Gulab jamun

Adam Liaw
Gulab jamun.
Gulab jamun. Photo: William Meppem

These Indian fried 'milk balls' were the first thing I ever remember making in the kitchen. I would have been about seven years old and they're still one of my favourite foods today.


150g full-cream milk powder

50g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp melted ghee

½ tsp salt

125ml milk

1 litre vegetable oil, for deep frying

thickened cream, to serve

crushed pistachios, to serve


400g caster sugar

1 tbsp lemon juice

5 green cardamom pods, bruised

50ml rosewater (optional)


1. For the syrup, combine the sugar, lemon juice and cardamom with 600ml water and bring to a simmer. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then remove from the heat and stir through the rose water, if using.

2. For the dough, sift the milk powder, flour and baking powder together. Add the ghee and salt, then add the milk a little at a time, mixing to form a firm dough (you may not need all the milk). Knead very lightly until a smooth dough comes together. Rest for 20 minutes, then roll tablespoons of the dough into balls.

3. Heat the oil to 160C. Fry the dough balls for around 5 minutes, until a deep golden brown, then transfer to a wire rack to drain for a minute before moving them to the still-warm syrup. Allow to cool in the syrup and soak for at least 4 hours. Serve with crushed pistachios (and thickened cream – not traditional, but I like it).

Adam Liaw reminisces about making this dish for the first time

Find more of Adam Liaw's recipes in the Good Food New Classics cookbook.

Buy Now