How to make Kala Jamun, a delectable Indian style dessert infused in saffron flavored sugar syrup? These succulent black Gulab Jamuns are a treat in every sense. Warm, squishy and delicious, this is every beginner’s dream dessert. Make them for Diwali or your Thanksgiving party and just bask in the compliments that follow.
I made this heavenly version of the ubiquitous Gulab Jamun for Diwali. Let me tell you a secret. I cannot make Gulab Jamun from those instant Jamun packets. Nope. No matter how much I try, I always goof up.
But any other version of Jamun- now that’s what we are talking about. From Makkan Peda to this soft and succulent Kala Jamun, the sheer process of making them is so therapeutic.
What is Kala Jamun?
This succulent delight is like a cousin of the Gulab Jamun. Its called so because it s almost black in color and ‘Kala’ in Hindi translates to black.
Kala Jamun vs Gulab Jamun
This is slightly different from the regular Gulab Jamun. The color aspects apart, this recipe uses Paneer/ Chenna and Khoya apart from flour in its recipe. Even though the ingredients are the same, the proportions are very different.
And because the proportions are different, the texture of this black Gulab Jamun is also very different.
Khoya- No Milk Powder
We will be using Khoya which is nothing but reduced milk solids and is also called Mawa. You need unsweetened Khoya to make these Jamoons.
You can buy unsweetened Khoya/Mawa easily in Singapore. Milky Mist and Nanak Brands both have unsweetened Khoya. This is easily available in Indian stores in Singapore.
If you are using frozen Khoya in this recipe, make sure that it has thawed and softened completely. Read recipe notes for more information on this.
This recipe uses Chenna. Chenna is freshly made but unset Paneer. I have used full fat cow milk to make this.
Pro Tip: Chenna made from buffalo milk yields rubbery Chenna. So full fat cow’s milk is the best for making Chenna for any such juicy sweets.
- Khoya– Unsweetened Khoya at room temperature will work best here. Make sure that the Khoya has softened. Only when the Khoya has softened fully, you can crumble it easily and knead a crack-free smooth dough.
- Chenna– This recipe uses freshly made Chenna using Cow’s milk. You can substitute this with crumbled paneer in this recipe.
- Maida– This acts a binding agent and also helps in improving the texture.
- Sugar– I have used raw cane sugar to make the syrup. You can also use regular white sugar.
- Ghee– Frying these in Ghee is the best! But if you are looking for something lower in calories, please use any neutral flavored vegetable oil for frying these.
- Making the Chenna– This is the first step and the waiting time for this is slightly more. So I suggest that you begin with this first. Skip this step if you are using Paneer.
- Sugar Syrup– While the Chenna is getting drained, you can start the sugar syrup.
- Make sure there is no moisture in the Chenna. Draining the Chenna is very important because moisture in Chenna will give you soggy oily Jamuns.
- If you find that the mixture is dry while kneading, sprinkle milk and knead. I used about 3 tablespoon milk here.
- Once you have finished kneading the dough, keep it covered to prevent it from drying. If the dough dries up, the Jamuns will crack up while frying.
- The sugar syrup does not need any kind of string consistency. You just need to boil it till it thickens.
1.Why did my black Jamun crack after frying?
This would happen if the dough is dry. Try adding a few drops of milk, knead the dough again and fry the jamuns. Make sure that there are no cracks while shaping the balls before frying. This also helps in preventing cracks while frying.
2. Can i use paneer instead of Chenna in this recipe?
Yes, you can. Using paneer made from buffalo’s milk will make your Kala Jamun hard and rubbery. Use Paneer made from cow’s milk for soft and spongy Jamuns. If you are using frozen paneer, make sure you thaw it by dunking them in hot water. Once thawed, drain the water completely.
Grate the paneer or crumble it well using your hands before using it in this Kala Jamun recipe.
3. Why did my Jamuns shrink after frying?
Please don’t add the jamuns to the sugar syrup while it s very hot. If you add them to very hot syrup, your Jamuns will shrink, dimple or become hard and rubbery.
Pro Tip: Make sure the sugar syrup is warm enough to dunk your fingers in it comfortably for 10 secs. This is the right temperature to drop the Jamuns in.
Step 1: Making the chenna
Heat a pan with the milk. Bring the milk to a rolling boil. When it reaches this stage, add the lemon juice and mix well. You can immediately see the whey and the milk solids separate.
Wait for the whey water to become completely curdle. This is done when the whey is fully transparent like water.
When done, line a colander with a cheesecloth. Pour the curdled mixture into this. Collect all the whey into a bowl. Bring the edges of the cheesecloth together. Knot it up and hang it so that all the whey drains. This takes around 20 to 25 mins.
Make sure all the whey drains completely. When this is done, the Chenna will have become a soft ball.
Our Chenna is now ready.
Step 2: Mixing the dough
Add the chenna to a bowl and crumble it nicely.
Similarly, add the Khoya to a wide bowl. Using your hands, break it down and knead the Khoya till smooth and lump free. Combine the Khoya, Chenna and Maida in a mixing bowl. Mix well and knead into a smooth dough without any cracks.
If you find that the dough is dry while kneading, sprinkle a few teaspoon of room temperature milk and knead. I used about 2 to 3 tablespoon milk while kneading the dough.
Knead the dough for about 6 to 7 mins. I suggest switching on the timer while you do this. Also, use the heel of your palm and your fingers alternatively while you knead for best results.
The dough should be smooth and supple.
When the dough is ready, divide the dough into 18 equal parts. Shape each part into a smooth crack free ball.
Step 3: Making the sugar syrup
While you are kneading the dough, get the sugar syrup started. Combine the sugar, water, cardamom pods and saffron in a thick bottomed pan. Mix well.
Heat the mixture until all the sugar has dissolved. Continue to boil the syrup for 6 to 7 mins on medium flame till the mixture has thickened. Add rose water, Kewra water and lemon juice.
There is no need of any string consistency for this sugar syrup.
Lemon juice prevents the syrup from crystallising.
Once done, switch off the flame. Allow the sugar syrup to cool down till it is warm.
Step 4: Frying
Heat a pan with oil+ghee mixture. Add the shaped balls in batches of 6. The balls will sink to the bottom as soon as you drop them. Reduce the flame to the lowest possible.
Now start moving the oil in and around the Jamuns using a ladle. Make sure you dont disturb the jamuns while you do this. This will make sure that the Jamuns don’t burn at the bottom.
As the Jamuns get cooked, they will slowly rise to the top. They will become golden brown in color slowly after 6 to 7 mins.
Continue to fry the Jamuns till they turn almost black in color. This takes around 8 mins for one batch. So the total cooking time for one batch of Jamuns is around 14 to 15 mins.
This timing may vary depending on the heat in which they are cooked.
Pro Tip: Always fry the Jamuns on low heat till they turn golden brown in color. Once they are golden, crank up the heat to a medium high and fry them till they turn almost black in color.
Step 5: Soaking in sugar syrup
When you have finished frying the Jamuns, add them to the warm sugar syrup and allow them to soak the syrup for at least 4 hours.
Serve them once the Jamuns have soaked up the syrup.
More Diwali Sweets
If you are looking for more such easy sweet recipes, then do have a look at our
- Frying Pan
- Mixing bowl
For the Chenna
- 1.5 liter full fat milk
- 2.5 tablespoon lemon juice
For the Jamun
- 150 g Chenna or Crumbled paneer
- 250 g Khoya Crumbled
- 60 g Maida ½c approximately
- 2 to 3 tablespoon Milk if the dough is dry while kneading
- 1.5 c Vegetable oil
- 1.5 c Ghee
Making the Chenna
- Heat the milk in a pan and allow it to come to a rolling boil.
- Add the lemon juice and allow it to curdle completely.
- When curdled, drain the mixture into a colander lined with a cheesecloth.
- When the whey has drained, bring the edges of the cheesecloth together and tie it into a knot.
- Hang this at a height and allow all the whey water to drain completely. This takes 20 mins.
- When done, open the cheesecloth and crumble the collected Chenna in a bowl.
Mixing the dough
- Add the khoya to a wide shallow plate. Crumble it or grate it and knead it till it becomes smooth.
- Now add the Maida, Chenna and khoya to a mixing bowl.
- Knead into a smooth and soft dough.
- Sprinkle some milk and knead if you find the dough is dry while kneading.
- Knead the dough for about 6 to 7 mins till the dough is soft, smooth and supple.
- Divide the dough into 18 portions and shape each portion into a crack free smooth ball.
Making the sugar syrup
- Make the syrup while you are prepping the dough.
- Combine the sugar, cardamom, saffron and water in a thick bottomed pan.
- Mix well and heat the mixture. Allow the sugar to dissolve completely.
- When the sugar dissolves, continue to boil the syrup for 7 to 8 mins until it thickens.
- When the syrup has thickened, add the rose water, Kewra water and the lemon juice.
- Mix well. Switch off the heat .
- Allow the syrup to cool down till it is luke-warm. This will happen while we are frying the Jamuns.
Frying the Jamuns
- Heat a pan with ghee and oil.
- This mixture should be of the right temperature. It should not be smoking hot. Drop a small piece of dough into the oil. If it comes floating to the surface immediately, this is the right temperature.
- When the oil is at the right temperature, add 6-8 balls. Reduce the flame to the lowest.
- Now, move around the oil using a ladle without disturbing the jamuns. This will prevent them from sticking to the bottom and the bottom being burned.
- When the Jamuns get cooked, it will slowly rise to the surface of the oil. Once they start floating, continue to fry the balls till they turn golden brown. This takes about 6 to 7 mins.
- When they are completely golden brown, crank up the flame to a medium high and fry the Jamuns till they are almost black.
- This takes 7 to 8 mins.
Soaking the Jamuns to the Sugar Syrup
- Once done, drain them from the oil and immediately drop them in the warm sugar syrup.
- Do not add the jamuns to very hot sugar syrup.
- Continue to do this with the remaining dough balls.
- Once all the Jamuns are fried, dunk all of them in warm sugar syrup and let them soak up the syrup for 4 hours.
- Serve them once the Jamuns have soaked up the syrup.
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