Food from Malaysia: Gulab Jamun (milk balls in sweet syrup)

Gulab jamun from Malaysia
Gulab jamun milk balls in thick syrup from Malaysia

Ever so sweet Gulab Jamun!

There is sweet, and then there is gulab jamun. Few sweet treats can match the tooth shockingly good sweeter than sweet syrup soaked milk balls known as gulab jamun.

Where does gulab jamun come from?

Originating in the middle east gulab jamun quickly became immensely popular in the indian subcontinent is the easy answer. India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and even Iran all have variations of gulab jamun. As Malaysia has a huge population coming from these regions, gulab jamun has made it here too!

A bowl of Gulab Jamun from Little India, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Gulab Jamun from Little India, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

What is gulab jamun made from?

A milky sugar dough is made, traditionally using buffalo milk. It’s then rolled in balls and deep-fried. Then soaked in a syrup made from using either sugar, honey, rose-water or saffron syrup.

What does gulab jamun taste like?

Sweet is an understatement. Usually you can buy gulab jamun from an Indian sweet shop on the streets of Malaysia. Served on the spot in a little dish it’s up to you either to cut and eat, or pop a whole one into your mouth.

Be warned though, popping a whole one into your mouth and biting down will result in a huge explosion of sweet syrup. Which, can either be a sweet lovers delight, or really overwhelming to those who don’t have a sweet tooth.

My experience with this sweet dish

I first tried this in India, then Nepal, now in Malaysia. In India I found it to be a serious boost to the blood steam if you need a pick me up. In Nepal it’s decorated in silver paint in many places. In Malaysia it came slightly chilled. Which, I may add, really was good.

If you get a chance, and want to taste one of the sweetest things on the planet, try gulab jamun.

Hint: If you get a take away container, make sure you don’t spill it. The contents are seriously sticky! And, if at all possible, serve chilled!

This is an additional article featuring food from West Malaysia

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17 Replies to “Food from Malaysia: Gulab Jamun (milk balls in sweet syrup)”

  1. This looks too sinful to eat! Why can’t I ever find food like this! :)

  2. I’ve had Gulab Jamun!! It’s soooooo sweeeeet LOVE IT!! Can only eat two in one sitting!

  3. These are crazy super sweet!! I can feel the sugar seeping into my gums whenever I eat them :)

  4. OH !! did someone say the magic words??! this is my all time fav northern indian dessert.. the GULAB is KING!

      1. who cares..?! just brush after the dessert.. should be fine. ONE MORE gulab here please!!!

  5. Like Nithya, I prefer Gulab Jamun when it’s warm or hot, rather than cold. But I generally like it under most circumstances…sweet tooth? Yes!

  6. Wow, I bet sweet is an understatement indeed. I’m a sweet tooth but those look pretty hardcore :)

  7. Oh I tried this before and I LOVE it!!! First time it was at a Hare Krishna temple in Guyana and was very very good. Second time served at a Indian wedding in Malaysia though not quite as good as the first. I find the name ‘Gulab Jamun’ itself is lovely enough… :)

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