Gulgula with Chai

It’s called gulgula, gulgule, pua, and Indian doughnut. A simple definition for complex flavours. How do you make a non-yeasted Indian doughnut with a couple of spices, sweeten it to an extent, while laying the groundwork for a mild hint of savoury? Anyone who knows how to make Gulgula would most definitely not answer with, “Gulgula”; but why? Because Gulgula is not a dissection of flavours for the ones who make it; rather, the deconstruction happens on your palate. It’s not your clichéd -love at first bite if it’s your first encounter with gulgula. It takes one bite and several chews for the flavour profile to reveal itself in layers. Some consume it with chai, some with a savoury curry like ghuguni, and some have it as is.

Street side version of gulgula has the tendency to be crisper outside from a dominating presence of semolina in the batter. It also lends more of a bite to the inside texture. Whereas, a gulgula that’s made with only whole wheat flour is chewier in comparison; on the outside it’s crisp for the first couple of minutes then it’s taut like supple leathe. You break a crisp gulgula and you tear the other one.

The flavour profile of a gulgula is akin to malpua’s; similar ingredients but different processes. In a gulgula, the presence of fennel seeds spreads through your tastebuds after the first hint of savoury. Finally, you’re met by the sweetness. Both sugar and jaggery are excellent choices for the purpose of sweetening the batter. However, jaggery contributes a depth to the flavours that is infamously compatible with anything whole wheat.

Some people never find the balance between the ratios of whole wheat flour and semolina to attain the desired results. Here are a couple of tips for you:

When referring to this recipe, if you think 1/2 cup of semolina is a bit much for 3/4 cup of whole wheat flour, reduce the semolina to 1/4 cup and add another 1/4 cup of flour. This way you’re subtracting one element, while making up for it by adding more of another dry element so the wet, dry, and sweet aren’t disproportionate.

Another key factor to note is, letting the batter rest for a minimum of 20-30 minutes when making something with a considerable presence of semolina. If you make it with only whole wheat flour and crumple the idea of semolina out of the recipe, let the batter rest for 10 minutes. This way, you won’t get a grainy textured gulgula.

Gulgula Recipe

Prep time: 5 minutes
Rest time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Makes: 10 gulgulas


1. 3/4 cup atta (Whole wheat flour)
2. 1/2 cup sooji (semolina)
3. 1/4 cup powdered jaggery or sugar
4. 2 teaspoons fennel seeds, saunf
5. 1/4 teaspoon salt 6. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
7. 1/4 teaspoon edible soda (baking soda) mixed with 1 teaspoon water
8. Water – as required Oil for frying


1. In a bowl, mix the atta, sooji, salt, fennel seeds, jaggery, and oil.
2. Add water in small amounts to form a thick batter. It should be like a sticky, wet dough.
3. Once you get the desired consistency, set the batter aside for 30 minutes.
4. 30 minutes later, add the edible soda mixture to the batter and mix it for 5-10 seconds. Do not over-mix.
5. Heat oil for frying, at least 2” inches deep.
6. Grease your hands, scoop out some batter and lightly roll it into a rough ball then fry it.
7. Fry on medium heat until evenly brown.
8. Enjoy hot with some tea!

Recipe and video by Pratty and Food