05 February 2006

Recipe : Gulab Jamun | Indian Sweets

Gulab Jamun. An Indian treat

gu·lab ja·mun
(plural gu·lab ja·muns)

Indian dessert: Deep-fried dough served in a sugar syrup flavored with rose water.

[ Hindi translation = [gulāb] ="rose water" + [ jāmun]= "fruit"]

Indian sweets are generally based on thickened milk (khoya) and rice flour ---" Chaval ka atta" (in Hindi) or "arisi mavu" (in Tamilamil) . This combo has many uses : Crispness can be obtained if added to deep fried vegetables .

Used as a thickener in South Indian cuisine --- dishes such as kolambu, gotsu and rasa vangi which are then served with plain rice. IA thick batter can be made with urad dal for dosas and idlis. In Northern Indian cuisine it is used mainly in a pudding
called phirni .

If your path takes you to East, Middle or West India --- it is the base of various pancakes, dumplings, fried snacks and sweets.

Rice flour is also used in painting 'kolam's' or alpanas, (mandalas)
attractive designs fused with flowers on the thresh hold of traditional homes..

OR chickpea flour. --- a.k.a
Gram flour, made from chickpeas (chana dal), is used as a binding agent for Koftas (meatballs or vegetable balls), or as a batter for fritters and as the base savory snacks like Dhokla (steamed dumplings), Bonda (spiced potato curry balls dipped in a batter of besan and deep fried), or Sev (fine, fried strands or sweets like ladoos.

Besan is used in many beauty related recipes : homemade masks , face scrub and toner,It is mainly mixed with malai (cream) and drops of rose water, or plain water.

Cardamom, almond, raisin, saffron, jaggery, rose-water and a hint of camphor are some of the commonly used flavorings used to scent Indian sweets. Bengali confections are favored all over India, especially sweets which use cottage cheese (paneer) or khoya as a base ingredient.

Popular sweets are Rasogullas and Gulab jamuns, these cottage cheese and khoya balls are soaked in scented sugar syrup. Favorite Indian delicacies include Jalebi (airy and light
'curlicues' of deep fried flour, soaked in syrup). Halwa (semolina pudding), Sohan halwa are very rich, chewy, nutty candies.
I discovered my love of all food Indian, through an old friend roommate. She had been heavily influenced by her father's stint in the South Pacific, adding his pastry chefs' flair and her mother's Asian roots , which acted as a gateway for the intermingling of Asian and Indian cuisines. She favored Vegetarian dishes best. So with the meeting of this friend and as our friendship flourished, I naturally developed a love affair with Dahl and curries .

This recipe was given to me from an an aging Indian woman who frequented our neighborhood. She was very happy to pass the legacy of her food filled past , however small , as she was saddened by the lack in interest from her grand-children.

Gulab Jamun

  • 4 oz. dried milk
  • 2 level tablespoons plain flour
  • pinch of bicarbonate of soda
  • 4-5 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 lb sugar
  • 2 cardamoms
  • rose water for flavoring
  • 8 oz vegetable fat for frying
Mix the dried milk, flour and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl. Add fresh milk to make a soft dough; make thin 2 in long rolls.

Heat the fat, then cool and put over a slow fire. Put as many of the rolls as the pan will hold comfortably. Cook over a very slow fire till the jamuns are pale gold and have doubled in size.

While the jamuns are frying - add the sugar and 1/2 pint of water in a sauce pan and make a thick syrup. Add the cardamoms, either coarsely ground or whole, to the syrup.

Drain the jamuns and add the syrup, let stand for 5 minutes over low heat, then take off of the fire - add 1 tablespoon of rosewater and cool.

This should make 2 dozen jamuns. Serve hot or cold.


You can learn more about Indian Confections here. There is also a wikipedia entry on Gulab Jamun . It is a small paragraph --- if you have info on the history of Gulab Jamune You you might want to contribute to building of the wikipedia page.



5:07 AM, November 30, 2009 Reply  

Delicious sweet recipe! I make this recipe at every festival as it is my favourite sweet dish. It is easy to make and is made in very short period. Thanks for this recipe site as I enjoyed it.

12:37 PM, April 06, 2010 Reply  

I love these! I never knew the name but I used to live upstairs from an Indian restaurant in NZ and they served them - I always thought of them as Indian doughnuts. Now I live in Austria and there aren't any good Indian restos nearby but thanks to you, I won't miss out, yay!

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