Gulab jamun recipe with milk powder – A classic Indian sweet or dessert that is very famous and is enjoyed in most festive and celebration meals. The word Gulab means rose and jamun meaning berry. Gulab jamun are berry sized balls dunked in rose flavored sugar syrup. Traditionally these are made using khoya i.e milk solids as the main ingredient. You can check this recipe of Khoya gulab jamun. But khoya is not available in most places and is very tedious to make at home.
This gulab jamun recipe is for those who do not have access to khoya and do not prefer to toil at home making it for hours. This Gulab jamun recipe uses milk powder and is good even for beginners to try.
Gulab jamuns are often made during festivals like Eid, holi, diwali & navratri. If you are making these for a special occasion, then I suggest you halve the recipe and try first. Once you get to know the trick of making the dough correctly then you can easily double or triple the recipe.
The key to this gulab jamun recipe is using curd/yogurt or unsalted butter. (butter churned from curd or one that has lactic cultures in it). If you are using packed butter from the stores then make sure you use one that has Lactic cultures in it otherwise the gulab jamun will not turn out light and soft. You will not get the taste of curd in the jamuns.
In this gulab jamun recipe, soda reacts with the yogurt or the lactic cultures in butter and then makes the dough light. So we get light and soft jamuns.
I highly suggest not to alter the recipe as it may not work. After several trial I got these right, just the way one would get in North Indian restaurants and sweet stalls. Soft, juicy, mouth melting and delicious.
Please note that this gulab jamun recipe may not work with low fat milk powder. I have used everyday regular milk powder from Nestle.
Gulab jamun recipe
Gulab jamun recipe | How to make gulab jamun recipe with milk powder
Soft gulab jamun are a popular classic Indian sweet made of milk solids and sugar. It is a festive delight and is made in most Indian homes.
Ingredients (240 ml cup used)
For making jamuns
- 1 cup milk powder
- ¼ cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour or maida
- 1 tsp ghee or oil
- 1 tbsp ghee or oil for greasing
- 1 tbsp milk
- 1 tbsp curd or yogurt (or 1 ½ tbsp butter (with lactic cultures or butter made from curd)
- 1 pinch Baking soda
- Ghee or oil for deep frying
- 1 tsp pistachios chopped
For sugar syrup
- 1 ¼ to 1 ½ cups Sugar
- 1 ½ cup water
- 4 green cardamom pods or ¼ tsp cardamom powder
- 1 tsp rose water
How to make the recipe
Preparation of sugar syrup
Mix together water, sugar and crushed cardamoms in a pot.
Boil the syrup until it turns slightly sticky. Turn off the stove before it goes to a 1 string consistency.
If it reaches a 1 string consistency, then add 2 tbsp of water and mix. Add rose water and mix. Set aside to keep it hot.
Making the balls
Mix together flour, milk powder and soda in a bowl. Either sieve it or mix uniformly.
Add ghee to it. Mix well.
Mix together yogurt and milk in a small bowl. Add 1.5 tbsp of this to the flour mixture.
Begin to bring the flour together to make a dough. If the dough is too dry, add little more milk & curd. Do not add a lot. Use only as needed.
The dough turns sticky. Grease your fingers and make a ball. The dough must not be soggy. It must hold the shape well.
Make 12 to 14 equal sized balls. Keep them covered.
How to make gulab jamun
Heat up the pan with ghee or oil on a medium heat.
Also check if the syrup is hot. If it is not hot, heat it up a bit. It must be hot and not very hot.
When the ghee is just medium hot, add the balls. Make sure the oil is not very hot else the gulab jamuns will brown without cooking well. To check the right temp, you can drop a small piece of dough in the oil. It must rise slowly without changing its color. If it rises rapidly then you will need to cool the oil a bit before frying.
Fry the balls on a medium flame until golden. Keep stirring gently to fry them uniformly.
Add them to the hot syrup. Allow them to rest for 3 hours and serve.
Garnish gulab jamuns with chopped pistachios.
The amount of milk & curd mentioned in the recipe card may or not be sufficient. It depends on the milk powder used.
If the dough turns dry, then use little more milk.
This recipe may not work with low fat milk powder.
Addition of even little more soda may disintegrate the jamuns while frying or while soaking in syrup.
Frying them on a very low flame with make them hard.
Making sugar syrup for gulab jamun recipe
1. Add 1.5 cups sugar and lightly crushed 4 green cardamoms to a pot. You can also use organic or turbinado sugar, the color of the syrup will be darker.
2. Pour 1.5 cups water.
3. Boil this until the syrup turns slightly sticky. To check this, dip your fore finger in the syrup and touch with your thumb. You should feel it is slightly sticky. It should not reach one string consistency. If you fail to make the syrup correctly, then the jamuns will not soak the syrup and turn soft. If you go past the sticky syrup stage, you will end up in a one string consistency. In that case, add little water and stir. Check again. Switch off. Add rose water.
Making dough for gulab jamun with milk powder
4. Measure 1 cup milk powder, ¼ cup + 2 tbsps all purpose flour or maida and then a pinch of soda. If you use more soda then the balls will break.
5. Then mix them up very well or sieve it. Make sure the mixture is uniform. Add 1 tsp of ghee. Skip this if you are using butter.
6. Next mix well everything.
7. Take 1 tbsp of yogurt or 1.5 tbsp softened butter and 1 tbsp of milk. Mix both together. If using butter whisk it with a fork lightly.
8. Add 1.5 tbsp of this to the flour. Begin to mix. If required use up the rest half tbsp yogurt milk mixture. I used up full 2 tbsp of it. Do not knead the dough. If using butter, you may need 1 tsp more of milk. If the dough is too dry use little more milk.
9. The dough turns slightly sticky and refuses to leave the fingers. Grease your fingers and make a stiff dough. This should be the right consistency of the dough. If by chance it turns sticky sprinkle another tsp of plain flour. This is just to fix and does alter the texture.
10. Divide the dough to 12 to 14 equal portions and make balls. Do not knead or press the balls. Be gentle in handling the dough. Check your syrup if it is still hot. If not, heat it up once more. The syrup must be hot and not very hot. When you dip your finger, you must feel it is hot. But not very hot that you cannot tolerate the heat. Leave it on the stove.
How to make gulab jamun recipe
11. Pour ghee or oil to a hot pan. I prefer ghee to oil since ghee has a better smoke point than oil and can be reused.
12. Ghee or oil must be just medium hot and not very hot. Else the gulab jamun will brown without cooking inside. To check the correct temperature, add a small piece of the dough to the oil. The ball must rise slowly without changing its color much. This is the right temperature. If the ball rises fast, then it means the temperate is a bit high. Then take off from the stove for a while.
13. Add the balls gently and fry them. I added all of them at one time. But be sure not to crowd them. While frying they will increase in size, so provide them enough space in the pan.
14. Keep stirring gently to fry them evenly. Since I used a flat pan, I tilted my pan slightly and fried to give them a even color.
15. When they turn golden, take them off the pan using a deep fry skimmer or a strainer. Drain them very well.
16. Add them directly to the hot sugar syrup. Do not dunk them with oil dripping. The sugar syrup must be hot, not very hot or steaming hot.
Garnish with chopped pistachios and serve after 3 hours.
Pic of soft gulab jamun after 5 hours of soaking.