The Street Food Project: Jalebi
Jalebi according to me is the Indian equivalent of funnel cake. It is still very different though but both recipes share the part where a batter is deep fried in circular shapes. Jalebi is then soaked in a sugar syrup and served warm. Its one of the most popular sweet street food in India which is consumed both in the mornings (for breakfast) and in the evening. Its eaten throughout the country and however more popular in South Asia, you will also find it being sold in the Middle East…more commonly known as Zalabia.
The batter is made with flour, rice flour, and water infused with saffron and is left aside to ferment for a few hours. It is then transferred into a piping bag or you will actually see a big variety of make do utensils for the piping purpose at various vendors – some examples would be a coconut shell, a cloth with a hole in the center (most common), a can with a hole punched at the bottom etc. Its fried in circular shapes till it reaches a golden color on both sides. Once fried, Jalebi is transferred directly into a simple syrup flavored with cardamom where it sits for 4 to 5 minutes before being served. The sugar syrup turns it into a sticky, crispy warm goodness. I enjoy it occasionally but I do know people who are really fond of eating Jalebis on a regular basis.It is also one of the few vegan Indian desserts.
Its a tricky recipe that needs practice but Prerna from Indian Simmer has done a great job of making Jalebi at home. You can look at her recipe and technique for making Jalebis at: http://www.indiansimmer.com/2012/03/jalebi-recipe-announcing-indian-food.html