India Palace's Gulab Jamun: A Fried Delight with Exotic Spices

Apr 22, 2014 at 10:00 am

Welcome to Sugar High, a series devoted solely to spotlighting the best ways to sate a sweet tooth in St. Louis. We'll sample the best the city has to offer at restaurants, bakeries and holes-in-the-wall, and provide some insight on how these confections are made along the way.

India Palace's gulab jamun. | Mabel Suen
India Palace's gulab jamun. | Mabel Suen

Every culture has its own take on treats made with fried dough. At India Palace (711 Olive Street; 314-621-8533), it's the gulab jamun, described on the menu as "sweetened milk balls." The phrase means "rose berries," named after the dessert's rose-infused syrup and round shape.

See also: First Look: India Palace Downtown

"It's like a doughnut hole," says India Palace owner Jesse Nagra, as he places a warm saucer of six golden orbs soaked in syrup on the table. Nagra goes on to explain that the technique for the traditional sweets gets passed down through generations of Indian cooks and can be eaten hot or cold any time of day -- especially at noon tea time.

Made with dry milk worked into a pliable dough and then fried as a dumpling, the gulab jamun soak overnight in a rose-water and cardamom-seed syrup. Served warm, it practically melts in the mouth.

Besides the gulab jamun, India Palace offers a number of other desserts including housemade pistachio ice cream and clove-and-cardamom flavored rice pudding. Try some of these treats to sate a sweet tooth, no matter the occasion.

Previously on Sugar High: - Melt's "Violet Beauregarde" Waffle - Brevan's Patisserie's "Brendan" - Winslow's Home's Chocolate Cake with Espresso Meringue - La Patisserie Chouquette's Eclair - Black Bear Bakery's Raspberry Oat Bar - Gelateria's London Fog Gelato - 4 Seasons Bakery's German Cheesecake - Libertine's "Candy Bar" - Cleveland-Heath's Old Fashioned Cherry Pie - Schlafly Tap Room and Bottleworks' Sticky Toffee Pudding

We're always looking for some sweet ideas. E-mail the author at [email protected].