Gulab Jamun (गुलाब जामुन) is the most popular and loved dessert in India. Best described as an Indian version of a donut immersed in a sweet syrup. It will be surprise if some one who is from Indian subcontinent and have not heard of Gulab Jamun. If you in India and planning a party, and you want to keep one dessert, very high probability you will choose gulab jamun.
Gulab Jamun or some may call it gulaab jamun is mithai (sweet) from indian subcontinent and is also called as gulabujaanu in Maldives, and gulab jam in Bangladesh. Origin of gulab jamun is bit uncertain, some theorists says it was first made in medieval age, others refer to era of shah jahan. Gulab refers to rose (probably due to rose syrup that was used) and Jamun signifies the black plum fruit found in Indian region. Whatever be the theory, all I can say is that these gulab jamuns taste scrumptious!
How is gulab jamun made?
Traditionally made from dried milk (khoya), where milk was evaporated by constant stirring to form a lump of dried milk, however these days to save time on making khoya/ mawa, one can use milk powder. Gulab jamuns made out of khoya is a winner any day.
How to make best gulab jamuns?
There are few things which needs to be looked into to get the best melt in mouth gulab jamuns.
Dough Preparation : You need to knead the dough to be soft and smooth. Adding little warm milk will give you best dough.
Making gulab jamun balls: You need to use soft hands to make the balls. Grease your palms a little with oil to get smooth surface. You should not leave any crack on the surface. If you see any crack, break the ball and make it again.
Frying of gulab jamuns: Key to remember is that the balls must be fried on medium low heat. Do not get tempted to quickly fry up on high heat. Medium to low heat will let the gulab jamun balls get fried to the core. You must also not crowd up your pan with balls, depending on the size of pan (use wide mouth pan), fry few balls at a time. This will allow for better frying and not running in the accident of breaking a ball, which can damage rest of the balls.
Making of sugar syrup: You need the syrup to be little sticky, not too watery nor too thick. Just the right consistency. If syrup gets thick, gulab jamuns will not absorb the syrup. Likewise if syrup is too runny, Gulab jamuns will break.
Adding gulab jamuns to the syrup: Gently add one ball at a time in the syrup. Add the gulab Jamuns in the warm syrup, but never in hot syrup. Hot syrup will lead to ruin the shape of the balls.
Gulab jamun is one such sweet that many people attempt to make, however there are few common concerns by many. Let’s look into those and address them.
my gulab jamuns are hard? what to do now?
Reasons can be: You fried on high heat, you did not use soft hand while making balls, or your dough was hard. Once the gulab jamuns are already made, little you can do now. May be you can leave such hard gulab jamuns in warm syrup for longer or can microwave on high heat for 2mins and that will lead the syrup to permeate deep inside the balls, softening them somewhat.
my gulab jamuns too soft?
Reasons: You added Gulab jamun balls in runny syrup
my gulab jamuns not cooked from inside?
One of the most common mistake this is. You fried the gulab jamun balls on high heat. Heat must be medium to low.
Gulab jamuns don’t feel like soaking syrup
The likely reason is that the syrup was too thick. Gulab Jamun syrup needs to be sticky, but not too thick. Note that the syrup will thicken when it cools down. Best approach will be to bring syrup to a boil and then let it settle. Another reason is gulab Jamuns won’t soak syrup if gulab jamuns are hard. Check what is the case with your gulab jamuns.
Below is the detailed step by step recipe of Gulab Jamun.
- 1 Cup Mava / Khoya Check details in the blog post on how to make khoya in case you do not have it readily available
- 1/3 Cup All Purpose Flour/ Maida
- 1/8 Teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1.5 Cup Sugar
- 1/4 Teaspoon Cardamom Powder
- Few Strands Saffron
- 2 Tablespoon Milk
- Oil For deep frying
- First of all, let’s prepare Sugar syrup for Gulab jamuns. Take a big wide Pan and add sugar into it. Now add 2 cups of water and put the pan on heat. Bring it to boil. Let it cook for 5 more minutes and switch off the flame.
- Now add saffron strands and cardamom powder to the syrup and stir. Keep this syrup aside.
- Now take khoya/Dried evaporated milk in a bowl and mash it very well so that there should be no lumps. Add All purpose flour/maida, baking powder to the mashed khoya and mix well.
- Add milk and gather together to form a soft dough. Don’t knead much, just gently mix and gather.
- Now divide the dough into equal parts, I got 15 from my dough. You can divide as per your choice for the size of balls. Now with the help of your palms, make smooth balls. You can add bit of oil on your palms to get that smooth texture to the gulab jamun balls.
- Take oil in a Pan / Kadhai, and keep it on medium heat. Once the oil is warm enough to fry the balls, maintain the heat to low. Now add 4-5 balls to the oil and fry them gently till they are golden brown. Remember not to increase the heat otherwise the balls would be brown from outside without being properly cooked from inside.
- Once the ball is fried to golden, take them out and immerse in warm sugar syrup. Fry rest of the balls and put them in syrup similarly. Let these gulab jamuns stay in syrup for 2-3 hours so that they can absorb syrup completely to the core of gulab jamun.
- Serve these gulab jamuns warm (or cold if that’s how you like it). Best served hot with vanilla ice-cream.
- Don’t over knead the khoya and flour mixture. Just mix them till they form a smooth dough.
- If the mixture is dry, add few teaspoon milk to soften it.
- Sugar Surup should not be thick otherwise the jamuns will not absorb the syrup properly. Similarly add the fried jamuns in warm syrup. Neither the syrup should be too hot nor cold.
- Whilst frying, fry in smaller batch, on medium heat. High heat will mean, cooked from outside but not inside.
- You can try the chocolate variant of Gulab Jamun, if you like chocolate flavour.