This is a classic Indian sweet that's usually shared during and around the Eid ul Fitr and Divali Celebrations. It's a fried dough made of flour, condensed milk and butter, then coated in what's called The Phaag (a sugar syrup). This sweet treat has always been a guilty pleasure of mine, and If you've had it before I'm sure you feel same!
But for me, my Mom's Gulab Jamun has always been my favourite, and it inspired me to recreate a dairy free (vegan) version to her recipe. And after some experimenting I think i got it just right! The end result was just as satisfying and delicious; delightfully sweet and crunchy on the outside, and soft and flaky on the inside. See the recipe below for the step-by-step cooking instructions and videos.
Fun Fact: I made my own vegan condenednsed milk for this recipe and it was super simple. (Recipe provided below)
Yield Approximately 48 Pieces
1 1/4 C Coconut Oil- I used Simply Natural from https://cgacaribbean.com/shop/simply-natural-coconut-oil-900ml/
5 1/2 C Flour
1 1/4 C Homemade Condensed Milk (see below for recipe)
1/4 C Water
Place coconut oil into a container or bowl and chill in the fridge for approximately 40 mins until hardened but slightly pliable.
Pour flour into a mixing bowl then add the cold coconut oil. Using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut and combine the oil into the flour until the oil pieces resemble the size of a pea.
Pour In the condensed milk and water and lightly knead until the dough is formed. Make sure not to over mix.
Now the fun begins. Using a small scoop, scoop the batter onto a tray, then roll into the shape of logs that are tapered at the ends. Note: if the mixture starts to get too soft from the coconut oil melting, place in the fridge for a minute or two to harden.
Using a wide, large pot add @cgacaribbean coconut oil filling the pot half way on medium heat. Note: the safest method to testing if the oil is at the right temperature for frying, you can stick the end of a wooden spoon into the oil. You should see many bubbles form around the spoon and start to float up. If the oil bubbles too hard then the temperature is too hot and you can reduce the heat for a few minutes to cool.
Line a tray with brown paper or parchment paper and keep it nearby for placing your cooked dough.
Now you can gently place your dough into the hot oil. Make sure not to overcrowd the pot. Stir frequently using a skimmer spoon and remove from oil when they are golden brown to dark. Note that it may seem darker than usual due to the coconut condensed milk. I also like my own very dark and crunchy on the outside.
Place the fried dough on the lined tray and allow to cool completely before coating in the Phaag (Sugar syrup).
The Phaag (Sugar Syrup):
1 2/3 C Brown Sugar
1/2 c Water
1/2 tsp Cardamom Powder
Place sugar, cardamon and water into a deep pot on medium heat. Stir constantly for approximately 15 minutes until the mixture is bubbling and the sugar dissolves.
To test when it is ready, dip your spoon in the syrup and slowly raise it high above the pot and wait to see the syrup drip down from the spoon. If it resembles a hanging thread it's ready to come off the heat.
Quickly pour the syrup over the fried dough and stir constantly to coat all of the dough until the sugar crystallizes. It starts off sticky but the sugar stiffens quickly so it requires some arm work for stirring.
The Condensed Milk:
Yield 1 1/4 Cup Comdensed Milk
1 Can Coconut Milk- I used Roland Coconut milk https://www.rolandfoods.com/
2/3 C Coconut Sugar (you can also sub for brown or white sugar)
Place coconut milk and sugar into a deep pot on medium to medium low heat for approximately 30 minutes until the liquid has reduced to half the amount. Note: the coconut sugar makes this a dark condensed milk, for a light coloured milk you can sub for brown or white sugar.