Gulab Jamuns, those tiny brown dumplings made of flour, fried and simmered in rose-flavored sugar syrup, make for a perfect Indian treat after a hearty delicious meal. Every Indian loves Jamuns, and they are a very popular dessert in many Indian restaurants across the world. Though Gits (an Indian semi-homemade meal brand) makes it real easy to make your own Gulab Jamuns at home, if you are a stickler for do-it-from-scratch, or want to perfect the art of making soft Jamuns at home from scratch, then this recipe is for you. It is not as hard as you might think; with a few tricks up your sleeve, you’ll be sailing in the perfect Jamun heaven, way faster than you think!
This recipe and photo is courtesy of Chef in You. Be sure to check out a list of useful trips and some common mistakes to avoid while making Gulab Jamuns. Follow this recipe and you’ll be on your way to boast in front of your friends how you can make perfectly soft Jamuns at home, and that too, from scratch!
Gulab Jamun (Fried Dumplings Simmered in Sugar Syrup)
Khoya – 1-1/2 cups
Maida (all purpose flour) – 1 cup
Sugar – 3 cups
Water – 1 cup
Cooking/Baking Soda – 3 pinches ( 1 pinch would be 1/8th of tsp )
Cardamom – 4 pods ( I used 1/4 tsp cardamom powder )
Saffron – a few
Rose water/essence – 2-3 drops
For the Syrup
Combine sugar and water in a flat bottomed broad pan and simmer on a low heat until sugar dissolves.
Add cardamom powder, rose essence and saffron and keep the sugar syrup on v low heat. We want the syrup warm not hot. Make sure it is near to where you are deep frying Jamuns. You want to make it easy to drop the jamuns directly into the syrup.
For The Jamuns (Dumplings)
Heat oil on a medium flame. For that traditional rich taste, I used Ghee and oil 50-50 to deep fry.
Now mix the Khoya, all purpose flour (maida) and the cooking soda. Knead all of them together. You might need few tsp. of water to form a smooth dough. Add a tsp of water at a time until you reach the correct dough consistency.
Form small balls of this dough. Make sure they are less than say small limes. This is important since they will become large while deep frying and larger when soaked in syrup. Another important point to note is to shape smooth balls. No cracks should be visible since this will cause the jamuns to disintegrate while soaked in the syrup. To make a smooth dough, one simple technique would be to grease your palms, either with ghee or oil while making the balls. ( Water works too but it would cause the oil to splutter all over).
Fry 3-4 Jamuns at a time till golden brown over a low to medium flame, keeping oil temperature uniform. Oil should not smoke or be sizzling hot.
You will find the jamuns go down, then in about 10 seconds or so, they float up to the top. Thats your key that they are doing fine. Just wait till they are moderately brown, not dark brown or block!!
And then remove them from the oil and lay them on a a tissue paper till you remove all Jamuns from that batch. Then immediately drop them into the warm syrup on the side. The hot jamuns in the warm syrup helps them to soak the syrup well making them incredibly soft.
Repeat for the remaining dumplings. Drop all the fried jamuns in the syrup and let it soak for at least 1 -2 hours for them to soak the syrup. Also, if you find the sugar syrup thickening up after some time, just add 1 cup water to make it thinner.
Remember, the Jamuns should float in the sugar syrup, and not sink at the bottom.
Gulab Jamuns can be stored at room temperature for a week. Store them covered with a plastic wrap. They can be refrigerated for a longer time, but make sure to serve them warm, to enjoy the taste and texture!
Tips To Make Soft Gulab Jamuns:
1. If the jamuns are fried on high heat, then they will become hard on the inside though they may look perfect from outside and further more they may not cook completely inside. Heat the oil on high and then reduce to medium high. Make sure you drop only enough jamuns to maintain this heat throughout the cooking process.
2. Too much baking soda can cause the Jamuns to disintegrate in the oil and then in the syrup.
3. Dropping the jamuns immediately in the syrup, after they are taken out of the fryer, will help them retain their texture and softness.
4. While kneading the jamuns into smooth balls, if you find lots of wrinkles on the surface of the jamuns, then you know that your dough is too tight. Add a few tsp. of milk and knead the dough again until smooth.
5. If you find that sometimes your finished gulab jamuns are hard, then microwave them for a few seconds, which can help make the jamuns spongy.
6. be careful to apply gentle pressure, and grease your palms using oil or ghee while shaping your jamuns. too much pressure and making them firm can result in harder jamuns.