Recipe: Emma McCaskill’s Gulab Jamun

As part of Food Editor Mandy Hall's Nourishing Connections series Emma McCaskill, Food Curator at Tasting Australia, shares her recipe for Gulab Jamun.

Emma McCaskill writes, “This is Gulab Jamuns, the recipe has stemmed from my Anglo-Indian grandma. It has a long history for me as it was one of the first desserts I ever made. These are easy to make, so I can see why the task of rolling the Gulab Jamun balls was delegated to me as a youngster.

On special occasions, we would make them the day prior and they would sit in a pot, off the heat on the stove soaking up all the delicious syrup. Buffalo curd (which features in this recipe) is very popular throughout India as it’s thick, rich and creamy.

These are one of my favourite desserts. The key to getting them perfect is to not over fry them and giving them a decent amount of time to soak”

 Recipe: Emma McCaskill’s Gulab Jamun


  • 200g full cream milk powder
  • 55g fine semolina
  • 50g plain flour
  • ⅓ tsp baking powder
  • 140g smooth ricotta
  • 100g buffalo curd
  • 100g ghee melted
  • 2 tbsp warmed milk

Saffron syrup

  • 600g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp saffron threads
  • 4 cardamon
  • 1 cinnamon quill

To garnish

  • ¼ cup pistachios


  1. For saffron syrup, stir ingredients and 500g water in a saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer until a light syrup forms (15-20 mins) then set aside and keep warm.
  2. Combine milk powder, semolina, flour and baking powder in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Add ricotta, curd and 80g ghee, rub in with your hands, then add milk and mix to form a dough, adding a little extra milk if necessary. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly to form a smooth dough (1-2 minutes), cover with a tea towel and rest for 15 minutes.
  3. Roll 20-30g pieces of dough into balls, keeping remaining dough covered and place on a lightly floured tray. Cover with a tea towel or Chux until required.
  4. Heat remaining clarified butter and a little vegetable oil in a saucepan to 120 degrees, top up with vegetable oil till 5cm deep. Fry balls in batches until golden entirely (10-12 minutes). Drain with a slotted spoon and transfer to a saucepan of saffron syrup. 
  5. Serve Gulab Jamun warm or at room temperature with syrup and pistachios scattered on top.

*Best eaten after soaking for a few hours or the next day

Image credit: Daniel Purvis


This is a multi-part series where we’ll go on a journey with renowned chefs and cooks where they share with us their cherished memories and their beloved recipes.


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