Jalebi Recipe

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1 litre vegetable oil, for deep-frying
flaked almonds or finely chopped pistachios, to serve
200g caster sugar
small pinch of saffron
1⁄4 tsp green cardamom powder, or use regular ground cardamom
1 tsp lemon juice
125g plain flour
2 tbsp cornflour
1⁄2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp natural yogurt
1⁄2 tsp turmeric, or a few drops of natural yellow food colouring
1 tbsp ghee
1⁄4 tsp baking powder
1⁄4 tsp bicarbonate of soda


First, make the syrup. Put the sugar and 100ml water in a pan set over a medium heat. When the sugar has dissolved, add the saffron and bring to the boil. Continue to boil for 5-6 mins until thickened and syrupy – the consistency should be like honey. Remove from the heat and add the cardamom and lemon juice – the lemon juice prevents the sugar crystallising. Set aside.

For the batter, put all the ingredients except the baking powder and bicarb, in a large bowl. Slowly add 150ml water and whisk for a few minutes until smooth, then add the baking powder and bicarb and stir well – it should be as thick as pancake batter. Pour into a squeeze bottle with a narrow tip, or spoon into a piping bag and snip off the tip so you have a small opening. Pour the oil into a large heavy-bottomed saucepan until it’s no more than two-thirds full and heat to 170-180C, or until a drop of the batter sizzles when added.

Carefully squeeze or pipe swirls of the batter directly into the hot oil – do this in batches (you should be able to fry four or five at once). Fry for 1-2 mins on each side until golden. Remove the jalebi with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain, then, while still warm, dip in the syrup using tongs or a fork, turning to coat. Sprinkle over the flaked almonds or chopped pistachios. Serve straightaway or leave to cool.

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