Gulaab Jambu – with coconut

My Mum’s Recipe
Gulaab Jambu - with coconutA couple of weeks ago in preparation for Eid I spent countless happy hours in the kitchen making tonnes of sweet indian delicacies, as well as other baked goodies.
First of all I have to explain the different forms of gulaab jambus that I grew up eating.  The first being the round glossy brown balls of spongy goodness that are soaked over night in syrup. My Grandmother, bless her soul, used to make the most perfect gulaab jambus this way.  Well needless to say, my attempt at making this version did not go so well.  Feeling slightly defeated, I decided to make the gulaab jambus I know best.  I would describe these as fried oval-shaped dumplings, dipped briefly in syrup and rolled in desiccated coconut. 

To make the syrup


1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water

Pour the sugar and water in a heavy based, deep saucepan and stir.

Place over medium heat and bring to a gentle simmer.
DO NOT go anywhere.
Every minute check the consistency of the syrup by testing a few drops of the cooled liquid between your fingers.
If it feels slightly slippery and a bit sticky, the syrup is ready for dipping.
Immediately take of heat and keep warm.

Gulaab Jambu - with coconut

To make the gulaab jambu


2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup semolina flour, (medium grain)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
Small pinch of saffron, optional
4 tbsp ghee, heaped
3/4 tin condensed milk
2 cups desiccated coconut

Sift the all purpose flour, semolina, baking powder and cardamom in a bowl.

Rub in the ghee till it’s distributed amongst the flour mixture.
Lastly add as much condensed milk needed to make a soft, but not sticky dough.
Shape into narrow ovals, about 2 inches long.
Fry batches of 6 dumplings, in medium hot oil till a golden brown.
They do take a good few minutes to brown, this gives them time to cook inside, so make sure the oil is not too hot.
Remove with a slotted spoon and immediately dip breifly into the warm syrup  before rolling in coconut.
Leave to cool in a clean and dry tray, then store in an airtight container.

When making the gulaab jambu, you might use a little less or a little more condensed milk.
I love using the leftover condensed milk to spread on hot buttered toast in the mornings.
Making the syrup can be a little tricky, be patient, it takes some practice.  If it gets crystalized in the making, just add a teaspoon of water and reheat it.
These are definitely a denser version of the round jambus my grandmother made.  Once I have perfected it I promise to post it. 
Gulaab Jambu - with coconut


It’s funny how many memories I have that revolve around food.  I guess food is the thing that connects me with people I meet.  Anyway, this is a sweet my mum made annually in celebration of Eid.  It’s been years since I’ve had my mum’s gulaab jambus but the ones I made taste as good as hers.
I, obviously, didn’t wait for them to cool down.  I immediately devoured a couple with a nice hot cup of chaa!  The gulaab jambu was crispy on the outside and warm, soft and crumbly on the inside.  Just Perfect! 

I can’t tell you how many I’ve eaten since Eid but, all I know is, I sure need a few more yoga sessions to trim my waistline…


3 thoughts on “Gulaab Jambu – with coconut

  1. Lovely – they look awesome! And I'm sure tasted so too – I also grew up with this kind, not the round fluffy balls – When referring them to non-desi people, we call them Indian Doughnuts :)Leftover condensed milk freezes beautifully – just empty it out from the can into a freezer safe container and freeze for your next recipe.


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