Nutty Gulab Jamun (sweet dumplings in syrup)

  • Yield : 40
  • Servings : 10
  • Prep Time : 60m
  • Cook Time : 20m
  • Ready In : 1:20 h


  • Ingredients for dough:
  • 300g milk powder
  • 100g Self Raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of  soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground almonds
  • 1 tablespoon – ground pistachio nuts
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 dessertspoons melted butter
  • 5 dessertspoons plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup or less milk
  • Sugar Syrup:
  • 500g sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • whole spices to infuse the syrup (optional)
  • 1 or 2 dessertspoon strawberry essence
  • Oil for deep frying


In a bowl mix all of the dough ingredients but being careful not to add all the milk at once. The dough needs to be the consistency that you can shape into a ball without it being sticky to handle. Start with half the milk then feel a small part of the dough and check by rolling it into a ball and if it breaks apart then extra milk is needed to bind it together. The best dough will be the one that doesn’t crack, break or crumble when you roll it in the palm of your hand. Once you have determined that the dough is the right consistency then start rolling it into little balls weighing roughly 15g each. This recipe quantity should make approximately 40 balls.  The balls will expand a little when being deep fried and even more so when it soaks up the sweet syrup in the final process.

When all the balls are ready for frying you could either let them rest in the fridge or simply have a deep pan of good quality oil ready for deep frying. The oil temperature for frying needs to be on a medium to low heat because any hot temperature will burn the mixture making them black without even cooking them inside. Test a small ball to see how it comes out before starting on the others. Each batch should take roughly 3 minutes to cook and the colour should be a deep golden brown to light brown but no darker.  Once a batch of balls are cooked scoop them out with a draining spoon and place them into a colander lined with a paper towel in order to drain any surplus oil.

In another pan boil the water and sugar then simmer for 5 minutes, boil with spices of your choice if preferred. When ready let the mixture cool slightly then arrange the cooked gulab jamun balls in a serving dish. Remove all of the used spices if you used any and then add the flavour essence, mix well then pour the syrup over the gulab jamun balls and let them absorb the syrup for at least 2 hours or overnight. If you like serve the gulab jamun with a sprinkling of ground pistachios or ground spices.

Variations and My Story

Traditionally Gulab Jamun are a Northern Indian dessert. The introduction to this sweet comes from my father’s heritage. I felt it was fitting for me to make this dessert on Father’s Day celebration to honour him. Plus my Stephen has such a sweet tooth that he couldn’t wait to try it when he heard that I was going to make it. This however is my ‘fusion version’ of adding a few things to the Gulab Jamun balls that are not necessarily in a traditional version. The name Gulab means ‘Rose’, as in the flower rose hence the rosewater, and traditionally cardamom and cinnamon would be used too. I liked the idea of using strawberry essence instead of rosewater in my sugar syrup.  I hope my father would be proud that I have combined the East with the West to also celebrate my family’s own mixture of cultures.

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