The month of September has been a busy month so far! First a week-long Disney vacation (a birthday surprise for the little imp), then came the 5 year old's birthday and now this weekend is Durga Puja. This time we are very actively involved in the prep work leading to the Pujas. Cincinnati is hosting the Tri-State Durga Puja this year which means extra workload for the host city. So everyone pitches in and helps in every way possible.
I knew I will have to take time off from blogging but wanted to make something to celebrate the festive spirit of Durga Puja. Yesterday was Mahalaya - the day of invoking Ma Durga, the day that heralds the home-coming of Goddess Durga along with her 4 children. I knew I had to make something special to mark the occasion. The 5-year old loves jilipi! And I wanted to try out this recipe for instant jilipi or instant jalebi for a long time now. Best part, there is no overnight fermentation involved and it tastes as good as the real deal!
Ingredients for the Instant Jalebis or Jilipi
- All Purpose Flour - 1/2 Cup
- Cornflour - 1 tsp
- Lemon Juice - 1/4 tsp (you can use vinegar as well, I did not)
- Yogurt - 1 tsp
- Eno Fruit Salt - 1/2 tsp ( the regular one, easily available in Indian grocery stores)
- Water - 6 to 8 tbsp (more or less, enough to make a smooth pancake like batter)
- Saffron - few strands (optional)
- Food color - orange or yellow (optional) or a pinch of turmeric
- Ghee or oil - enough for frying (ghee will make it more flavorful)
For the sugar syrup:
- Sugar - 3/4 Cup
- Water -1/3 Cup
- Cardamom Powder - a fat pinch (I added one split cardamom as well)
- Lemon Juice - 1/2 tbsp (it will prevent the syrup from crystallizing)
- Few strands of saffron (optional)
You will need a piping bag or a ketchup/mustard dispenser/squeeze bottle. I used the 'free jalebi maker' that came with the Gits Jalebi Mix - I bought the mix just so that I get the bottle.
In a small saucepan, heat the water, sugar and cardamom (plus one split cardamom) on medium heat till the sugar dissolves and it comes to a boil. Add the lemon juice and saffron strands. Lower the heat and let it simmer till the syrup reduces and thickens to a one-string consistency. Keep it aside.
Heat oil/ghee (or oil+ghee) in a pan (medium heat). In a measuring cup (it will just be easier to pour into the dispensing bottle), mix the flour with yogurt and give it a whisk. Add the cornflour, lemon juice, strands of saffron (pre-soaked in a tbsp of water) and mix well. Add the water little by little till you get a thick and smooth batter. Whisk in the food color or pinch of turmeric. Lastly, add the eno fruit salt. The moment you add the eno fruit salt, the batter will start frothing. It is very important that you add the fruit salt last. Pour the pancake-like batter (if it is too runny, it will not hold the shape while frying) into the dispensing bottle or piping bag.
Now pipe spirals of the batter onto the (medium) hot oil. Fry 2 or 3 at a time till they turn golden brown on each side. Do not overcrowd the pan or else the jalebis will not be cripsy. Drain excess oil on a paper towel and dunk the jalebis into the warm sugar syrup. Let the golden-brown spirals soak in the sugary goodness before you serve these.
Notes: These remained crispy the next day as well. We just warmed up the jalebis a little before eating the next day.
Make sure you dunk the fried jalebis in the syrup while it is still hot (and the sugar syrup warm).
The batter should be thick and not runny.
The oil should be medium hot.
I will be sending this recipe to Kolkata Food Bloggers Durga Puja Special Event - Durga Pujor Bhoori Bhoj