From Aloo Ki Jalebi To The Big Jaleba
Sundays with a breakfast of ‘samosa and jalebi’ are our favourite! Today, let’s dedicate this blog to gol-gol, crispy and juicy Jalebi, which, by the way, is not Indian by origin! The word ‘Jalebi,’ as discussed earlier, is derived from an Arabic word for the same dish called zulabiya (or zolbiya in Persian).
Some food historians believe that this sweet originated in Turkey and made its way to India via Tunisia. Though foreign, Jalebi is now very much a scrumptious desi mithai. Today, it’s many varieties that are relished across India.
Let us look at some of the most favoured variations of Jalebi across the country:The basic Jalebi
This is your usual maida (all-purpose flour) batter made by mixing the flour with curd and keeping it for overnight fermentation.
The batter is then poured into hot oil or ghee and the Jalebi is deep-fried before transferring it into the hot sugar syrup that is flavoured with saffron, cardamom or Gulab Jal. This Jalebi is served hot and fresh.
The name is derived from the Mughal Emperor Jahangir’s name. This kind of Jalebi is famous in the South region of India. It is made by the healthier alternative of maida, urad dal.
Ground urad dal is used for batter which makes it chewier than the basic Jalebi. It is also softer and juicier due to the texture and raw materials used. It has its own, very distinct taste and shape, and resembles a flower with a small hole in the middle.
The Indian proclivity to add the letter ‘A’ after a name to denote its king-size is the reason why Jalebi has become Jaleba in this case. This type of Jalebi is huge in size, may weigh over 250 gm and is popular in the Northern parts of India.
Made in desi ghee, Jaleba is not something one can finish by themselves. Many sweet shops are famous for making unambiguous shapes and sizes of Jalebas.
Paneer Jalebi/Chanar Jilipi
One of the most acclaimed Jalebis is the Paneer Jalebi, and much like other dishes in India, Paneer makes it tastes even better. Called Chanar Jilipi in Bengali, it is a notable sweet from East India. The batter is mixed with paneer before frying, the shape is appreciably alike a Murukku (South-Indian savoury snack).
The colour is dark brown and the taste is quite unlike the basic Jalebi. Since it’s made from paneer, its shelf life is significantly shorter.
Khoya Jalebi/Mawa Jalebi
Adding khoya to any sweet recipe apparently makes it better, it’s a fact! This preparation is brought to you from the region of Madhya Pradesh, particularly Jabalpur. Khoya or Mawa, the thickened evaporated milk, is added with a little bit of maida (that acts as a binding agent) for the batter.
The method of frying and dipping this Jalebi in the syrup is very much similar to other Jalebi preparations. The shape is rounder than the basic thin Jalebi and the colour is relatively darker.
This one looks a lot like Jangiri but has a bigger hole in the middle. It appears almost like a bangle, hence the name Kangan (bangle in Hindi).
The batter is similar to Jangiri as well, ground urad dal mixed with saffron for the flavour. Instead of maida, cornflour is used as the binding agent.
This variation originated in Bihar and the Eastern UP regions of India. Unlike your regular Jalebi, Imarti is eaten after it has been refrigerated well. It is said that the colder the Kangan, the better it tastes.
Aloo Ki Jalebi
No, you did not read that incorrectly, this one is indeed made of potatoes. Boiled potatoes are mashed and mixed with maida, curd, ghee, sugar, cardamom and/or saffron for the batter. There is also the savoury versions of this Jalebi famous in some regions of India.
The savoury kind is eaten with some chat masala sprinkled on them. The texture is super dense due to potatoes and the taste is pretty unique.
Jalebi enthusiasts have also heard of Rabdi Jalebi and Doodh Jalebi. These aren’t any variants of Jalebi, instead, two famous ways of enjoying Jalebi (with Rabdi and Doodh).
For the first combination, chilled condensed milk (Rabdi) is poured on hot Jalebis during summers. Garnishing with pistachio and almonds on top, this sweet dish is a piece of heaven in itself.
Whereas, for the second combination, during winters, you soak the Jalebis into hot milk and garnish it with some saffron. Indian weddings, in either season, are incomplete without these versions of Jalebis.
If you come across any of these seven types of Jalebis, make sure you taste them. Believe us, it will be worth the calories!