Kalojaam Deep-Fried Dumplings in Syrup

Alauddin Sweets
72 Brick Lane

At Alauddin, traditional sweet-making methods are preserved by skilled artisans from Dhaka and the famous Bengali desert Kalojaam is another of their bestsellers. Soft pieces of fried dough are immersed in a light syrup and cooked until you are left with soft, caramel-flavoured dumplings. The exterior of this croquette-shaped sweet is almost kalo (or black in Bengali) and the interior is traditionally deep red or pink, resemblingjaam, a berry-like fruit popular in Bangladesh. To avoid sweet-making mishaps, make sure you use full cream milk powder โ€“ ideally Nido brand which can be found in Asian grocers.

Ingredients

For the Dumplings

  • 200g full cream milk powder
  • 25g plain flour
  • โ…› teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • small drop of red food colouring
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 5 tablespoons whole milk
  • 350ml vegetable oil, for deep frying

For the Syrup

  • 450g sugar

Method

In a bowl, mix together the milk powder, plain flour, bicarbonate of soda, food colouring and ghee and crumble together with your fingertips. Add the milk and knead for seven or eight minutes until you have a soft, smooth dough. Divide into eight pieces and roll each one into a slightly elongated croquette shape.

Prepare the syrup: put the sugar in a pan with 500ml water on medium heat. The pan should be smallish and not too wide -you need the syrup to be deep enough so that the sweets can be fully submerged in it. Bring the syrup to the boil and simmer for five minutes, then turn off the heat and set aside while you fry the sweets.

Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or wok on medium-high heat. You can check itโ€™s hot enough for cooking the kalojaam by dropping a small piece of bread into the oil. If is sizzles to the surface the oil is ready. Once hot, reduce the heat to low and gently slide four of the kalojaam pieces into the oil. They will double in size as they cook, so ensure that there is enough room for them to expand. Fry for five minutes or so until the kalojaam are very dark brown all over โ€“ make sure they colour evenly by gently moving them around occasionally with a fork. Repeat with the remaining four kalojaam.

When the kalojaam are almost done, turn the heat back on the syrup and bring to a simmer. Add the fried kalojaam to the syrup and cook for ten minutes. Remove them one by one from the syrup and place in a serving dish. Pour the hot syrup over the top and cool. Serve at room temperature, or chilled.