A rustic sweet from the Bengali kitchen, these are sweet potato doughnuts or gulab jamuns stuffed with a coconut, fried and soaked in cardamom scented syrup. This recipe is great for a vegan variation on gulab jamun.

Sweet Potato Gulab Jamun [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

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Ingredients

For the syrup:
  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 4 to 5 pods cardamom, bruised
For the sweet potatoes:
  • 4 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 pound)
  • 3 tablespoons rice flour
For the coconut filling:
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated coconut
  • 11/2 tablespoons sugar
Putting it together:
  • Oil for frying
  • 3 tablespoons of soy milk powder
  • Oil for frying
  • Slivered Almonds for garnishing
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Preparation

  1. Place the water, sugar and the cardamoms to boil in a heavy bottomed pot and boil for about 15 minutes until the syrup is fairly thick, about a 1/2 strand consistency. The syrup should gently coat the back of a spoon.
  2. While the syrup is cooking, pre-heat the oven and bake the sweet potatoes for 30 minutes, alternately boil until just soft. Note, the sweet potatoes can be boiled or baked ahead of time.
  3. In a heavy bottomed pan, gently cook the coconut and sugar until fragrant and sticky. Cool and shape the mixture into 10 balls. This size is between that of a raisin and a grape. Note, as I mentioned before, this filling can be skipped if desired.
  4. Peel and mash the sweet potato with the rice flour and shape into larger balls, make a deep dent and stuff with the coconut filling and cover. Take care to completely seal the balls. When complete, place in the freezer for 10 minutes
  5. Heat the oil in a heavy wok, add the balls about 3 at a time and fry in a gentle even level on medium low heat. At first let it cook undisturbed for 3 minutes, and then keep turning to allow them to turn uniformly golden. This process will take some time, but do not rush it.
  6. When the balls are crisp and uniformly browned, drain them well and place in the syrup. Let them soak for at least 15 to 20 minutes for a light coating and up to 1 hours for a richer deeper sweetness.
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