Storified by Arya McLean· Sat, Mar 30 2013 17:54:29
A sweet and milky treat, Gulab Jamun is a popular dessert in India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Milk flavored dough is rolled into tiny balls, deep-fried, soaked in a sweet syrup and often scented with rosewater. In this gourmet cooking recipe, the balls are flavored with saffron and sprinkled with cardamom for an aromatic and slightly spicy treat. Traditionally served during the Indian holiday, Diwali, Gulab Jamun makes a delightful end to a spicy Indian meal.
You can get a gulab jamun premade mix in Indian groceries but you can also make one at home with some all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, saffron, milk, and water. For the best results, fry the balls in corn or canola oil. Fry the balls over low heat because if the gulab jamuns are fried on high heat they will become hard inside and will not cook completely.
Take note that gulab jamun balls double in size while frying similar to donuts so there should be enough space in the pan for them to expand without touching each other. The dough should develop a deep golden brown color after 10 to 15 minutes of frying. At this state, the balls should then be removed immediately and added to the prepared sugar syrup. In this recipe, the syrup is a basic mixture of sugar and water, heated gently and slowly until the sugar is dissolved and syrupy. Some like to flavor the syrup with rose water, cardamom, saffron, or citrus juice.
The gulab jamuns should sit in the hot syrup for about 20 minutes before serving. They can also be stored overnight so as to absorb more syrup. They can be kept at room temperature for up to a month or refrigerated for about a month. These sweet balls can be served either hot or cold and one serving per person is typically three to four pieces.