Kala Jamun

Classic Kala Jamun made with khoya (dried milk solids). These small deep fried balls are soaked in a sugar syrup flavored with rose water, cardamom and saffron.

This popular Indian sweet are my favorite and highly addictive!

kala jamun arranged on an antique plate with some lights in the background

Gulab jamun and it’s cousin Kala Jamun are one of the most popular Indian sweets.

I remember as a child either of these were always there at every birthday party that I went to. And same was the case with weddings.

My personal favorite used to be warm kala jamun with vanilla ice cream and that too during winters in Delhi. Ahh, that is one memory forever etched in my mind!

I don’t remember mom ever making this sweet at home though. I mean in Indian all these sweets are so easily available and there are such amazing sweet shops so you never feel the need to make it.

But of course here in the US things are different. We do have few Indian sweet shops here but the taste of sweets is just no match to the sweets that we get in India. Because of the quality that we get here, I always end up making my favorite sweets at home.

Especially during Diwali, all my favorites are on the menu. This time around, I am making these Kala Jamuns.

What is Kala Jamun

It’s an Indian sweet made with mawa/khoya which is dried milk solids.

At my house mawa was always made from scratch which involved hours of cooking milk until only solids remained.

However you can also easily find it at stores. Here in the US, frozen mawa is available at Indian stores, I like the one from vadilal.

These dumplings made with milk solids are deep fried and then dunked in a sugar syrup flavored with cardamom, saffron and rose water.

You can say they are like fried doughnuts.

These can also be made using milk powder but I prefer the version made with khoya more.

How Is It Different from Gulab Jamun

Both sweets are essentially same, the main difference lies in color. The kala jamuns are fried for a longer time than gulab jamuns hence making them darker in color.

Kala=black so because they have a black color because of prolonged frying they are known as kala jamun.

Because they are fried for a longer time, their skin is also little thicker than gulab jamun. Also most kala jamuns are stuffed (though not always).

The rest is same, they use the same ingredient and dunked in the same sugar syrup.

plate of kala jamun with one jamun cut to show the interior

Tips to Make Kala Jamun

Just like with any Indian sweet, you need to keep certain things in mind when making these at home.

The dough needs to really soft and smooth. I use fresh chena (by curdling the milk) to make these kala jamuns.

The mashed mawa and fresh chena results in a soft and smooth dough. I didn’t need to add any milk to bring the dough together, it came together on it’s own from the moisture from chena and mawa.

Remember to use soft mawa here, that’s what you need for jamuns. Also using fresh chena makes a difference. You can use paneer but freshly made chena works better.

PS: chena refers to the fresh cheese curds that we get after curdling the milk. Once you set it, then it’s called paneer. This recipe for how to make paneer is what you need to follow for making chena. Just stop at the stage when the milk curdles. Drain in a muslin cloth, squeeze water and use in the recipe. You would probably need to curdle around 750 ml of milk for this amount of chena.

Always remember to fry the jamuns at medium-low heat. So, I have burnt these kala jamuns once because I fried them at low heat for way too much time, I think around 25 minutes to achieve that black color and they had a burnt taste by the end of it (even tough fried at low heat).

So for these kala jamuns, start at low-medium heat. You should add them to lukewarm oil, then let them float at come to the top.

Once they start floating, then turn up the heat to medium and then fry until they turn black. This way they come out perfect without burning.

Of course you should never fry on high heat else they will turn black quickly and will be undercooked from inside. And if you fry them on high heat, they will also turn out hard.

The sugar syrup needs to be at the right consistency in order for the kala jamuns to soak it in. Too thick or too thin and the jamuns will not soak the syrup.

For this recipe, you don’t want any syrup or string consistency here. You just want the syrup to be sticky, do not overcook the syrup else it will thicken and then jamuns will be dry and hard.

I also want to mention here that I made a lot of sugar syrup as I wanted extra syrup so if you want you can easily cut this into half. It’s up to you. Just cut everything in half if you want to make less amount of syrup and follow everything as it is.

Do follow the exact timings for the syrup written in the recipe.

Make sure the sugar syrup is warm when you add the fried jamuns to it. Also, take the jamuns out of the oil and immediately add them to the warm syrup. Do not wait for them to cool down.

Method

1- To a large plate, add mawa (this should be soft mawa) and then mash it nicely using your hands for 1-2 minutes making it completely smooth.

2- To same plate now add, chena (or if you don’t want to make fresh chena, use grated paneer), flour, baking soda and cardamom powder.

3- Mix everything together using your hands.

4- And form a smooth dough. No milk was needed here and moisture from chena and mawa was enough to bring everything together, in case the mawa you are using is dry or you are using paneer and it’s dry you can add milk to bring it all together.

step by step picture collage of making kala jamun

5- This is optional but if you want to stuff the jamuns, take 1 tablespoon from this dough and add 2 tablespoons crushed nuts (cashews) and food color to it and mix. You can also add saffron strands soaked in 1/2 teaspoon water here.

6- Now take a small ball, around 20 grams from the dough and flatten it and then stuff it if you want by taking a little amount from that prepared stuffing dough.

7- Seal the dough and roll between your palm to form a smooth round ball.

8- Make all jamuns similarly. Keep them covered at all times so that they don’t dry out.

step by step picture collage of making kala jamun

9- Start working on the sugar syrup now. I make a huge amount of syrup since I like extra syrup with these jamuns, you can easily half the amount of this syrup if you like.

To make the syrup, add sugar, water, rose water, kewra water, crushed cardamom and saffron to a pan on medium heat.

10- Let the sugar dissolve and mixture come to boil. As soon as it comes to boil, add the lemon juice and stir. Lemon juice helps prevent crystallization of the sugar syrup.

11- Let the syrup simmer on medium heat for around 6 minutes. It should become sticky by then but will have no thread consistency. That’s the right stage to remove pan from heat. Set this aside now.

12- Heat oil with some ghee in a kadai to fry the jamuns on low-medium heat. You can use only ghee or only oil too, I like using a combination of both.

Add the prepared jamuns to lukewarm oil. Once jamuns are in the oil, keep moving the oil around them with a spatula without touching the jamuns so that the bottom doesn’t get brown.

step by step picture collage of making kala jamun

13- After around 6-7 minutes, they will start floating in oil, at this point turn heat to medium from low-medium.

14- They will first turn golden brown in color.

15- Fry until they turn black, this will take around 14 to 15 minutes in total. Do not burn them. Remove them from oil using a spatula.

16- Drop fried hot jamuns in the prepared syrup. Syrup should be warm when you add jamuns to it (and jamuns should be dropped immediately after frying them). Fry all of them similarly and let them soak in the sugar syrup for at least 4 hours.

step by step picture collage of making kala jamun

Enjoy Kala Jamun warm with some vanilla ice cream (that’s my favorite way)!

kala jamuns arranged in a plate and place of a cake stand with strings of lights in the background

If you’ve tried this Kala Jamun Recipe then don’t forget to rate the recipe! You can also follow me on Facebook and Instagram to see what’s latest in my kitchen!

Kala Jamun

kala jamun arranged on an antique plate with some lights in the background
Manali
Kala Jamun is an Indian sweet made with milk solids. These fried balls are dipped in a sugar syrup flavored with cardamom, rose water and saffron! They are the perfect festive treat.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Indian
Servings 22
Calories 175 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the kala jamun

  • 1 cup mawa/khoya mashed, 250 grams
  • 1/2 cup + 1 teaspoon chena 125 grams, mashed or use grated paneer
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour 64 grams, maida
  • pinch baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cashews optional, only if stuffing the jamuns

Sugar syrup

  • 3 cups sugar 600 grams
  • 4 cups water 32 oz
  • 4 teaspoons rose water 20 ml
  • 2 teaspoons kewra water 10 ml
  • 10 whole green cardamoms crushed
  • generous pinch saffron strands
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice 10 ml

oil + ghee, for frying (I used a mix of both)

    Instructions
     

    • To a large plate, add mawa (this should be soft mawa) and then mash it nicely using your hands for 1-2 minutes making it completely smooth.
      hand mashing mawa in a plate
    • To same plate now add, chena (or if you don't want to make fresh chena, use grated paneer), flour, baking soda and cardamom powder.
      Mix everything together using your hands.
      plate with mashed mawa, flour, cardamom powder
    • And form a smooth dough. No milk was needed here and moisture from chena and mawa was enough to bring everything together, in case the mawa you are using is dry or you are using paneer and it's dry you can add milk to bring it all together.
      a smooth white color dough
    • This is optional but if you want to stuff the jamuns, take 1 tablespoon from this dough and add 2 tablespoons crushed nuts (cashews) and food color to it and mix. You can also add saffron strands soaked in 1/2 teaspoon water here.
      Now take a small ball, around 20 grams from the dough and flatten it and then stuff it if you want by taking a little amount from that prepared stuffing dough.
      a small dough ball placed on a hand and an orange color stuffing inside the dough
    • Seal the dough and roll between your palm to form a smooth round ball. Make all jamuns similarly. Keep them covered at all times so that they don't dry out.
      a round smooth dough ball placed on a hand
    • Start working on the sugar syrup now. I make a huge amount of syrup since I like extra syrup with these jamuns, you can easily half the amount of this syrup if you like.
      To make the syrup, add sugar, water, rose water, kewra water, crushed cardamom and saffron to a pan on medium heat.
      Let the sugar dissolve and mixture come to boil. As soon as it comes to boil, add the lemon juice and stir. Lemon juice helps prevent crystallization of the sugar syrup.
      teaspoon of lemon juice being added to a pan of sugar syrup
    • Let the syrup simmer on medium heat for around 6 minutes. It should become sticky by then but will have no thread consistency. That's the right stage to remove pan from heat. Set this aside now.
      stirring the sugar syrup with a wooden spatula
    • Heat oil with some ghee in a kadai to fry the jamuns on low-medium heat. You can use only ghee or only oil too, I like using a combination of both.
      Add the prepared jamuns to lukewarm oil. Once jamuns are in the oil, keep moving the oil around them with a spatula without touching the jamuns so that the bottom doesn't get brown.
      round dough balls in hot oil
    • After around 6-7 minutes, they will start floating in oil, at this point turn heat to medium from low-medium.
      They will first turn golden brown in color.
      brown color dough balls fried being fried in hot oil
    • Fry until they turn black, this will take around 14 to 15 minutes in total. Do not burn them. Remove them from oil using a spatula.
      black color dough ball taken out of hot oil with a spatula
    • Drop fried hot jamuns in the prepared syrup. Syrup should be warm when you add jamuns to it (and jamuns should be dropped immediately after frying them). Fry all of them similarly and let them soak in the sugar syrup for at least 4 hours.
      Enjoy warm!
      round dough balls dunked in sugar syrup in a pan

    Notes

    1. Please read the important tips mentioned in the last, that will help while making this recipe.
    2. The amount of sugar syrup can easily be halved. I like extra sugar syrup with my kala jamuns hence make a large amount.
    3. Stuffing the jamuns is optional, you can skip the step.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 175kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 2gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 32mgPotassium: 8mgFiber: 1gSugar: 27gVitamin A: 49IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 76mgIron: 1mg
    Keyword kala jamun
    Tried this recipe?Mention @cookwithmanali or tag #cookwithmanali!

    One thought on “Kala Jamun

    1. 5 stars
      You have so many amazing things on this site. I haven’t made many items but knowing you have all the steps and photos makes it easy.

      Thank you so much for taking the time and effort and sharing with us. Happy Diwali , Jai Shri Ram.

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