Gulab Jamun Fiji Style with Vegan Options

Gulab jamun is a milk-based Indian sweet. Gulab, in Hindi means rose and jamun is a type of fruit that varies in shape from cylindrical to round. There are as many variations of this dessert as there are jamuns. If you order gulab jamun in an Indian restaurant, you are most likely to get soft round balls floating in syrup. This recipe is for the type of gulab jamun commonly made in Fiji. It doesn't sit in syrup for too long, is cylindrical in shape and made from condensed milk. It has a more dense texture and just steeped in syrup, not served floating in syrup.

Depending on who you ask, there are, again, variations of this recipe in Fiji itself. Some like to make a simple syrup to soak these while others, like my family, like to coat them in a sugar syrup that hardens slightly.

This recipe is quite simple. Just be sure to fry the Gulab Jamuns on medium low heat, otherwise you will end up with half cooked, gooey, Gulab Jamuns!

On to the recipe!

  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water 


  1. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and spices really well. 
  2. Add butter and rub in your flour mixture. The mix should resemble fine breadcrumbs or coarse sand
  3. Add condensed milk (in increments) a little at a time and form a tacky dough. You can use about 11 oz of condensed milk and then add water if you desire. Or you can knead the entire dough with just condensed milk. Your dough should NOT be sticky, but rather tacky. Let dough rest, covered with a damp cloth, for 10-15 minutes 
  4. Once the dough has rested, take tablespoon size portions and roll into cylindrical/long oval shape. There shouldn't be any cracks on them as they will cause them to split open during frying. 
  5. Once all of your gulab jamuns are formed, heat oil on medium heat. Fry a few gulab jamuns at a time. Do not overcrowd the pot and stir gently but continuously to get the gulab jamuns to brown evenly. 
  6. Using a strainer or slotted spoon, remove gulab jamuns from the oil and place on a lined trays to drain and cool. Repeat with the remaining gulab jamuns
  7. To make the Phaag or sugar syrup, in a saucepan over medium to medium high heat, bring water and sugar  to a gentle boil. Boil for 6-8 minutes or until it starts to get frothy and the bubbles start getting sluggish and slowing down. It should be 230 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer. 
  8. Put all of the gulab jamuns in a LARGE bowl or pot and add the sugar syrup on top of it slowly. Start with half the syrup and add more as needed.
  9. Using a clean spoon (no oil residue), stir the gulab jamuns VERY GENTLY and let them get coated in the syrup. You can let them sit in the syrup for 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally if desired. 
  10. Transfer the gulab jamuns (while still warm and wet) onto a parchment lined or greased tray and let them dry completely. The gulab jamuns will soak up the syrup and form a dry, sugar coating on the outside. 
Makes approximately 75 pieces 

Watch me make it here! Press play! 

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