a mr. nate special: gulab jamun

Today’s recipe comes to you from the tall, dark and handsome Mr. Nate. But when I offered him the chance to be a star and make it big in the land of over-sharing by writing his own blog post, he (politely) declined.

So, as usual, I’ll take the reins on this one. Which, with a fresh batch of gulab jamun in my belly, I am more than happy to do.

Tell me: are you familiar with this awesome Indian treat? Pronounced (at least by me) like goo-lob ja-moon, you can find these sweet treats and the end of any Indian buffet. A fried dough ball, gulab jamun is usually soaked in a sugary syrup flavored with rosewater, cardamom and saffron. They are like tiny, round funnel cakes soaked in sweetness and awesome. And, unlike funnel cakes, you don’t have to worry about powdered sugar sprinkling your face and clothes. Phew.

I think my favorite thing about gulab jamun is that it is as wonderful the first day as it is five days later. Just nuke it in the microwave for 15 or so seconds, and you have the taste of a fresh-from-the-skillet dessert.

The recipe below is what Nate has scribbled on a sheet of scrap paper and taped to the refrigerator. I’m not sure where he found it or if it’s a “best of” of many gulab jamun recipes. I can tell you that it’s fool-proof (Nate likes straight-forward directions) and fantastic.

Gulab Jamun


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 cardamom pods, slightly crushed
  • 1 cup milk powder
  • 1/2 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • Milk, for binding
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Heat sugar, water and cardamom pods over medium heat until sugar is dissolved (about 5-10 minutes). Set aside.

Combine milk powder, flour, baking soda, and ground cardamom on a plate. Sprinkle butter over the mixture and mix in by hand, forming crumbles. Add just enough milk to make a medium-hard dough, then divide into 20 marble-sized balls.

Heat oil (at least 1 and 1/2″ deep) on high, then reduce to medium. A small amount of dough should rest at the bottom for a few second before rising to the top, otherwise it is too hot.

Add the balls to the oil, one by one, and gently stir the oil; avoid touching the balls with your spoon. After about 5 minutes, the balls will rise to the surface. Continue stirring until desired browning has occurred.

Let the balls soak in the sugar syrup for at least 30 minutes before serving.


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