Syrupy Jalebi – Dessert of all seasons

It is raining Jalebis!!!! Jalebi is an Indian sweet that is especially popular during monsoons. Although consumed all year around but come monsoons, and jalebis become as commonplace as rain itself. In the months of  july, august and start of september, Jalebis presence everywhere is so strong that even the air that you breathe seems sweet.

Jalebi is a syrupy sweet that is made in shape of a circular pretzel. It is made up of maida(white flour) that is fermented overnight. This gives jalebi slight tart element that is a unique combination with sweet. The paste is deep fried in chaotic circular motion in a big wok until it is golden orange in color. It is then soaked in sugar syrup and served hot. The syrup gives it that crystal caramelized look.

Jalebi is a hot favorite on any special occasion be it a wedding, festival or a birthday party in India and other South Asian countries like Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri-anka. In an Indian wedding, jalebi is served hot with kesar doodh( Indian name for flavored milk).

It is also called as a “celebration sweet” of India because of its popularity on occasions that have great relevance for the whole nation like Independence day and Republic Day. Jalebis are freely distributed in government offices, defense and other organizations on such important days. I remember, as kids, we always used to get served hot jalebis on paper plates in the school each year on days of national importance and also on our principal madam’s birthday.

In a country like India, where plentiful varieties of sweets and desserts are available, jalebi is favored universally. Important Indian festivals like Diwali, Dushehra and Holi are almost incomplete without sinful doses of this scrumptious beautiful orange colored sweet. Moreover in India, food is a celebration in itself. People with a sweet tooth do not need any festive occasion to indulge and jalebi is something that is a part of their staple diet.

In the state of Uttar Pradesh in North India, jalebi along with accompaniment yoghurt, locally called dahi-jalebi is a popular roadside breakfast.

Popularity of jalebi is such that even Indian film fraternity i.e Bollywood is wooed by this miraculous sweet. Many female characters in blockbuster hindi movies have been named “Jalebi” time and again. Off late there has been a popular item song “Jalebi Bai” which became an instant hit amongst the masses.

Besides serving the taste buds, jalebi is known to have some medicinal properties. Grandmother’s home remedies( known as “ Daadi Maa ke nuskhe” in India ) tell us that jalebi is a potent home remedy for headaches and common cold. Place a jalebi in boiling milk and then leave it to stand for some time before eating.

However, Jalebi being high in sugar content is not recommended for people with diabetes.

Although a little tricky to make at home, but you can still try your own version by following the recipe instructions given below:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • 1/2 tea spoon baking powder
  • 1 cup yoghurt
  • Vegetable/canola/sunflower cooking oil or pure desi ghee for deep frying
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Few strands saffron
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 2 drops orange food color
  • 2 table spoons rose water

Preparation:

  • Mix the flour, baking powder and yogurt into a batter and keep aside for 24 hours to ferment. Flour yogurt ratio has to be 1:1 and consistency of the batter should be like that of pancake batter.
  • Pour batter into a ketch up dispensing bottle.
  • To make sugar syrup, melt the sugar with the rose water and boil to get a one thread like consistency. Add saffron strands and cardamom once you get the desired consistency and turn off the flame.
  • Heat the oil in a deep wok-like dish. Set the flame to high initially and bring it down to medium to ensure all round cooking of the jalebis.
  • Now using the ketchup dispenser, squeeze the batter into the hot oil in random wiggly circles. Make lots of them at one time.
  • Fry till light golden and then remove and put directly into the sugar syrup.
  • Soak for 2-3 minutes and serve hot.

Jalebi pictures

Author: Richa Arora

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