The Origin of Gulab Jamun


Gulab Jamus is known as one of the most popular Indian dessert, isn’t it? But the fact is, it’s not an Indian dessert. Aren’t you curious to know where did Gulab Jamum come from? Well, you will be surprised to know that Gulab Jamun came to India from Persia or modern day Iran with our Muslim sultans and badshahs. The Indian gulab jamun dish originated from an Arabic dessert called Luqmat Al-Qadi and became popular during the Mughal era. The later name, gulab, actually comes from the two Persian words gul (flower) and ab (water). Gulab Jamun, as the history goes was first prepared in medieval India derived from Persian invaders.


What is Gulab Jamun?
Gulab Jamun, a small waffle shaped balls deep fried and dipped in sugar syrup, popular in countries of the Indian subcontinent as India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. The term Gulab jamun comes from Persian, Gulab means rosewater referring to the rosewater scented syrup and jamun from the Hindi language, a South Asian fruit with similar size and shape.

It has been a well-known folklore in India that Gulab Jamun was first accidentally prepared by the chief Persian priest of Mughal king Shah Jahan. And at the time of Mughals ruling India, it was introduced to the Indians, as a royal dessert. Gulab Jamun is traditionally and historically associated with India and it’s one of the most revered sweet dishes in the subcontinent today.


The Origin of Gulab Jamun
This favourite Indian dessert originated in the Mediterranean and Persia where it is called as luqmat al qadi. Originally, luqmat al qadi (the original dish) is made up of dough balls deep fried, soaked in honey syrup and sprinkled with sugar but in India we modified the recipe and named it Gulab Jamun. According to the culinary historian Michael Krondl, both luqmat al-qadi and gulab jamun may have derived from a Persian dish, with rose water syrup being a common connection between the two.

Gulab Jamun is a traditional Indian sweet made by kneading khoya, flour and milk into a soft dough. Then small balls are made and deep-fried in clarified butter i.e. ghee till golden brown. These ball are then soaked in cardamom flavored sugar syrup and served hot (not piping hot … but slightly warm).