Gulab Jambu-Sweet Milkballs in Syrup

My Dear Komal, Anjli and Amar,

A dessert you all love but are unlikely to make,  what with all that frying! Also a little time consuming. But these squidgy sweet syrupy balls are a great addition to any spicy meal.

Gulab Jambu ગુલાબ જાંબુ

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Indian
Prep Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 day 40 minutes
Servings: 20 people
This recipe makes about 40 balls. Usual serving is 2 balls per person. They are best made one day in advance. Once the syrup is cool, store the jambus in the fridge. They can be served cold, or just slightly warmed up and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Print Recipe


Jambu Dough

  • half cup plain flour
  • 2 tbsp fine semolina
  • half tsp sodium bicarbonate powder Ensure it is fresh or from a sealed pouch.
  • 3 tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • 2 and half cup milk powder Available from most indian grocers
  • 1 and half cup water/milk mixture warm Usually half and half.
  • 1 litre Vegetable oil or a mixture of ghee and oil for frying jambus

For Syrup

  • 1 litre water
  • 500 g white sugar
  • few strands saffron
  • half tsp rose essence.


Jambu Dough

  • Mix plain flour, semolina and sodium bicarbonate together.
  • Rub in the ghee, to give a clumpy mixture.
  • Mix in thoroughly the cardamom and milk powder.
  • Pour in first ¾ of the liquid and mix to form the dough. It should be a little soft, if not then add more liquid.
  • Cover and keep aside for one hour. As the semolina soaks up the extra liquid, the dough will become a little more solid.

Making the Syrup

  • In a heavy but wide bottom pan stir together the sugar and water and heat up.
  • Once the water comes to boiling point, reduce the heat and let the syrup simmer, until it has reduced by about 30%. It should not be too thick and when a few drops are allowed to cool on a plate, the cooled liquid should feel sticky between the fingers. If the syrup has become too thick then add half cup warm water and simmer for a few minutes more.
  • Finally add the saffron and the rose essence and let it simmer for a further 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let syrup cool a little.

Making the Jambus

  • Knead the dough again. It should not stick to the fingers and you should feel the ghee on your palms while kneading.
  • Divide the dough into equal small balls of about 1” diameter. Roll each ball well between the palms to produce a smooth surfaced ball.
  • Heat up the oil.
  • Do a trial by putting one ball in the hot oil, stirring constantly and letting it cook until it is an even brown colour. Break open the cooked ball to check if the centre is cooked. It should look like a web without any uncooked lumps. If not, then fry the rest of the balls on a lower heat and for a little longer.
  • Fry 7-8 balls together, stirring constantly but lightly. This helps to produce thoroughly cooked balls of even brown colour. Due to the raising agent, they will almost double in size.
  • Once all the balls are fried, add them to the warm syrup. Ensure the syrup pan is large enough to let the balls sit in one layer. Lift the pan by the handles and just swirl the syrup over the jambus and then cover.
  • Leave the balls to soak in the syrup overnight.

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