Holi, ‘The festival of colors’ is just a couple of days away and this time in addition to making hubby’s favorite Holi-mithai i.e Gujiya, I decided to give a certain recipe a try, around which I had been dragging my heels for quite some time. Holi is the Indian festival that marks the beginning of Spring season, celebrated with various colors wet and dry, smeared on your family and friends for good fun. Usually on Holi, every household prepares a feast that contains a variety of sweet treats to share with loved ones after the ‘playing with colors’ part gets over. This time I decided to make Jalebis for my private Holi celebration.
Jalebi is a very indulging and extremely popular dessert of India, and it is a hot favorite for all the major festivals celebrated in our country. They can be best described as the spiral shaped crispy, melt-in-the-mouth syrupy sweet-treats that are a bit similar to the funnel cakes.
There have only been 2 times in my blogging time-line when I have taken the liberty of secretly patting myself on the back for my cooking. Once was last year when I made ‘pooris’ for the Pani-poori at home from scratch, and the second time was today, when I made a successful batch of hot, crispy Jalebis for the Holi week.
Hubby and I belong to a town in central India called Indore. In Indore we eat, pray, love and breathe a favorite combination of two delicious breakfast items- POHA-JALEBI! You go to any food-joint/stall/cart in Indore in the morning, and you are sure to find a crowded corner around a person selling freshly made Poha-Jalebi. So, this morning when I saw hubby gobbling up Jalebi after Jalebi with his plateful of poha and a hot cup of tea, I knew that I had passed the litmus test of making Jalebis. Mind you, he is a very tough critic and the fact that he enjoyed them so much made me very very happy!
I won’t hide from you the fact that making Jalebis is tricky. The batter part is a child’s play but boy oh boy, the frying part- where you have to quickly make concentric circles in hot oil……it’s not easy. It took me 5-6 disastrous attempts before I could make a decent Jalebi. So yes, it might take you a bit of time to get a hang of it, but I always say this- if I can do it….anyone can!
So give this sweet recipe a go friends, and wish you all a very Happy Holi in advance! xx
For the Batter:
- 1 cup Plain flour (Maida)
- 2 tsp besan (chickpea flour)
- 1 tsp Cornstarch
- 1 tsp yeast
- A few drops of edible orange food color
- 1 tbsn hot ghee (clarified butter)
- 1tsp sugar
- Lukewarm water as needed, about 1/3 cup
For the sweet Syrup:
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- ½ tsp cardamom powder
- Few strands of saffron
- 1 tbsn lemon juice
- Oil to fry
- To make the batter: In a deep bowl, combine your 1 tsp sugar, 1 tsp yeast and about 3 tbsn lukewarm water. Mix well and set aside for 10 minutes.
- Once you see a frothy layer on the surface of your yeast mixture, add in it your flour, chickpea flour, cornstarch, orange food color and hot ghee.
- Pouring your lukewarm water little by little, combine all the ingredients in a batter of pourable consistency which is neither too thin nor too thick.
- With a whisk, beat the batter for around a minute till all the lumps are gone and the batter seems light and fluffy!
- Cover the bowl with a plate and keep in a warm place in your kitchen for 1 hour.
- After the short fermentation time, you will see that the batter will be quite lacy and will also have a few bubbles on its surface. It means you are going absolutely the right way. Transfer in a piping bag or an empty ketchup bottle and set aside.
- Next make the sweet syrup or ‘chashni’ for your jalebis! In a sauce-pan, combine your water and sugar and put on heat, at medium flame.
- Throw in your saffron strands and cardamom powder. Keep stirring at regular intervals.
- Once your syrup comes to a ‘1 string consistency’ , switch off the gas and pour in the fresh lemon juice. This will prevent the crystallization in your syrup. Mix well and keep covered so that it stays warm for the coming Jalebis.
- Now comes the challenging part- frying the spiral shaped Jalebis! Heat the oil on medium-low flame.
- Drop in a tiny bit of batter, when you think the oil is hot enough. The batter droplet should sizzle for a couple of seconds before coming to the surface. That’s when you know that the oil is at perfect temperature. If it immediately comes to the surface and balloons up, that means your oil is too hot and has to be cooled down a bit!
- Squeezing the piping bag or ketchup bottle from the bottom of the bottle/bag, keep the pressure on with your palm and starting from the outside to the center, create concentric circles to form 1 jalebi.
- Let it fry on one side for a few seconds, and as soon as you are sure that it will hold the shape nicely, flip it to fry for a few seconds on the other side. Note that you should not fry it for a longer time or you will lose the orange color and will get a brown color instead. Also, it won’t taste as good! So a Jalebi needs only around half a minute on each side.
- With a pair of tongs, take the Jalebi out of the oil and immediately transfer to the warm syrup. Let it stay there for 3-4 minutes and after that, transfer it to a plate to cool.
- Prepare all your jalebis this way! Enjoy with milk, rabri, poha or as it is!
- Traditional recipe call for the jalebis to be fried in ghee, but as the recipe is indulging enough with flour, sugar and the deep-frying, I did not want to make it shockingly unhealthy by frying them in ghee. You can opt for either and even half & half of ghee and oil.
- While creating spirals in the oil, it is essential that you do not stop putting pressure on the bottle/piping bag for even a second till the final shape is achieved. Releasing the pressure breaks the string of batter and therefore breaks the concentric circles you need in the jalebis. Also, I found that holding the bottle from the bottom and putting the pressure from your palms instead of your fingers really makes this task easy. Try it and let me know if i am right or totally bonkers!