Rasgulla… Or should I call it Indian Gulab Jamun?

I’m still very much confused about what should be the title for this post and I’m sure you must be confused too if you are familiar with Indian sweets.  Well, first let me tell you what this recipe is about.  This popular dessert consists of deep fried milk dough balls which are soaked in a sugar syrup flavored with cardamom seeds and rosewater or saffron.  🙂

Commonly made during festivals or major celebrations, it is known as Gulab Jamun in countries of the Indian Subcontinent.  The term ‘Gulab’ refers to rosewater-scented syrup, while ‘Jamun’ is derived from a South Asian fruit with a similar size and shape.

Then why this confusion??   Somehow this exact dessert, very popular in Mauritius, is known as Rasgulla, which happens to be a completely different Indian dessert!  And what we call as Gulab Jamun here is yet another sweet dish.  A few days ago, I was pondering over the title for my next blog post while having one of these and I accidentally called this dish as Gulab Jamun.  The response I got was; “Why are you calling Rasgullas as Gulab Jamun?!”  I guess the names somehow got messed up throughout the years since our ancestors from India brought this dish to Mauritius.  🙂


(Makes about 25 Rasgullas)

  • 1 cup milk powder
  • 1/4 cup milk  (room temperature)
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 tsp baking soda
  • 2 – 3 tbs unsalted butter / ghee / clarified butter  (room temperature)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 4 – 5 cardamom pods
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • pinch of saffron  (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp rosewater  (optional)
  • oil for deep frying


  • First, prepare your syrup by adding water, sugar, cardamom pods (open the pods and add the skin as well as seeds) and saffron (optional) to a large pan.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for a few minutes until syrup is slightly thickened.  Add the cardamom powder and rosewater, mix and set aside.
  • In a bowl, mix the milk powder, flour and baking soda.  Too much baking soda will cause the Rasgullas to get too soft and they will break apart when frying.  A little less in amount will do no harm but make sure you don’t add more than the required amount!
  • Rub in the unsalted butter/ghee until well mixed.
  • Now, add the milk in parts and mix to make a soft dough (will be slightly sticky).  You might require less than 1/4 cup milk to make the dough, so don’t add it all at one go.

  • Let the dough sit for a few minutes.  Milk powder will absorb the extra milk.   If the dough is dry, add more milk, as it should be soft.
  • Knead the dough and divide into small balls.  The milk dough balls will expand on frying and when soaked in the syrup.  Make them slightly smaller than the final desired result.

  • Heat some oil in a frying pan on medium heat.  The frying pan should have at least 1 ½ inch of oil.  To test if the oil is the right temperature, place a small piece of dough into the oil; it should take a minute to rise.  If dough rises faster, oil is too hot; if dough just sits without rising, oil is not hot enough.
  • Place the rasgullas in the frying pan; few at a time, giving them enough space to expand.  Do not fry on high heat, or else they will become hard inside and not fully cooked.  It should take about 5 – 7 minutes until the rasgullas reach the desired dark brown colour.  While frying keep rolling them around to make sure they are evenly browned.

  • Remove from oil and place the rasgullas on a plate with absorbent paper to remove excess oil.  Let them cool for a few minutes.  You can fry the next batch in the meantime.  Do not place in the syrup immediately after frying.  This will cause the ragullas to lose their shape and become chewy.

  • Once cooled, place in hot syrup and let them soak for about 10 minutes.

Your Rasgullas / Indian Gulab Jamun are now ready to be served!  🙂  Miam Miam!!  I can never resist these.

These can be kept at room temperature or refrigerated.

26 responses to “Rasgulla… Or should I call it Indian Gulab Jamun?

  1. I always thought these were called narkel naru! I learned something! These look exceptionally yummy. Excellent job with the pictures of the entire process.

  2. I’ve never seen these before but they look delicious!! The dough sounds delicious and a spiced sugar syrup seems like an amazing accompaniment!

  3. Thank you so much 4 explaining in detail with the photos that give a better idea of how the rasgullas should look!

  4. Hey ‘sweet’ blog :p i’m from Trinidad (more or less 1/2 of the population is of Indian descent) and I learned this exact thing what you blogged when some Indians came for a trade fair.

    What you call Gulab Jamun Trinis call Rasgula, and what Trinis call Gulab Jamun is a big thick soft Kurma.

    What could solve this is if the proper name for the big Kurma can be discovered. By chance are you aware of it??

  5. Rasgullas, a popular sweet from the state of Bengal in India are white in colour and are not deep-fried. What you have posted are called gulab jamuns in India. Your narkel naru recepie is quite good! thanks.

    • Thanks for stopping by! I’m glad you liked the narkel naru recipe… 🙂 I’ve tried the rasgullas from Bengal.. They are delicious. Its just the names of the sweets that seems to have mixed up over the years.

  6. hi..i have tried and it turned out really well…
    I have already spoiled before but this time i made it

  7. thanks i am so making this tomorrow my little nephew loves it he keeps calling rasta bulla he is 21/2 lol

  8. There’a nowhere mentioned where you use the ghee.

  9. Hi Brian! Sorry for this late reply.. I’ve not yet come across an Indian sweet that ressembles what we call as gulab jamun, so I don’t really know the original name for it..

  10. what did u use the unsalted butter for?

  11. Tried your recipe, wonderful! 🙂 very happy..

  12. i hop ol comes well wana try fo eid

  13. Hi! This is Gulab Jamun. Rasgulla is the white version, where the milk dough is boiled in sugar syrup. We make these at festivals such as Diwali, Navratri etc.

  14. I made Rasgullas today using a different recipe and it was an epic fail! The balls desintegrated in the hot oil. Then saw your recipe and tried … Again. Those ones came out lovely! Thank you for the explanations and pictures.

  15. My husband loves it. Thanks a lot 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s