Synopsis: Meet this international girl, Jalebi, and her entire family, who won many Indian hearts, and read about her journey through diverse India.
Yes, you read it right! I can imagine the exact reaction on your face because that was my reaction when I found out that Jalebi is not Indian.
I recall this school incident of mine. My friend and I participated in the quiz competition. So, since we were playing as a team, we were asked this question. Is Jalebi an Indian delicacy? And we, considering ourselves very smart, said Yes, and that too with great confidence. And, today I come to know that it isn’t. I wonder what knowledge that teacher of mine had, as she also said that it is true. Anyway, let’s come back to Jalebi. Let’s take a tour of Jalebi and find out where it came from. Oh! By the way, happy reading, along with drooling.
The birthplace of Jalebi:
Jalebi is said to have originated in Western Asia, where people call it Zalabiya or Zolabiya. The other spelling is Zulabiya.
History/Itihaas of Jalebi:
Zalabiya was mentioned by a 13th-century writer, Muhammad bin Hasan al-Baghdadi, in his cookbook, ‘Kitab al-Tabeeekh.” This way our famous jalebis travelled to India. The word “Jalebi” is the local accent version of “Zalabiya.”
Then comes the 14th century, when Jalebi got another identity as a dish of the rich and festivities. The mention was in a famous Jain script, Priyamkarnrpakatha, by a writer named Jinasura. And so, Jalebi is associated with feelings of festiveness and togetherness.
In the 16th century, a famous book named “Bhojana Kutuhala” mentioned the Jalebi. The book is all about food recipes and science.
A Sanskrit work titled “Gunyagunabodhini” also has a noteworthy mention of Jalebi.
So, there is a whole big history of Jalebi that we are aware of now. Let us now focus on the different names and avatars of Jalebi, or the so-called “family Jalebi.” The small and sweet family that received love from the entire world.
Different names of Jalebi:
Jalebi, to date, has received many different names like Jilbi, Zelapi, Jahangiri, Jilapir Pak, Zoolbia, Eri, etc.
Different Avatars of Jalebi:
Every dish has its avatars that have been transformed over time. One such sweet is Jalebi. Jalebi has got different types depending on the traditions and styles. So, let’s take a look at the avatars of Jalebi.
Jalebi: A popular Indian dessert that is made using Maida and Sugar syrup which is served during festivals and occasions. Depending on different regions, the sweet dish is served with different pairings. This sweet with a thin crust tastes best when it’s hot. If kept for too long, it loses its crunch and becomes soft.
Jaleba: Have you ever seen a king-sized Jalebi that is very thick? Yes, that is the fat cousin of our very own Jalebi. This fat cousin weighs from 250 grams to 500 grams and is fried in pure desi ghee—a very popular North Indian delicacy that you must try.
Jangiri: Jalebi is a North-Indian delicacy that has many names like Amriti, Emarti, Jahangir and Omriti. The main difference in the names lies because of their existence in different regions of India. However, the people of Kerala named it Jangiri. Jalebi is prepared using all-purpose flour, this Jalebi’s cousin, Jangiri is prepared using Urad Dal and is shaped like a flower. So, the next time you see a flower-shaped Jalebi anywhere, then you know what it is.
Paneer Jalebi: This dense cousin of Jalebi is settled in east, Bengal or Odisha to be more precise. It is also known as Chanar Jalebi. As the name goes, this Jalebi is prepared using Paneer. Why dense cousin? Because the Paneer Jalebi is brown and tastes very different. So, these are the avatars of Jalebi and trust me they all taste very different yet mouth-watering. They cannot be resisted. Oh, the word taste reminds me of various combinations of eating Jalebi.
Let’s go and find out.
Jalebi and Rabdi: Okay! I realise that you are drooling right now. Of course, the combination itself is enough for that. Imagine yourself eating the hot Jalebis along with chilled Rabdi. Heavenly right? If you haven’t tried this combination, then you have no right to call yourself a foodie.
Jalebi and Milk: You definitely must have got that gallantry in you, if you have tried this calorie-rich combination. Kudos to you guys if you have tried this combination. The combination tastes amazing, especially because the Jalebis are doused in a glass full of warm milk. A popular tradition is also being followed by the people in the parts of Uttar Pradesh of starting their day with doodh Jalebi.
Jalebi and Fafda: A shout-out to all the Gujaratis. We definitely must thank the Gujaratis for this flavour bomb combination of Jalebi and Fafda. The combination also includes chutney and raw papaya salad with it. Also, the combination is highly in demand during festivals, especially Diwali! But, you can also make this a part of your breakfast, just like how many Gujaratis do.
Jalebi and Indori Poha: So, this is an interesting story. I was in Indore for some work. The work was just for three days, but I decided to stay for a few more days and explore the city. I visited every tourist place, ate the famous-local food, took all the cliche pictures, and everything. But, when I came back and shared the experience with my friend, he with no interest in listening to my story, asked me did I eat the Jalebi and Indori Poha combination. And, I was like No. And after that, these were his words, “Marja Tu, Waha Jaake Jalebi and Indori Poha nahi khaya toh kya khaya?” So, don’t let this happen to you and do try this combination. Also, let me know how it was, as I didn’t try.
Jalebi and Curd: A popular combination that can be seen in the plates of different cities of Uttar Pradesh during breakfast. Oops! Not only in UP, but the combination received love from Bihar, Punjab, and Haryana as well. Sounds like a yucky combination, but tastes amazing. The Jalebis dunked in sweetened Dahi. OMG! This combination can do wonders in our mouths. I know, I know, I left your mouth drooling with these combinations, but, this drooling doesn’t stop here! Let’s just get into the recipe part. I am sharing the three recipes of the main avatars of Jalebi which will surely tempt you to the next level. You will be left with no option but to make them as soon as you finish reading!
The main avatar itself. Jalebi is a famous sweet dish that tastes heavenly. Hot, crispy Jalebis when served with cold Rabdi tastes very amazing. So, read the recipe given below and start making the Jalebis.
3 cups Maida (all-purpose flour)
2 cups thickened yoghurt (curd)
1/2 cup ghee
3 cups sugar
5-6 saffron strands
1/2 teaspoon powdered green cardamom (elaichi powder)
1/2 cup corn flour
1 or 1/2 pinch baking soda
2 cups sunflower oil
3 cups water
4 drops of rose essence
Making of Jalebi:
To make these Jalebis, start by making the batter. For that, take a bowl, and add maida, corn flour, and baking soda. Mix well and then add ghee to it. Mix again and then add curd and water to the mixture. Keep mixing until the batter gets thickened. Keep it aside for 8 hours or overnight.
Now preparing of the syrup. To prepare the syrup, take a pan and heat water in it. Keeping the flame medium, bring the water to a boil and then add sugar to it. Mix well until the sugar gets dissolved completely. Once the syrup attains a one-string consistency, add saffron, elaichi powder, and rose essence. Mix well and then switch off the gas.
Now, take a kadai and heat the oil in it. Meanwhile, take a muslin cloth and make a cone shape of it. Then, fill the Jalebi batter in it. Make a small hole in the cloth to pipe out the Jalebis.
Place the cloth over the kadai, and pipe out the Jalebis in the heated oil. Fry the Jalebis until crisp and golden.
Once the Jalebis are deep-fried, soak them in the sugar syrup for at least 2-3 minutes. The sugar syrup should be warm and not too hot. After 2-3 minutes, remove the Jalebis from the syrup and serve them hot or with rabdi poured over.
Recipe- Paneer Jalebi/ Chanar Jalebi
This is the dense cousin of Jalebi that is made using Paneer. Also, known as Chanar Jalebi, this avatar of Jalebi is just yummy. Here’s a recipe to make this Chanar Jalebi.
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour (Maida)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
300 grams of paneer
4 teaspoons milk
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon powdered green cardamom
6-7 strands of saffron
Water as required
Oil or ghee for frying
Making of Chanar Jalebi:
To make these Chanar Jalebis, in a bowl, mix maida, baking powder, paneer, and water to it. Knead into a dough. Add milk and then again knead into the soft dough.
Put the Chanar Jalebi batter in a plastic bag or zip-lock plastic bag or muslin cloth, and keep it aside.
Take a kadai and heat the oil or ghee in it on a low flame. Till the ghee gets heated, meanwhile, let’s prepare the sugar syrup. Take a pan and heat enough water and then add sugar, elaichi powder, and saffron strands. Mix well and let the mixture come to a boil. Once the mixture thickens or attains one string consistency, switch off the gas.
Now, the ghee is heated. Place the plastic bag over the kadai and pin out the Jalebi in the ghee and fry them until golden. Remove the Jalebis from the ghee and place it inside the sugar syrup.
Let it stay for about 1 minute and then serve them hot. Yummy and tempting Paneer Jalebi is all ready to relish with everyone.
A flower-shaped delicacy that is very easy to make. A cousin of Jalebi that is made using Urad Dal and Rice. Here’s the recipe to make these Imartis.
1 cup split Urad Dal
1/4 cup rice
Orange-red colour as required
5 cups sugar
A pinch of Saffron
6-7 drops of rose essence
One teaspoon of elaichi powder
Oil or ghee for frying
Making of Imarti/Jangiri:
To make the delicious Imarti/Jangiri, you need to first soak Urad Dal and rice in enough water for about 40-45 minutes. Drain all the water and grind both of them together. Add a pinch of food color and mix well.
Add one cup of water to the mixture and grind again. Make sure that the consistency of the batter is soft and spongy. Also, the batter should be thin. Now, time to make sugar syrup. Heat water in a bowl and add sugar to it and stir well. Now add saffron, rose essence, and elaichi powder. Let the syrup come to a boil. When the syrup is of single-thread consistency, switch off the gas.
Now heat ghee in a Kadai on a slow flame. As the oil is heated, pin out the Jalebis. To get the same shape as Imarti, make a small circle. Then around that circle make another circle and over these two circles, make borders in an anti-clockwise direction in such a way that it ends at the starting point. The Jalebi should be flower shaped.
Make the Imartis in batches and then dip them in the sugar syrup. Let it stay for about one minute. Now place the Imarti on a plate and serve them hot.
So, that’s it! Here are the Jalebi recipes that are worth trying and also, do not forget the combinations. Do try these avatars of Jalebi and the bomb combinations that I have mentioned above. Happy eating!