Gulab Jamun is a popular Indian sweetmeat, it’s sweet and deep-fried so I guess you should save the recipe for special occasions. The Gulab Jamuns we make in South Africa are slightly different to the ones made in India, ours is not soaked in syrup, it’s dipped in for a few seconds and removed. The traditional Indian Gulab Jamun also uses powdered milk but in South Africa I haven’t seen many recipes with this ingredient, I’ve added some in my recipe but it’s totally optional. I roll them into coconut after dipping them in the syrup but that’s a matter of personal preference, I simply love anything with coconut, I am a coconut fan…you can tell I’m Indian.
Indian sweetmeats are delicious but I feel that some of them are way too sweet, it’s something I cannot get used to. You will find that I reduce my sugar content in almost all my recipes, the sweetmeat can still taste delicious without being overly sweet. I also haven’t had any disastrous recipes due to the low sugar content, my recipes have worked well so far.
Gulab Jamun is a pretty easy sweetmeat to make, in fact for me it’s one of the easiest and I enjoy making them, it’s almost therapeutic. Some may find it difficult to get the shape perfect but it’s very simple, you roll a piece of dough into a ball and then just roll it in the palms of your hand and you will get that perfect oval finger shape. Your dough should be soft and slightly sticky to the touch. If your dough is too dry it will also be difficult to shape the Gulab Jamun. It is normal to have a few cracks when fried. Your oil needs to be on medium heat as the Gulab Jamun needs to cook well on the inside, if it browns too soon it will not be cooked on the inside. For the sugar syrup, I usually reduce mine until it’s slight sticky and syrupy, I keep the syrup warm on the lowest setting, this prevents the syrup from crystallizing. You can also make the Gulab Jamun whatever size your prefer but smaller is better.
- 1 can/385g condensed milk
- 7 tbsp butter ghee melted (ghee should measure 7 tablespoon after it's melted)
- 1/2 cup/125ml milk
- 1 tspn cardamom/elachie ground
- 1/2 tspn nutmeg ground
- 1/2 cup/125ml powdered milk I used Klim (totally optional)
- +-2 cups/500ml self-raising flour See Note 3
- vegetable oil for frying
- desssicated coconut for rolling after dipping in syrup
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 tspn rose essence you can add more, see Note 1
- 1/2 tspn cardamom/elachie you can add more, see Note 2
- For the syrup, add the sugar, water, elachie and rose essence to a saucepan and bring to the boil until it's slightly sticky and syrupy. Reduce heat to the lowest setting and keep syrup warm
- In a large dish, add the condensed milk, melted ghee, milk, nutmeg and elachie. Mix it well. Add the powdered milk and a little flour at a time until you form a soft dough, not sticky and not too dry, you must be able to roll it into shape easily.
- Heat oil on medium heat
- Divide dough into little balls and then roll in the palm of your hands to form an oval finger shape
- Fry the Gulab Jamuns in the oil, use a slotted spoon to drain all the oil before removing. Dip in the syrup for a few seconds and roll into the coconut
- Place on parchment paper until it cools down and then store in an airtight container
- You can add more rose essence if you prefer. I have noticed that some brands of rose essence is much more intense than others so depending on which one you use you can adjust the quantity
- If you want a stronger cardamom flavour you can add more cardamom to your syrup
- Altitude and the weather plays an important role in the amount of flour you require. I used an extra 1/2 cup of flour. Please adjust accordingly but do add a little at a time or you may end up with a dry dough
- The dough dries fairly quickly so if you cannot work fast please cover it with a damp kitchen towel. Your dough should be a little sticky to the touch