Food Escape: Jalebi
Monsoon can be aptly called the season of piping hot fried food. A cup of tea accompanied by some fried munchies equals heaven in monsoon. The usual suspects that accompany chai are samosa, onion bhajiya, batata vada or some sort of pakora. While we are busy indulging in namkeen fried food, let us turn towards some meetha as well.
A dessert that is far away from doughnuts, cookies, cakes and pies. Neither baked, not frozen. Crunchy on the outside, dunked in sugar syrup, and drips happiness with every bite- none other than, Jalebi!
A batter made from urad dal and/or rice flour- believe it or not! Gluten allergies, anyone?! The batter is gently released into hot ghee using a muslin cloth, in a circular fashion, giving jalebi its iconic spiral look. When ready, it is transferred straight from hot ghee to simple syrup where it soaks up the sweetness while maintaining the crunchy exterior.
There is no doubt that Jalebi came with Arabic traders and merchants to Indian, almost 500 years ago- say 1450 A.D. or around then. Arrived in India as Zalabiya or Jalabiya, she holds a mention in Kitab-al-Tabeekh by Mohammad-bin-Hassan. A close relative of Jalebi would be Luqmat-al-qadi. While the latter resembles a doughnut, traditionally it is made using similar ingredients as Jalebi. The only difference being that the lentils and rice are kneaded into a dough. While jalebi needs a pancake batter consistency. Royal cookbooks from 17th century A.D. describe a recipe for Jalebi as it would be done today.
When Sant Kabir was offered burfi by a Hindu, on the occasion of Diwali, some religious Muslims questioned Kabir’s piousness. A great philosopher that he was, Sant Kabir wittily replied asking if burfi is Hindu, what is Jalebi- Sunni, Shiya or Khatri?!
Watching someone make Jalebi is so satisfying! Don’t believe me? Ignore the honking in the background and enjoy this Chandani Chowk famous Jalebi video. Give diabetes a break!
Not sure about you all, but all I want now is a plate full of hot crunchy jalebis! I am rushing to the nearest halwai. If you are also drooling right now, give this post 5 stars, share with your friends and all the Jalebi lovers out there. Send us pictures of you raving on piping hot jalebis or a video of the halwai making them. Don’t forget to tag us. #metime