Gulab jamun is an Indian dessert – think fried donut balls soaked in sweet, sugary syrup. The dough balls have a soft texture and don’t fall apart when soaked in the liquid.
The thought of frying dough balls on the stove while the temperature inside the house was 84 degrees didn’t sound very appealing to me. But after watching a video from Titli’s Busy Kitchen, where Titli served Gulab Jamun with ice cream on a breezy balcony, I was sold. (Nevermind that we didn’t have ice cream or a breezy balcony!)
I agreed to do the frying if she did the rest.
We checked out Manjula’s Kitchen for a second opinion, jotted down a few notes and set to work.
The final recipe ended up combining a little of both recipes (Titli’s has metric measurements if you need those).
Start by combining the ingredients for the syrup and cooking over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. The syrup can then be reduced to a low heat while you prepare the dough. (The syrup needs to stay watery, so there’s no need to thicken or reduce it using a higher heat).
This would also be a good time to start heating the oil slowly in a separate pan.
Mix the dry ingredients and butter in a bowl and mix.
Add the milk to the dry ingredients.
Mix the dough, then let it rest for about 5 minutes before rolling into balls about 1 inch in diameter.
When the balls are ready to fry, add a few to the oil at at time.
If the dough balls start to expand or spread at the edges (like the larger ones here), the oil is too hot. Try reducing the heat a little before adding more.
Make sure to rotate the balls as the fry so they brown evenly all around.
Fry the dough balls until golden brown, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate with paper towels. Allow the dough balls to cool before adding the syrup.
With the dough balls slightly cooled but the syrup still warm, drizzle it carefully over the balls. Adding syrup that’s too cool might cause the balls to collapse.
Add some sliced almonds or pistachios to the top to garnish.
Let the gulab jamun sit before serving so the dough balls can soak up the syrup and become soft.
Serve warm with extra syrup.
Gulab Jamun Recipe
1 cup milk powder (also called powdered milk in US stores. A smooth, fine texture is preferred, so we used a coffee grinder for ours)
1/4 cup flour
3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/4 cup milk, room temperature
pinch of baking soda
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup water
4 threads of saffron
4 cardamom seeds, ground (we threw them in whole and took them out later, but ground seeds or powdered cardamom would give more flavor)
1 teaspoon rose water
Oil for frying
Sliced almonds or pistachios for garnish