I can't remember where I first saw a magical window display of jalebi, but I do remember my reaction, which was somewhere along the lines of, "What are those crazy things?" and then, "I should probably buy a few and figure it out." As it turned out these red-orange whirls of fried dough doused in sugar syrup were just as delicious as they were beautiful, somewhere in between a funnel cake and gulab jamun.
This was one of the recipes that I was most looking forward to trying in Sephi Bergerson's Street Food of India, especially figuring out how to make perfect concentric swirls of batter in hot oil. Alas, frying up perfect jalebi takes a bit of practice—mine were closer in appearance to tangled ball of yarn. But aside from their slightly wonky shapes my jalebi tasted spot on. The texture was perfect: spongy centers soaked through with syrup and slightly crystallized with sugar on the outside.
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Street Food of India to give away this week.
- Yield:4 to 6
- 6 tablespoons refined flour (maida)
- 2 tablespoons gram (chickpea) flour (besan)
- 2 tablespoons yogurt
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- Vegetable oil for deep frying
Mix the refined flour, gram flour, yogurt, oil and water together and let it ferment overnight.
Make the syrup with the water and sugar until a one-string consistency is achieved. Keep aside.
Heat the oil in a flat pan. Beat the mixture thoroughly and pack it in a plastic bag. Cut a small hole in one corner and slowly press the bag over the hot oil. Try to make 6 centimeter whirls starting from the outer ring and ending at the center. Fry until both sides are crisp. To turn over, use a steel or bamboo skewer. Remove gently with tongs and drain.
Soak them in sugar syrup for about 4 minutes and then remove. Serve hot.