Jilipi – The Bengali Jalebi

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Kochuri and jilipi is a match made in heaven. The ultimate Bengali breakfast consists of those too things, and of course a cup of piping hot tea. To me jilipi are supposed to be eaten while still warm and crunchy. So, during my visits to India one of the most important jobs my uncle has is to search for the perfect jilipis from the neighborhood sweet shop. Yes, much to the surprise of many who are not from Bengal, even though Bengalis are born with a sweet tooth we do rarely make sweets at home, of course pithe is a special kind.
The abundance of sweet shops in every neighborhood is one of the main reasons of not making sweets at home. Settling a few thousand miles away from where you grew up, that privilege has been taken away now. So, whenever the sweet cravings hit me hard, there is nothing much to do but to get in the kitchen and start making it, be that rasogolla, sandesh or just jalebis.

I got the idea from this recipe from Aysha’s recipe blog. A very straight forward recipe, and if you have the patience to fry batches of the spiral jalebis them you are definitely going to nail it. It will surely take some time to master those perfect two and a half spirals for the perfect jalebis, but till then this taste will bring back a lot of memories.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour/maida
2 tablespoon rice flour
2 tablespoon plain yogurt
Pinch of baking soda
Yellow food coloring, optional
1 cup sugar
I teaspoon lemon juice
Vegetable or canola oil for frying

To make the syrup, in a thick bottom pan add the sugar, a cup of water and 1/4 teaspoon food coloring if using, let it boil for 4-5 minutes. It will be a one string consistency. Pour in the lemon juice, keep aside and let it cool
In a bowl add the maida, rice flour, yogurt and some food color and whisk with a wire whisk or fork. Pour in about 1/2 cup of water and whisk till you get a smooth batter. Put in the baking soda.
The batter should be a bit runny but not too much. Pour the batter in an empty ketchup bottle or a piping bag with a #2 or #3 tip
Heat oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Slowly pour the batter in a spiral. Fry for about a minute on each side, or till it gets lightly browned on both sides.
With a slotted spoon, take the jilipi out of the oil and dunk in the sugar syrup. Keep in the sugar syrup just till you are ready to add the next batch to the syrup.

Notes: Add the baking soda right before you start frying.
The rice flour makes the jilipis extra crispy, you can skip it if you don’t want the jilipis to be too crispy.
If you want to store for later, then don’t soak them in the syrup.
You can also add some saffron strands and pistachios as garnish to add flavor
To add richness to the jalebis, fry them in ghee instead of oil

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5 thoughts on “Jilipi – The Bengali Jalebi

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