Jalebis

Serves: 4 - 6 people

Difficulty: Advanced

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

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

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 pan or spoon 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 before adding 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 fermented batter and beat a few times.

10. Cut a small hole, around 1cm in diameter, in a white cloth. Carefully fill it with some batter and gather up the edges to form a bundle. 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 a little bit of batter in there. It should turn golden brown after a minute or so.

12. Begin drawing circles (like the picture) gently squeezing the batter through the cloth bundle, starting with the outer circles and moving inwards. This is very tricky and you need to be quick.

13. Make around 4 or 5 before putting the raw batter back in the bowl. Allow to cook until golden brown on both sides. Be careful when turning them as they will be brittle.

14. Carefully remove them and allow the excess ghee to drip off before plunging them into the 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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