Thursday, September 17, 2009
Jalebi - Golden Coils of Happiness
Admittedly, one of the prettiest little things I made in a long time, these sweets are not only an amazing display, they are also very tasty. Unlike other fried goodies, these remain crispy due to the light caramel coating that protects them.
After searching several recipes and tweaking the dough, I realized that there isn't a fixed recipe, so bear this in mind.
The original method calls for fermentation of the batter. Well, for one, I didn't have live curd and secondly, I felt slightly intimidated by the prospect of letting cheese ferment on my counter top. So yes, I cheated a bit.
Instead of curd, I used what we call here "labane", which is in fact a yogurt based cheese. The problem is that bought "labane" doesn't have anymore live cultures and so, fermentation may not occur properly. So I gave the dough a helping hand and simply added a little baking powder and moved on to prepare them immediately..
Again, this requires individual adjustments!
250 ml of labane or curd
150 g flour
30 g corn flour
safran strands for coloring (or yellow food coloring)
5 g of baking powder
1 teaspoon of vegetable oil
vegetable oil for frying
Sugar syrup for dipping
Mix everything until there are no lumps and start heating the oil. The dough should have the consistency of pancake batter. If it's too hard, add more curd, if too liquid, add more flour.
Using a plastic bag with a cut corner or a funnel with a small opening, put the batter in and test the oil. Working in circles, try to make a small coil. It should first go to the bottom and them float to the surface seconds later. If the batter breaks off in the oil, either the oil is too hot or the batter is not consistent enough (both maybe).
Once you get the dough right, fry your jalebi on both sides, until pale golden.
Now that you have a heap of prepared jalebi, make the sugar syrup.
Mix 2 cups of water with 1 cup of sugar, let boil until it just starts to thicken. with a spoon, take a little bit, let it get cold on the spoon and touch it with the tip of your fingers. It should form a little strand, glue like.
Take each of your jalebi and dip in the warm caramel. Lay them on a griddle to cool. A delicious thin crust of caramel will form and keep you jalebi for days (if they last that long!).