Jalebi


Probably the second sweetest Indian dish (first being gulab jamun, which is just too sweet for me), but likely the most moreish Indian sweet.  Jalebi is essentially a doughnut dipped in spiced sugar syrup – long, thin strands of batter are deep fried, then soaked in syrup, then eaten warm.  Great as a treat or street food or at diwali or…seriously, good anywhere.  Here’s my home recipe:

Ingredients for the Batter:

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1 cup of plain white flour
2 tablespoons of gram flour (chickpea flour) – can be substituted for rice flour, if it’s easier to source
1 cup of plain unsweetened yoghurt (thick Greek yoghurt works well)
Additional water to make a batter
Oil for deep frying

Ingredients for the Sugar Syrup:

1 cup of white sugar
Pinch of green cardamom seeds, powdered
10 Saffron strands (or food colouring)
1 cup of water

Method:

Start by whisking your flours and yoghurt together to make a clumpy mixture.

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Add water, little by little, until you get a smooth, but thick batter (about 1/2 cup more worked for me)

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Keep whisking vigorously for 5-7 minutes more until you get ribbon like strands in your batter

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Cover and put in a warm place overnight – this allows the yoghurt batter to ferment – if you don’t have that long, add a pinch of instant yeast and leave for two hours.

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While fermenting, you can start on making your syrup.  Make sure you warm it up before soaking your fried batter.  Grind up your green cardamoms – remember, you’re only after the black seeds inside – the shells are tough as nails and won’t grind well.

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Grind to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle.

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Mix your sugar, saffron strands and cardamom in a cup of water and dissolve over a medium heat.

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The longer you leave the mixture simmering (and the more saffron you use) the richer your final colour.  Food colouring also works fine.


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Time to cook! Whisk your batter (add a tablespoon of water if it’s become thick overnight) and put it into a piping bag or, what I did, is pour it into a drink bottle.  You want something with a small nozzle.  Squeeze strands into medium-hot oil and make circular shapes as you go.  Fry gently for about 1 minute before flipping over.

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Drain your Jalebi on paper towels.

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Soak in your sugar syrup for about 2-3 minutes.

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Once all your batter is used up and Jalebis soaked, use the remaining syrup to pour over them.  Enjoy!

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