This sweet recipe is dedicated to Mrs. Bodh Mati Sharan (may she rest in peace). I know her by one name – Nani (maternal grandmother). She isn’t my actual Nani, she is the Nani of my two cousins Sheena and Shalina. I never got to meet either of my own grandmothers, so for me she was the closest thing to a grandmother that I’d known.
The entire family loved her cooking! My sister Poonam, was lucky enough to cook side by side with her to learn this Gulab Jamun recipe. My sister jokes that Nani didn’t measure anything so writing a recipe was not easy!
Right to Left: My Geeta Mami, Cousin Sheena,
My sister Poonam, Nani and Me (circa 1988)
I know that every time we make this recipe she is smiling somewhere. This is for the entire Singh family. My sister and I are so grateful to have this in our recipe book and I know you will too!
When my sister taught me the recipe of course they came out just perfect. When I tested it after that, the oil got too hot and I burned the second half of my batch. To be honest, I am the WORST at frying. I hate it, I avoid it, I just don’t fry anything in my house. Now that I am trying to learn many indo-fijian recipes, I have to get my frying act together.
First things first, I need to buy an oil thermometer. I know. I’ll add it to the thousand other things I want or need for recipe testing! If you’re an experienced home cook this won’t be an issue for you. Try to keep your heat on medium low (should stay around 350degrees if you do have a thermometer or deep fryer). If the oil gets too hot, the outside of the jamun will burn and the inside will stay gooey. You don’t want this. Other than the actual ACT of frying, this recipe was actually fairly easy for me to do all on my own.
My American friends have said it tastes like a SUPER sweet donut that they could only have one. A few minutes later they went back for a second. They can be addicting! Just watch! I’d love to know if you make it! Comment below.
Fiji Gulab Jamun
Gulab Jamuns are a staple Indian sweet. They are similar to Indian Rasgulla in taste, however they are cylindrical in shape and instead of being submerged in syrup they are lightly covered with a sugar syrup which slightly hardens the outside.
Combine the water, sugar and cardamom into a saucepan over medium to high heat. Continue to mix and bring to a boil. Boil for approximately 10 minutes. (see note)
To test to see if the syrup is a good sticky consistency, use the back end of a wooden spoon and dip it into the syrup. If the syrup sticks, it is ready. If you're using a candy thermometer it should reach 230 degrees. Turn off heat.
In a large bowl, combine condensed milk, nutmeg, ghee and baking powder together.
Slowly start adding the flour into the wet mixture. The dough should not be sticky, just a little tacky and soft. If you need more flour sprinkle a little on. Once all combined, let dough rest for up to 15 minutes.
Once the dough has rested take tablespoon size portions and roll into cylinder like shapes (long oval).
Once all are shaped you can begin to fry. Heat oil ( I used canola oil) on a medium low heat for 3-5 minutes. Fry only a few at a time so the pan does not get over crowded. Use a slotted spoon to turn the dough in the oil.
The dough should be a golden brown. Once golden remove with a slotted spoon from oil and place in the syrup saucepan without putting the slotted spoon into the syrup mixture.
Submerge the gulab jamun in the syrup mixture and using a clean spoon. Once covered in syrup, remove the gulab jamun and place in a parchment lined dish. Do not stack or they will stick together.
Once all gulab jamuns are complete, you can use the left over syrup and pour over the remaining gulab jamuns.
Store in an air-tight container for up to one week in the refrigerator.
- Flour Note - Most recipes you mix dry ingredients first and then portion out the condensed milk. The way that we learned this recipe was wet ingredients first then add in the flour little by little. It always works this way for me, however there have been times I didn't use the entire 1 and 1/3 cup everytime, but the majority. You really have to feel your dough out.
- Cardamom in the syrup mixture? This is my sisters Poonam's secret (not anymore) touch. She always adds a flare to any recipe that is not her own.