Jalebis

I've been eating these traditional Indian little treats ever since I was young and I was lucky enough to be taught the recipe from my grandma. They are notoriously difficult to make and they are not low fat in the slightest, but they taste delicious and are certainly worth a go if you love them. I don't make them often, and I always make more than I need in the hope I have a few left.

BY ANJALI PATHAK

Serves: 4 – 6 people  |  Takes: Over 1 hour

I’ve been eating these traditional Indian little treats ever since I was young and I was lucky enough to be taught the recipe from my grandma. They are notoriously difficult to make and they are not low fat in the slightest, but they taste delicious and are certainly worth a go if you love them. I don’t make them often, and I always make more than I need in the hope I have a few left.

Ingredients

500g plain white flour (or maida flour)
good pinch of saffron
6 green cardamom pods
750g caster sugar
juice of ½ lime
ghee for frying

Method

  1. Sieve the flour in a bowl and start adding water, a little at a time, until you get a thick creamy consistency.
  2. Cover and leave the bowl in a warm place to ferment. Little bubbles will form on the surface.
  3. In a small frying pan gently heat the saffron to release its aromatic oils. Gently move it around so that is doesn’t stick and burn.
  4. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. In the meantime, coarsely crush the green cardamom to release the seeds.
  5. In a pan heat the sugar with around a pint of water to form a sugar syrup. Carefully remove the froth that forms on the top. The sugar syrup should be crystal clear.
  6. Crush the saffron between your fingers and add to the syrup.
  7. Once it has thickened (it will leave a line when you drizzle it) turn off the heat and add the crushed green cardamom pods.
  8. Heat the ghee in a large pan, enough for deep frying.
  9. Check the batter has fermented and beat a few times with a wooden spoon.
  10. Cut a small hole, around 1cm in diameter, in a piping bag. Carefully fill with some batter. Check the hole is large enough for batter to pass through but not too large so too much pours at once.
  11. Check the ghee is heated enough by dropping in a little batter. It should turn golden brown after a minute or so.
  12. Begin drawing circles (like the picture) gently squeezing the batter through the piping bag. You need to be quick or you won’t have crispy jalebis.
  13. Make around 4 or 5 before carefully turning them over (be careful they’ll be brittle) and allow to colour golden brown on both sides.
  14. Carefully remove and allow the excess ghee to drip off before plunging them into the warm saffron sugar syrup.
  15. Allow to steep for a few minutes before removing and serving wonderfully warm. You can get on making the rest whilst these are soaking up the goodness.
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