If you’ve grown up in India, particularly in the north, I’m sure you have fond memories associated with Kala Khatta. I am no exception. As a child and then as a teenager and young adult, I used to adore the sweet and sour Kala Khatta, which typically had a hint of spice to it. I still have a soft spot for it. 🙂 Kala Khatta ice golas and sherbet were among the things most looked forward to by the kids of the 80s and 90s in their summer holidays, and I remember rushing to have my fill of these the minute my final exams were done and dusted. However, did you know that the Kala Khatta is traditionally made using jamuns aka java plums?
It is the season for jamuns now, and markets all over Bangalore are flooded with the lovely, purple-black fruit. It is a pleasure biting into a ripe jamun, the slightly sweet, slightly sour flesh meeting your tastebuds. We usually love eating jamuns on their own, but this season, I tried using them to make some Home-Made Kala Khatta Syrup this season – an immensely successful experiment that I’m so very glad I undertook.
Java plums are chock-full of health benefits as, probably, a lot of us already know. I’m not sure how many of these health benefits are retained in the Kala Khatta syrup but, oh my God, it’s brilliant! Also, making it at home ensures that you know exactly what is going into it. A bit of mindful indulgence once in a while doesn’t hurt, eh?
I followed Sunanyna Gupta’s recipe for the Home-Made Kala Khatta Syrup, with a few little variations of my own. We have been treasuring the bottle of syrup I made a while back, relishing it in various forms, from sherbet to popsicles. I love just how versatile it is!
Now, without further ado, let’s check out the proceedure for Home-Made Kala Khatta Syrup or Java Plum Syrup.
Ingredients (makes about 250 ml of concentrated syrup):
- 15-18 plump java plums
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups water
- Black salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon roasted cumin powder or to taste
- Juice of 1 lemon or to taste
- Wash the java plums well under running water. Drain out all the water.
- Place the dried java plums in a large mixing bowl. Squeeze them with your hands to get all the pulp out of them. Discard all the seeds. You should get about 1 cup of java plum pulp.
- Adding a little water at a time, extract all the juice out of the java plums. Add this to the pulp. Keep aside.
- Take the water in a large pan, and place it on high flame. Add the sugar to it. Cook on high flame till the sugar is completely dissolved in the water, and the syrup comes to a boil. This should take 4-5 minutes.
- At this stage, reduce the flame to medium. Add the java plum puree to the pan. Cook on medium flame for about 2 minutes or till the syrup slightly thickens. Switch off gas.
- Add in the black salt, roasted cumin powder and lemon juice. Mix well.
- Let the syrup cool down fully before transferring it to a clean, dry, air-tight bottle. Store refrigerated.
1. You may also cook the java plums first, then squeeze out all the juice from them. That’s the procedure I followed while making this grape squash.
2. Adjust the quantity of sugar, black salt, lemon juice and roasted cumin powder as per individual taste preferences.
3. You can strain the pulp before cooking it. I didn’t.
4. Don’t overcook the sugar syrup, as it will become overly thick then. Just let the sugar get completely dissolved in the water, and then come to a boil. You should add in the java plum puree to the pan at this stage.
5. Stored hygienically and refrigerated, the Home-Made Kala Khatta Syrup stays well for at least a couple of months. However, for the sake of freshness, I prefer using it up within 10 days or so.
6. This Kala Khatta syrup can be used in various ways. Chilled water can be mixed to it to make Jamun Sherbet. It can also be used as a topping for ice cream and other desserts. It can be slightly diluted, poured into popsicle moulds and frozen. It can also be poured over ice shavings, to make home-made gola.
Do try out this Home-Made Java Plum Syrup too, while the fruit is still in season! I’m pretty sure you will love it.
I’m linking this recipe to Fiesta Friday #281. Do hop over to see the other interesting recipes there!