat your oil.

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They take a couple of minutes to fry, and then they are done.

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Last of all, you’ll pop them in a deep dish and cover them with the sugar syrup. You wanna leave them for about half an hour to soak up the syrup.

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They can be served hot, warm or cold so they’re ready to go as soon as you’re ready for them.

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They tasted a lot like moister versions of cinnamon donut bites, only with that distinct flavour of cardamom and rose water through them. I can definitely see why Cam loves these little treats so much. These are definitely going on the To Make Again Soon list.

Cakecrumbs' Gulab Jamun 09

Gulab Jamun
Sugar Syrup

2 cups (440g/15.5oz) caster sugar

2 cups (500ml/17fl oz) water

1 cinnamon stick

12 cardamom pods

1/4tsp rosewater or rosewater essence


1 cup (120g/4.2oz) full cream milk powder

1/2 cup (75g/2.5oz) self-raising flour

25g (0.9oz) unsalted butter, chopped

1 tsp ground cardamom

1/4 tsp bicarb soda

1/3 cup (80ml/2.7fl oz) water

vegetable oil, for deep frying

Sugar Syrup

  1. Place the sugar, water and cinnamon stick into a heavy-based saucepan. Using the flat of a knife, bruise the cardamom pods so they split; add them to the pot.
  2. Stir mixture over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low; cook for 5 minutes, or until syrup has thickened.
  3. Stir in the rosewater


  1. Heat oil in a deep fryer or wok to 180°C (355°C).
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a food processor. Add the butter; gently pulse until butter is just combined and mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. [Alternatively, rub butter until the flour mixture using the tips of your fingers]
  3. Add about half the water and gently pulse [or mix if not using a food processor] until water is just combined. Keep adding the water a tablespoon at a time until the mixture forms a slightly sticky ball of dough. [You may not need to add all the water, or you may need to add more]
  4. Roll tablespoons of dough into balls and set aside.
  5. Reduce the heat of the fryer to medium-low (about 150°C/300°F)
  6. Fry the dumplings for about 2 minutes. Dumplings will be a deep golden colour when cooked. You can test if the insides are cooked by inserting a toothpick and seeing if it comes out clean. Be sure not to overload your fryer; fry them in batches if necessary.
  7. Once cooked, remove dumplings from the oil and drain them on a paper towel.
  8. Transfer dumplings to a deep dish; pour the sugar syrup over the dumplings. Allow them to sit for at least half an hour, then serve when ready.



12 thoughts on “Gulab Jamun

  1. These look very tasty. ^.^
    Although, if you are into Indian desserts, you might wanna try the ‘firni’. Its much like the panna cotta but so much better. Or even the Srikhand.

  2. That’s really neat!! I’ve always bought gulab jamun. The recipes I’ve seen have always seemed complicated (I do bake baba-au-rum without any problems so why not gulab jamun…).
    Do you have to stir while deep frying to get the even brown surface around (lest they turn out with a doughnut-ish ring)?

    • I didn’t have any problems getting the brownness even around them. You do have to flip them over once but otherwise they’re pretty good. They do bob around a bit by themselves.

    • I know I mentioned this to you in person but figured I would reply here as well for the benefit of anyone else requiring a dairy-free version: given that the only dairy in this recipe is the powdered milk I assume it would be very easy to make with a dairy-free milk powder such as powdered soy, almond or rice milk.

      I may try it next time we have a gathering, or if you try it meantime let us know!

  3. I was never a fan of gulab jamun until I tried home made ones – yours look delicious! Suggestion for another Indian dessert – ras mallai, it’s milky and gorgeous

  4. Seeing these again now makes me want them again very soon! These were so delicious and the size was much more appetite-friendly for me.

  5. Made this years ago, can’t believe I never commented! Just now came across the recipe again, but I’ve been talking about it ever since the first time I made it (it had to be 2015 or so). Don’t ever delete this one, I need it forever ❤

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