Gulab Jamun Recipe
Updated: Sep 20
Make super soft, spongy Gulab Jamuns at home without any khoya / mawa or any instant pre-mix. This delicious Gulab Jamun recipe is really easy to make and uses milk powder as the main ingredient.
This extremely popular Indian sweet can be made for any special occasions, parties or festivals like Dussehra, Diwali, Raksha Bandhan, Holi, or whenever you fancy a treat.
The perfect Gulab Jamun recipe with no instant premix in the video below includes step-by-step instructions to make melt-in-the-mouth Gulab Jamuns.
Quick, easy to follow video of How to make Gulab Jamun with Milk Powder:
If you want perfect, super-soft Gulab Jamuns there are a few things that you need to keep in mind as mentioned below:
Sugar syrup with right consistency
The key to getting soft, juicy Gulab Jamuns is the sugar syrup that has right consistency. If the sugar syrup is too thick, the Gulab Jamun balls will find it difficult to absorb the syrup and so will stay dry and hard from within!
So, after sugar syrup starts boiling check it, it should feel STICKY like OIL but should still have a WATERY consistency.
Remove sugar syrup from heat immediately at this stage. DO NOT make a thick sugar syrup with 1 or 2 strings consistency; this will surely make Gulab Jamun balls dense and dry.
Also, while making sugar syrup, I will suggest you to use a large wide pan or kadai so that you can let fried Gulab Jamun balls to soak in this pan/kadai itself and they will have enough room to expand.
Gulab Jamun recipe with just a few ingredients
This Gulab Jamun recipe doesn’t need any pre-mix nor does it need any mawa / khoya. So, if you live in a place where fresh mawa/khoya is not easily available, this Homemade Gulab Jamun recipe is perfect for you. It only uses just a few ingredients normally available in your kitchen pantry to give you delicious, melt-in-the-mouth Gulab Jamuns.
Milk Powder – It replaces mawa / khoya in this recipe. Make sure you are using Full Cream Whole Milk Powder.
Maida / Plain Flour – It helps to bind all the ingredients together. But do not use too much of maida/plain flour as it will make Gulab Jamoon hard, doughy and you might be able to taste maida/plain flour in Gulab Jamun balls. If you follow the measurements mentioned in the recipe you won’t have any problems.
Baking Powder – It makes Gulab Jamun balls light and fluffy (DO NOT use Baking Soda).
Semolina / Rava / Suji – Just a little semolina / rava adds a nice granular texture to Gulab Jamuns. Again, it should be added only in small quantity. But be certain that you are only using FINE semolina / suji.
Ghee / Clarified Butter – As these Gulab Jamuns are made from milk powder, ghee provides extra fat to the recipe. Incorporate ghee well into the ingredients before continuing to make the dough.
Milk – It is used to form the dough. You can use water, but milk makes these milk powder Gulab Jamuns richer. Add room temperature milk, LITTLE at a time to form a soft and smooth dough. This dough can quickly become very sticky if too much milk is added, so only add very little milk at a time with a small spoon.
Rose Water, Saffron / Kesar, Green Cardamom / Elaichi Powder – All these ingredients add a really nice flavour to Gulab Jamuns. You can omit adding these if you don’t like them, but I will say don’t refrain from adding rose water as Gulab Jamuns won’t feel the same if there is no Gulab/Rose flavour.
Lemon Juice – Along with adding some flavour to the sugar syrup, little bit of lemon juice also helps in balancing the sweetness of the syrup along with preventing sugar from crystalizing.
Smooth and Crack Free Gulab Jamuns
One of the most important things to making perfect Gulab Jamuns is having smooth, crack free balls; and you will only get these if you make a nice and soft dough. Not having smooth balls, will mean that Gulab Jamuns have a nasty web on the outside which really looks unpleasant.
After dividing the dough into equal parts, if you massage and roll each individual part well on a rolling board (as shown in the video), I am sure you will get a really smooth, crack free ball.
If, even after properly massaging and rolling, you are still not getting a smooth ball then it means that dough doesn’t have enough moisture. Add some more drops of milk and knead again till you are able to get a smooth ball.
Always COVER the balls/dough whilst you are rolling and frying rest of the balls to prevent them from drying and developing cracks. If any balls develop cracks before frying, break and roll them again before frying.
Make small sized balls as they expand and become more than double in size after frying and soaking. And very large Gulab Jamuns don’t look good and are more prone to breaking.
Frying Gulab Jamuns the right way
To get really nice Gulab Jamuns that have golden colour all over, there is a technique you need to follow while frying (as shown in the video).
You should fry on low setting ONLY and wait till oil turns medium hot. To check if oil has reached right temperature, drop a small dough ball in. It should rise up slowly and release small bubbles whilst rising. If it settles down and doesn’t rise for long, oil is cold, and if it rises up really quickly with lots of bubbles around it, the oil is very hot and needs to cool down.
Once the oil reaches right temperature, carefully stir it in circular motion with a small spoon and start adding balls, one at a time, making sure they don’t break with the spoon (as shown in the video). Stirring helps with balls getting fried evenly all over and they don’t settle to the bottom and stick.
Only fry few balls at a time so that they have room to expand. Fry till they turn golden brown all around.
Always fry on LOW heat setting only as these balls get fried very quickly and if the heat is high, they might become dark and burn rapidly from outside and stay raw from inside. High heat is the main reason why sometimes Gulab Jamuns have a raw, hard dough ball in the centre while outside is perfectly fine.
Right Temperature and Resting Time
Temperature is everything when it comes to absorbing the syrup. Balls should be immersed into the WARM syrup IMMEDIATELY after frying. If you allow the balls to cool down after frying or if syrup is not the right temperature, balls won’t soak up enough syrup and will remain dry and hard.
Syrup should neither be hot nor cold but WARM (around 50-55° C) when balls are immersed. How do you know if syrup is the right temperature if you don’t have a food thermometer; just dip your finger in, it shouldn’t feel very hot nor should it feel cold.
If syrup is too hot, balls will absorb too much syrup and will disintegrate and if the syrup is cold, balls won’t absorb much syrup and will stay dry and hard.
You can’t eat Gulab Jamun straight away, you need to wait for at least 2 hours so that the balls can absorb as much syrup as possible and become deliciously soft and juicy.
After you immerse fried balls in syrup you will see that initially they float in the syrup, and as time passes by, they start absorbing syrup, expanding and settling down.
Your super-soft, spongy and moist Gulab Jamuns will be ready to eat after 2 hours.
Gulab Jamuns are one of the best and most popular Indian Desserts / Sweets, definitely my favourite. They can be served on any special occasion and parties. And the best part is that you can make this Gulab Jamun recipe with milk powder way in advance before serving. If you are making for a large party, you can make them a day in advance, keep in refrigerator and warm up slightly just before serving.
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Step-by-step instructions with photos for Gulab Jamun Recipe:
• Heat sugar, water and saffron (Kesar) in a large pan on medium setting till sugar dissolves.
• To this add lemon juice, green cardamom (Elaichi) powder and rose water.
• Check the sugar syrup after it comes to a boil, it should be sticky and feel like oil but should still be watery. Switch off the heat.
• In a bowl add milk powder, plain flour (Maida), baking powder, semolina (Rava/Suji) and mix well.
• To this add melted clarified butter (Ghee) and incorporate it well into the milk powder.
• Now start adding milk, little at a time, and make a soft and smooth dough.
• Divide dough into 14 equal parts.
• Shape each part into a smooth, crack free ball by applying pressure and rolling it with your palm on a rolling board.
• Use 2-3 drops of milk to roll each ball if you feel the dough is dry, but make sure each ball is smooth and crack free.
• Heat oil in a pan on low setting till it is medium hot.
• With a small spoon carefully start stirring the oil in circular motion.
• Add balls, one at a time, whilst stirring the oil, making sure balls do not break with the spoon. Only add few balls at a time so that they have room to expand and get fried evenly from all over.
• Fry balls till golden brown whilst stirring constantly.
• Remove and immediately dip the balls in WARM sugar syrup. Syrup has to be WARM, not hot or cold but WARM.
• Let it rest for at least 2 hours during which Gulab Jamun will soak up the sugar syrup, expand and become soft.
• Delicious soft, smooth, melt-in-the mouth Gulab Jamuns are ready. Enjoy!
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