Gulab Jamun Recipe – From Scratch

Dinner’s done. Kids are sated and thankfully (!) playing on their own. It will be their bedtime in a few minutes, and I heave a sigh of relief. I can only hope that there are no major interruptions while writing this post.

My husband and both my daughters love gulab jamuns. My husband has on numerous occasions told me about this place called Fatehabad. ‘Fatiabad’ as he pronounces it, is a railway station, I forget en route where. By the looks of it, it is pretty much a nondescript place but sells the most amazing piping hot and meltingly sweet gulab jamuns. I know that the best gulab jamuns are made from scratch. From mawa, that is. But it is not always possible to find good and quality mawa here. So until now I have been relying on the instant gulab jamun mixes available everywhere. They do give satisfactory results. But not the same as a freshly made gulab jamun. I found that out yesterday.

I thought it was going to be daunting, making mawa from milk. It wouldn’t have been, had I not had to do a lot many chores in between, running errands and picking up after two kids. I burnt the first batch of mawa in the process. Not one to waste anything, I added powdered sugar to the hardened khoya and turned it into kalakand. But that was not the final product I was after. I’d have settled for it, had I not told my husband in the morning that I was making gulab jamun from scratch. ūüė¶ Human ego, is a very pushy thing. I HAD to make these gulab jamuns. So I began with the second round of mawa making. Thankfully this time I got it right.

One more thing. You never quite get the dry mawa as it is available at most hawaii’s. It is moist, and if u try to dry it further, it turns into kalakand. So don’t fret if it still feels moist. Just follow my instructions.


1 litre milk (I used full fat buffalo milk)

3 tbsp maida (refined flour)

pinch of baking soda

1 and ¬Ĺ cups of sugar

water enough to cover the sugar and rise half an inch above it.

saffron strands/ cardamom powder (optional)

To make the mawa

Start by pouring the milk in a heavy kadhai.

Bring the milk to a rolling boil, then reduce the heat to a medium or even low if you have the time and patience.

Stir frequently. Keep scraping the sides of the kadhai. This is also mawa and you don’t want to waste it.

When it seems like you have been stirring forever, the milk will start to thicken. (You can stop at this point and add sugar and dry fruits to make Rabdi)

But since we are making gulab jamuns, we have to stir for another hour or so.

The milk will now have an off-white color. It will have thickened even more.

You still have to keep stirring, and on low heat, till the mixture is still moist but has begun leaving the sides of the pan. It looks like it has begun to come together.

Stop, right there.

This is your mawa.

To make the gulab jamuns

Make the sugar syrup first. Heat the sugar and water and boil them together till thick. Add saffron or cardamom powder. Keep aside.

Let the mawa cool to room temperature. By now it has thickened even more. Add the maida and baking soda and knead it well for ten minutes.

Now form small balls of the mixture and keep them covered.

Heat ghee (lots of it) in a kadhai. Trust  me, fattening they are, but gulab jamuns fried in ghee taste far far FAR superior to those fried in oil.

Fry the gulab jamuns in the ghee with the heat on low. Fry them till they turn golden.

Remove them, and quickly put them in the hot sugar syrup.

Garma garam gulab jamuns are now ready!

gulab jamuns


Happy Cooking!


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