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:
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
Start by whisking your flours and yoghurt together to make a clumpy mixture.
Add water, little by little, until you get a smooth, but thick batter (about 1/2 cup more worked for me)
Keep whisking vigorously for 5-7 minutes more until you get ribbon like strands in your batter
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.
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.
Grind to a fine powder in a mortar and pestle.
Mix your sugar, saffron strands and cardamom in a cup of water and dissolve over a medium heat.
The longer you leave the mixture simmering (and the more saffron you use) the richer your final colour. Food colouring also works fine.
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.
Drain your Jalebi on paper towels.
Soak in your sugar syrup for about 2-3 minutes.
Once all your batter is used up and Jalebis soaked, use the remaining syrup to pour over them. Enjoy!