"Jalebi is my favourite sweet treat. It’s so crispy, and I just adore the fragrant syrup it’s soaked in. I like to think my inner child created this recipe as a contrast to the warm weather during Diwali – so we can cool off with a delicious jalebi ice-cream sandwich.”
- For the spiced syrup:
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 t lemon juice
- 5 crushed cardamom (elachi) pods
- 1 pinch saffron
- For the jalebi batter:
- 125 g cake flour
- ½ t yellow food colouring
- ½ t bicarbonate of soda
- 16 g Maizena
- 120 ml plain yoghurt
- 120 ml water (more if needed)
- 1 t lemon juice
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- For the filling:
- Vanilla ice cream
- Roasted pistachios, chopped
- Gold leaf (optional)
1. To make the syrup, add the sugar and water to a non-stick pot, and stir.
2. Boil on medium heat until it reaches a one-thread consistency. You can check this by placing a few drops of the syrup in a small bowl and allowing it to cool, then holding the syrup between your thumb and forefinger, and spreading them. If a single small thread is formed, your syrup is ready.
3. Add the lemon juice, crushed cardamom pods and saffron, remove from the heat, and set aside to infuse. Note: if the syrup crystallises, add a little water and place back on the heat.
4. To make the batter, add the cake flour, food colouring, bicarbonate of soda and Maizena to a mixing bowl, and whisk until combined.
5. Add the yoghurt and mix in, then add the water and lemon juice and whisk until the batter is smooth. You’re looking for a batter that is thick but flowing. If it needs more water, add a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the correct consistency.
6. Pour the batter into a squeeze bottle to ensure your jalebis cook consistently.
7. Heat the oil on medium heat. To make sure it’s hot enough for frying, drop a bit of batter in it – it needs to rise without browning.
8. Squeezing the bottle gently, start at the centre and move outwards in a circular motion to get a pretty spiral. If the batter is too thick, add a little water.
9. While the jalebis are frying, check your syrup – it needs to be warm, not hot. This prevents the jalebis from getting soft.
10. Once the jalebis are done frying, drop them into the warm syrup. Remove after 4-5 minutes and set aside to cool. Do this to all the jalebis.
11. Once completely cooled, sandwich two jalebis together with your favourite ice cream, and sprinkle with chopped roasted pistachios and a touch of gold leaf, if using.
Photograph: Toby Murphy
Production: Khanya Mzongwana
Food assistant: Thandi Mamacos