Tomorrow marks the beginning of Diwali (दिवाली), the “festival of lights”, a 5-day Indian festival that celebrates the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness. Light is the symbol of the celebrations, so much so that many candles and oil lanterns are lit during the 5 days of the festival. Another very important part of Diwali is the Goddess Lakshmi puja (worship). Lakshmi symbolizes wealth and prosperity and during the puja her blessings are invoked for a good year ahead. My husband and I are not hindus, but I love the meaning behind this festivity and I think it is “universal” and one that we can all easily relate to, so I decided we too should celebrate Diwali. And it was great that my eldest daughter’s teachers had the same idea and they are celebrating Diwali in her pre-school too! Today she came back home excited and with henna on her hands! As part of our celebrations, I will be making an Indian meal tomorrow and then I will be serving these Jalebi (जलेबी). I must admit that I do not have a very big sweet tooth (unlike the rest of the family), but I cannot resist Jalebi… no matter how sweet they are. There is something irrisistable about biting into a crunchy round of fried dough, sticky with syrup, and finding some more syrup inside it. They are so good! I find it hard to stop at one! They are quite easy to make at home. I make them the classic way (without yeast) and I leave the batter to ferment overnight as I find that jalebi made like this are much more crunchy! Follow the steps below to make some and join in the celebration of light!
दिवाली की शुभकामनाएं to everyone who celebrates!
- 100 gms – 3.5 oz. maida or all purpose flour
- 30 gms – 1 oz. cornflour
- 245 gms – 1 cup yogurt
- 1 tbsp warm vegetable oil
- 1 pinch saffron colour (or red and yellow)
- More vegetable oil for frying
- In a bowl, whisk well the yogurt, maida/all purpose flour and cornflour.
- Add the food colour and the warm vegetable oil. Whisk until well combined. Your batter has to be the consistency of pancake batter.
- Cover it with cling wrap and set it aside (at room temperature) for 24 hours to ferment.
- The following day, make the syrup. Put the sugar, water and saffron in a pot and heat on the fire. Bring to a boil and let it simmer on a medium flame for 15 minutes or until the syrup starts to become sticky.
- Add lemon juice and cardamom powder and mix well. Keep it aside (but keep it warm).
- Heat some vegetable oil to deep fry your jalebi, but use a pan that is not very deep. This will help you give the jalebi a nice round shape. Also, make sure your oil is not too hot (or your jalebi will break) and not too cold (or you will end up with soggy jalebi). I find that heating it to 130°C to 140°C (265°F to 285°F) is the perfect temperature to make nice round shapes.
- Whisk the fermented batter for a couple of minutes and then use it to fill a piping bag fitted with a plain 5 mm – 0.2 inches round tip (or a ketchup bottle).
- Press the batter in the warm oil in a circular movement, increase the flame and fry till golden brown colour.
- Remove the jalebi from the oil, drain them and immediately dip them in the warm sugar syrup for a minute.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.