The difference between gulab jamun and kala jamun is the color and texture. while gulab jamuns are golden colored balls, kala jamuns have a dark color with just some shades away from black. hence the word ‘kala’ which means black. this color is achieved by frying the jamuns at a low flame for some time to get the dark color.
(measuring cup used, 1 cup = 250 ml)
for the jamun balls:
250 grams soft khoya or 1 cup tightly packed khoya/mawa/dried evaporated milk solids
100 grams paneer or ½ cup tightly packed grated paneer/cottage cheese
3 tbsp all purpose flour/maida
1 tbsp milk
oil or ghee for deep frying
for sugar syrup:
300 grams sugar or 2 cups sugar
1.5 cups water
¼ tsp lemon juice
1 tbsp rose water
½ tsp cardamom powder
12 to 15 strands of saffron/kesar
How to make the recipe:
Take 250 grams of khoya in a plate or bowl. the khoya used for gulab jamuns is the soft khoya also known as hariyali khoya or chikna khoya. this is a soft khoya, so it mashes and kneads very well.
mash the khoya very well with your hands. keep aside. there should be no lumps or small bits or pieces in the khoya. you can also grate and then mash the khoya.
grate 100 grams paneer and keep aside. 100 grams paneer yields about ½ cup grated paneer.
now add the grated paneer and 3 tbsp all purpose flour (maida) to the khoya.
add 1 tbsp milk.
gently mix everything very well.
bring together this mixture and form into a dough. do not knead the dough. just mix and gather to a dough. if the mixture looks dry and does not cling together to a dough, you can add 1 tbsp more of the milk.
now pinch small marble sized balls from the dough and roll them in a round shape between your palms. roll lightly and not heavily.
now roll the ball again between your palms to give a oblong cylindrical shape.
roll all the jamuns this way and keep them covered with a cotton kitchen towel.
preparing sugar syrup:
take 2 cups sugar in a pan and add 1.5 cups water.
keep this pan on stove top on a low to medium flame and stir so that the sugar begins to dissolve.
when all the sugar is dissolved, add ¼ tsp lemon juice. the lemon juice does not allow the sugar syrup to crystallize.
cook the sugar syrup on a low to medium flame till you get ½ string consistency or the syrup becomes sticky.
when the sugar syrup is cooking, you can begin frying the jamuns. as when you add the jamuns, the sugar syrup has to be hot. heat oil for deep frying in a kadai or deep pan on a low to medium flame.
switch off the flame and add ½ tsp cardamom powder and 12 to 15 strands of saffron, crushed. also add 1 tbsp rose water.
for testing, slid a tiny dough ball in the hot oil.
the ball should come up slowly and not quickly. this is the temperature at which we will fry the jamuns.
keep the flame to a low and fry this small jamun till it becomes golden.
now gently slid the kala jamuns. do not crowd and add the jamuns as per the size of the pan.
when you see faint golden spots, turn over the jamuns gently.
keep on turning them in the oil, like a gentle swirling with the slotted spoon, so that they brown evenly. when frying the jamuns have to feel light and not heavy.
fry till they turn a shade or two darker than the golden fried color.
place them on paper towels.
whilst they are hot, quickly add them to the sugar syrup.
fry all the jamuns in the same way and add them to the sugar syrup.
cover and allow the jamuns to soak in the sugar syrup. once the sugar syrup cools down, keep the bowl covered in the fridge.
serve kala jamuns at room temperature or chilled as a dessert or sweet.