Gulab Jamuns: Trial #1

I enjoy most Indian sweets.  Especially kala jumuns!  …but to make a proper kala jumun–blackened gulab jamuns–I have to first figure out how to make a basic gulab jamun.

Gulab jamuns could be described as lightly spiced donut holes which have been soaked in a fragrant, sweet sugar syrup.   They’re quite good, and can be served hot or cold (I prefer them hot).  Their name literally means “rose-flavored plum,” and they’re probably the most well-known of all Indian sweets (in America, at least!).

Apparently there are many ways to make a decent gulab jamun.  You can use khoya (thickened milk), milk powder, or even bread.

I did some searching online and decided to try making my sweets using milk powder.  I already had the powder and had no idea how to make khoya, so it seemed like the best option.  …I might have to learn to make khoya though.

I used THIS recipe–which was incredibly easy!

gulab jamuns waiting to be fried…

The results were okay.  Not perfect, but they were edible.  The outside of the gulab jamuns were deceiving—they look so nice, so tempting.

The problem was the inside.  I’m pretty sure 2 tsp. sooji (cream of wheat) was too much.  It made the sweets a little crumbly, and the texture was off.  They definitely weren’t like the sweets I enjoyed so much in India.

I also didn’t really like the sugar syrup.  I think the proportions were a bit off, but that’s easy enough to fix next time.  And there will be a next time.

I’ll have to ask maa and baba if they have any tips.  I’m sure they can help me make these perfect!

I love the taste of rose, so I decided to float a few petals–along with pistachios–in the syrup.

If you make gulab jamuns….what is the method you use?  

On a completely unrelated topic, I must show you my niece!  Her birthday was yesterday, and she’s now 2 years old; although she’ll tell you she’s 8.

She is so funny and loves a lot of Indian things—such as bangles, biscuits and bindis (the decoration or dot worn on the forehead between the eyebrows).  She really loves bindis!

I think it’s so cool that she knows what they are, what they’re called, and where they belong.  She sometimes throws little tantrums, crying “where my bindi go?,” and you can’t even trick her by giving her a sticker.  It must be a proper bindi.


Notice the giant clip-on earrings?  This girl is a diva!

Piyush and I are babysitting her on Sunday, I’m sure it’ll be entertaining!


22 thoughts on “Gulab Jamuns: Trial #1

    1. Shari Post author

      you should! just don’t try this recipe…yet! I’ll be sure to try again soon and hopefully the recipe will be as tasty as I remember!

  1. Kiki

    These look both delicious and beautiful! Love the new background, too (I hope it’s new – otherwise I just never noticed it before, which would be weird…).

    1. Shari Post author

      Thank you!
      haha, yes, the background is new. I thought my site needed a little pizzazz or something! It’s part of a photo I took in India.

  2. Mei-i @ gastronomic nomad

    Gulab jamuns are my FAVORITE Indian dessert followed by kulfi. I’ve always wanted to make them, but have been petrified. I’m looking forward to a successful trial#2! Maybe it was the use of the milk powder that made it crumbly? And like your niece, I love how pretty I feel wearing a bindi. 🙂

  3. James

    hello there, may i be of help, if you please
    i am from India and have eaten enough of gulab jamuns all my life
    i havent made it myself, but know how to and its very simple
    all you need is khoya (you can make khoya at home, by reducing milk to a thick semi solid consistency) never use milk powder you will never get the result you desire
    gulab jamuns were invented by the mughals, and it’s a rich dish signature to that era
    essentially you have to take khoya and knead it into a dough, you may add a little flour if it gets too sticky.
    then make small portions and place a mixture of crushed pistashios, gulkand (rose petal jam) and rosewater (a coarse paste) in the middle (like a filling) and make a ball out of it
    let it stand for a while and then deep fry it in a flavourless oil
    take it out let it cool and then drop it in sugar syrup which should be roughly 2 parts water and 1 part sugar, you may add some rosewater to this mixture
    let the sugar syrup seep into the jamuns and voila

    1. Shari Post author

      Thank you for all the advice! It’s very, very similar to what maa and baba told me when we rang them.

      I love the idea of stuffing the gulab jamuns! I’ll be trying that ASAP! 🙂

      1. Jimmy Cornelious

        It’s so adorable how you call your in-laws maa and baba 🙂
        (although that is a very maharashtrian way of speaking)
        I am making a big batch of Karela Pickle (bitter gourd pickle)
        will share the recipe with you when i am done and am happy with the results 🙂
        keep cooking

      2. Shari Post author

        I’m glad you think it’s adorable! …although Piyush is Bengali, he was raised in Pune–so it makes sense that it’d be more maharashtrian (although, I didn’t know that!).

        That’d be awesome if you’d share the recipe. I was just thinking that I should make pickle one of these days. I had a lemon pickle in Kolkata that blew my mind. If only I could replicate that…

        I’ve never tried bitter gourd yet, so it’d be quite interesting!

  4. James

    Also, what’s with the Indian obsession? are you married/dating an Indian? (just curious)
    PS: If you want i can share some traditional and authentic recipes with you 🙂

    1. Shari Post author

      haha…I am quite obsessed! …and yes, I’m married to an Indian. He’s a Bengali who was raised in Mumbai. I’m always looking for awesome recipes and ideas, I’d love to check out some of yours! Email me 🙂 myfancypantry (at) gmail (dot) com

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