Golden Fritters in Saffron-Cardamom Syrup ~ Gulab Jamun

December 27, 2011
When I was growing up, one of my favorite after school surprises was coming home to my mom making gulab jamun.  As soon as I opened up the door, I could smell the amazing fragrance of saffron and cardamom boiling, and the fritters frying.  It was such a treat to have warm gulab jamun straight from the stove.

Making the Gulab Jamun

The name gulab jamun literally means “rosewater berries” as the syrup originally was made with rosewater.  Unfortunately, rosewater is not my favorite flavor, but fortunately, my mom always makes them with saffron and cardamom–two flavors I love–rather than the rosewater.  I bet these fritters could be versatilely made with almost any flavor you could dream up!

Gulab jamun are definitely an occasional treat for a special occasion as they are by no stretch of the imagination even remotely healthy for you!  They are small balls made of 2 parts evaporated milk powder to 1 part bisquick shallow fried in shortening.  After a quick drain, they are placed into a syrup made from sugar, water, saffron, and cardamom.  After soaking, they develop an incredible, soft, and slightly chewy texture similar to a sponge cake!  They are absolutely delicious, and I highly recommend making these at your next special occasion.

Gulab Jamun

Golden Fritters in Saffron-Cardamom Syrup ~ Gulab Jamun

From at

Prep: Cook: Yield: serves 8Total:

A classic Indian dessert of gulab jamun: deep fried golden fritters soaked in a saffron-cardamom syrup. They are surprisingly easy to make and are amazingly delicious.

You'll Need...

  • For the fritters:
  • 2 cups evaporated milk powder
  • 1 cup Bisquick
  • 1 tsp. melted vegetable shortening
  • 1 Tbsp to 1/2 cup very warm water
  • Enough shortening to fill a small frying pan with 1 and 1/2 inch when melted
  • For the syrup:
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground saffron
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. cardamom seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. powdered cardamom


  1. Combine all of the ingredients for the syrup into a large, flat pot.  Bring to a robust boil and then reduce to a simmer.
  2. While the syrup is coming up to a boil, begin making your fritters.  Combine the evaporated milk powder and Bisquick in a large bowl.  Add the melted shortening and begin to knead using your hands.  Begin adding the warm water, 1 tablespoon at a time, kneading after every addition.  Add water until it gets to the consistency of a slightly slack pie crust.
  3. Begin to roll the dough into balls.  In order to do this, take a small amount of dough and roll between your palms applying a good amount of pressure and rolling until the surface becomes smooth and soft.  This may take a while as the dough will seem really crumbly when you start rolling, but don't despair and keep rolling.  The balls should be about 1 inch in diameter, and you should end up with about 30-35 balls in total.
  4. Begin heating the shortening in a small frying pan, keep adding enough shortening until you have about an inch to an inch and a half of melted shortening in the pan.  Heat over medium-high heat until the shortening shimmers.  Turn off the heat from the simmering syrup.  Add about 10 balls into the oil, and shallow fry, turning frequently until golden brown in color.  Remove from the oil and allow to drain on a plate.  Add next 10 balls to the oil and repeat the process.  Before removing the batch of fritters, transfer the draining fritters to the syrup.  Repeat until all of the fritters are fried.  Allow to soak for at least 30 minutes.  Serve and enjoy!

Additional Notes

These can be refrigerated and served for up to 1 week.

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  • Reply Torviewtoronto December 27, 2011 at 2:44 am

    delicious looking gulab jamun

  • Reply gabriel December 27, 2011 at 6:18 am

    Hanukkah appropriate.

  • Reply Deeps @ Naughty Curry December 27, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    love that perfect golden colour.. i love gulab jamun, esp with vanilla ice cream! 🙂

  • Reply Kshama December 27, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Do you have any leftovers?

  • Reply Manju December 27, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    Superb looking Gulab Jamuns…My fav dessert item!!


  • Reply December 28, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    @Torviewtoronto: Thanks!

    @gabriel: I thought the exact same thing when I was making these!

    @Deeps: Ooh! Yum! I bet warm gulab jamun with vanilla ice cream would be fantastic!

    @Kshama Aunty: Unfortunately, I think they got polished off! But I'll make them again 🙂

    @Manju: Thanks! They are some of my favorite too!

  • Reply Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum December 30, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    Oh my gosh, I love these things. We order them at our favorite Indian restaurant and they are to die for.

  • Reply Sydney @ The Crepes of Wrath January 9, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    What I wouldn't do for one of these beautiful little gems!

  • Reply January 11, 2012 at 3:49 am

    @Lindsay: Now you can make them on your own! Trust me, they will be wayyyy better than the ones at your local restaurant

    @Sydney: Thanks! They are pretty simple, you should give them a try 🙂

  • Reply kankana January 12, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Drooling here Tanvi !! Seriously, nothing like gulab jamun . You made perfect jamuns like professionals. Good job 🙂

  • Reply Amrita Rawat January 19, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Yum! My friend from childhood always called these 'fried donut balls in syrup' 🙂

  • Reply Kulsum@JourneyKitchen January 28, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Gulab jamun brings similar memories to my mind too. I would dig into the syrup with my hands while the jamuns where soaking as I loved them warm. Mom ofcourse didn't approve of me doing it 🙂

  • Reply Divya @flavourfiesta February 12, 2012 at 3:36 am

    Yummm…I miss eating homemade gulab jamuns – wish you could send some :).

  • Reply February 12, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    @Kankana: Thanks so much! I really appreciate it. My mom helped me and she showed me some tricks and tips to make them look great!

    @Amrita: That seems like the perfect description 🙂

    @Kulsum: I definitely did the same thing when I was growing. My mom felt the same way too!

    @Divya: Haha, I wish they were more "mail-able"!

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