Jalebis are the quintessential Indian dessert. No one can resist a plate of the hot stuff. No wonder its called the ‘Celebration Sweet of India’!!
A kind of donut, origins of Jalebi can be traced back to ancient India, where it was called Kundalika or Jal-vallika (being full of syrup, which is watery; hence the name). In later dialects of Sanskrit, Jal-vallika became Jalebi which likely arrived in the middle east during the period of Muslim rule, through cultural diffusion and trade from the Indian subcontinent, and its local name Jalebi became Zalebi as Z is more common in middle-eastern languages.
Here’s a fuss- free recipe I discovered. Try it once and you will never want to buy Jalebis again!
Prep Time: 5 minutes plus 30 minutes fermentation time
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Makes approx 35 jalebis
All-Purpose Flour – 1 cup
Cardamom Powder – 1/8 tsp
Quick Rise Yeast – 1 tsp
Corn Starch – 2 tsp
Oil – 1 tsp
Yogurt – 1 Tbsp
Warm Water – 3/4 cup
Sugar – 1 1/4 cups
Water – 1 cup
Saffron – pinch
Lemon Juice – 1 tsp
Cardamom Powder – 1/4 tsp
1. In a mixing bowl, add All-purpose Flour, Cardamom Powder, Rapid Rise Yeast and Corn Starch. Mix thoroughly.
2. Add Oil, Yogurt and Water and whisk well until there are no lumps… (…and the batter starts looking like the dog regurgitated)
3. In a larger bowl or pot, add very warm water and place the mixing bowl with the batter inside the larger bowl.Cover the larger bowl and allow the batter to rest for 30 minutes.
4. After the batter has been resting for 15 minutes, start on the syrup and start to pre-heat oil for frying the jalebi.
5. Syrup: In a heavy bottom pan, add Water, Sugar and Saffron. Cook for 15 minutes on medium heat or until the temperature reaches 200F/95C.
6. Reduce flame to a low simmer and add Cardamom Powder and Lemon Juice. Mix.
7. Mix the fermented jalebi batter well and put it in a ketchup or mustard bottle with a spout (zipper bag or piping bag can be used).
8. Squeeze out the batter into the hot oil in approximately 8 small circular motions. Jalebi should about 2-3 inches in diameter.
9. Fry until the bottom side looks golden and flip once to cook the other side.
10. With tongs, remove jabebi, shake off excess oil and place directly into sugar syrup.
11. Allow jalebi to remain in the syrup for just a minute (flipping to coat both sides), shake off excess sugar syrup and place onto a plate.
12. Continue frying remaining jalebis. I had a lot of fun after the first batch had been done with various shapes and doodles. I made spectacles, houses, trees, clouds and many such things.
13. Enjoy them hot for optimal taste or allow them to cool and store in a container with a tight fitting lid. Jalebis will remain fresh for 4-5 days unrefrigerated.
NOTE: About mid way through the frying process, turn off the stove for the sugar syrup so that it does not become too thick.