South Asian Sweet Milk Fritters (Gulab Jamun)

Recipe from Feast: Food of the Islamic World by Anissa Helou

Possibly the best known of South Asian sweets, these round fritters are similar to ‘uwwamat (Lebanese/Syrian Round Fritters) or l’geimat (Saffron Fritters), but they are made very differently, having a base of milk solids rather than flour. As a result they absorb a lot more syrup, which results in a spongy rather than crisp fritter.


For The Syrup:

  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • 4 green cardamom pods, smashed
  • 1 teaspoon kewra (pandanus flour extract)

For The Fritters:

  • 80g skimmed milk powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons plain flour
  • ¾ teaspoon semolina
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Sea salt
  • 1 small organic egg
  • ½ teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 60ml organic whole milk
  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying

Serves 6 to 8


  • To make the syrup, put the sugar and 180ml water into a medium saucepan. Add the cardamom pods and bring to the boil over the medium heat. Bubble for about 5 minutes. Take off the heat and add the
  • To make the fritters, put the milk powder, plain flour, semolina, baking powder and a pinch of salt into a medium bowl and mix well. Add the egg, vegetable oil and milk and mix until you have a smooth dough. Leave the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Divide the dough into 16 equal portions and roll each into a ball the size of a walnut.
  • Pour 5cm vegetable oil into a large, deep frying pan and heat over medium heat until hot (if you drop a piece of bread into the oil, it should immediately bubble around the bread). Working in batches, drop as many balls into the pan as will fit comfortably and fry, stirring frequently, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until golden brown all over – because of the milk sugars, these colour quickly. Scoop out with a slotted spoon, place on a plate and leave to cool for a few minutes – if the fritters are too hot when you drop them into the sugar syrup they could lose their shape – then drop the fritters into the syrup. Leave them to soak up the syrup for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove with a slotted spoon to a shallow serving bowl. Serve soon, at room temperature.

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