Jalebi is a traditional celebratory and specialty street cake in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Nepal. Made with super fine flour, sugar and yogurt—and then soaked in a hot, delectable syrup—this chewy dessert is so exquisite, it’s likely to make your favorite donuts jealous. We use saffron to create the beautiful golden color, which is appropriate given that (in some cultures) yellow is the color of joy, and that is just what your mouth will be experiencing with every delicious bite of this special Pakistani treat.
Using your fingers or a mortar and pestle, crush 3 – 5 saffron strands. Set aside for later.
Into a large mixing bowl, add the following ingredients:
all purpose flour, finely sifted (you can substitute cake or pastry flour)
chickpea flour, finely sifted
Mix all ingredients together thoroughly. Cover and set aside in a warm place to ferment for at least 2 hours (ideally 10 – 12 hours). When you see small bubbles beginning to form on the surface, you’re ready for the next step.
Transfer the fermented batter into a pastry bag with small tip (you can use an icing bag or jalebi bottle, sold in some markets).
In a wok or large skillet, heat the oil over medium-low to 350 degrees. When the oil is heated, begin squeezing batter from the pastry bag, forming small, concentric circles (or spirals). Fry until the batter turns reddish brown color.
Scoop jalebis out with a spatula and set on a paper towel lined plate to drain off excess oil.
Into a large saucepan, add the remaining water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir in the palm sugar and lower your heat to simmer. Continue simmering about 5 minutes, or until the liquid thickens into a syrup. Stir in the remainder of saffron and cardamom.
Transfer the jalebi sweets to your saucepan with hot syrup and allow them to soak for 5 minutes. Remove your sweets from the syrup and place them on a serving dish. Eat them while they’re still hot.
These yummy treats go very well with chilled and creamy delicious Firni (Pakistani Rice Pudding).