Gulab Jamun (Rose-Flavored Milk Balls in Syrup)

Makes about 20.


8 tablespoons full-cream milk powder
3 tablespoons self-raising flour
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon soft butter or ghee
approximately 3 tablespoons water
ghee or oil for frying

2 cups white sugar
4 cups water
5 bruised cardamom pods
2 tablespoons rose water or few drops
rose essence


Sift milk powder, flour, bicarbonate of soda and cardamom into a large bowl. Rub in butter or ghee, then add enough water to give a firm but pliable dough which can be moulded into balls the size of large marbles, or into small sausage shapes.

Fry slowly in hot ghee (or oil flavoured with ghee) until they turn golden brown. The frying must be done over gentle heat. Drain on paper towels.

Have ready the syrup, made by combining sugar, water and cardamom pods and heating until sugar is dissolved. Put the fried gulab jamun into the syrup and soak until they are almost double in size, soft and spongy. Add rose water when they have cooled slightly. Allow to cool completely and serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)