Gulab Jaman (Jambu)

The best way I can describe a Jambu is a soft delicate indian donut soaked in sweet syrup. It’s made from mainly milk powder and also known as Gulab Jamun in some areas, specially in restaurants. Growing up these were a dinner party staple, a nice soft and airy Jambu is just divine, but can take a little practice as my first attempt I fried in oil that was slightly too hot and they did have a tougher bite.

Jambs get the brownish colour because of the sugar content from the milk powder, as this gets fried the sugar element caramelises with gives it a dark colour. You can cook them longer to a dark brown almost blackish colour which are known as Kala Jambu, which means “Black Jambu”, the taste is slightly different, but they are definitely not burnt.

I made them nice and small, perfect for party sides, probably no bigger than a 10p piece. Traditionally they are served just in the syrup warm or cold, but I think that serving with whipped cream or ice cream is soo much better, makes it into more of that fusion indian concept I like.

Now in the next few weeks you will see a post of how I use these little gems in a delicious yummy cheesecake creations so keep an eye out for that coming your way soon. Now if you like something soft and delicious but not overly sweet, then try these Jambu balls without soaking in the syrup.

Now I feel like I need to tell you all about my totally failed vegan attempt, I tried to make it with coconut milk powder, well the fat from the powder just kept leaking out, so such an epic fail! Let just say not something I would recommend trying, however if you do come up with a Vegan alternative please do let me know!

Gulab Jaman (Jambu)

Gulab Jaman (Jambu) is a soft delicate indian donut soaked in sweet syrup
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Indian
Servings 30



  • 2 1/2 tbsp Fine Semolina
  • 200 ml Milk
  • 400 g Milk Powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Plain Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cardamom
  • 1 tbsp Ghee
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda


  • 500 ml Water
  • 300 g Sugar
  • 2-3 Whole Green Cardamoms
  • 1 Pinch Saffron
  • Optional Rose Water


  • Mix together the milk and semolina and allow to rest for about 5 minutes.
  • Add milk powder, flour and ground cinnamon to a bowl and mix together.
  • Add in the melted ghee and mix well, then slowly add in the milk semolina mixture.
  • Kneading with your hands or spoon, keep adding the milk mixture until a soft dough starts to form. Once a dough forms, allow to rest for 5 mins.
  • Boil water and add sugar, 2-3 green cardamom pods, saffron and optional rose water, and then simmer on a low heat.
  • Taking a small amount of dough, roll into a ball.
  • Roll out the remaining dough into small balls, these will expand while frying. 
  • Over medium/low heat vegetable oil, then drop in slowly a few of the jambu balls.
  • Stirring constantly, ensuring the balls are rolling around the pan, this ensures they cook evenly. 
  • This process my take awhile as cooking on low/medium heat and turn them a deep golden brown. 
  • Remove from the oil to set aside for about a minute, then drop into the syrup and allow to soak up the syrup.
  • Serve with a little syrup either cold or warm.
Keyword Jaman, Diwali

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