Ingredients (Makes 20-25 Jalebis)
For the Jalebi
- 1 + ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1.5 tbsp cornstarch
- 1.5 tbsp besan (fine ground gram flour)
- 1/3 cup whole plain yogurt, whisked, at room temperature
- 1 cup water (or more if needed)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 8-10 strands of zaran saffron (add a pinch of sugar and crush using a mortar pestle to a fine powder)
- Oil for frying (You can add 1/3 cup ghee to it for a nice aroma)
For the Sugar Syrup
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 4-5 zaran saffron threads (add a pinch of sugar and crush using a mortar pestle to a fine powder)
In a large bowl, sift the all purpose, cornstarch and gram flour. Add the yogurt. Now slowly start adding water and whisking to make a lump free smooth batter. You might not need entire cup of water. When the batter is dropped from a height, it should flow smoothly like a ribbon. Mix up and let the batter rest for 2 hours on the kitchen counter.
10 minutes before you are ready to fry up the jalebis, in a wide pot, place the sugar and water and bring to a boil. Once the sugar syrup is boiling, reduce the heat, let simmer for 7-8 minutes. We are not looking for any string consistency here but if you take a tiny drop of syrup in between your thumb and pointer finger, it should feel sticky and not watery. Once the sugar has simmered, add lemon juice, stir and put off the heat. Wait for 2-3 minutes and then add ground saffron strands to the sugar syrup. Mix well. Let sit near to where you will fry up the jalebis. Keep the syrup warm.
Add baking powder to the batter followed by ground saffron. Slowly incorporate to make a smooth, lump free batter. Pour the batter into a squeezable bottle with nozzle. When you squeeze the batter out of the nozzle, it should come out like toothpaste from a tube. If you feel that the batter is thick, transfer back to bowl and add a little water for the right consistency or if the batter is thin, add a couple of tablespoons of flour and mix gently so that there are no lumps.
In a wide shallow pan, pour 2-3 inches of oil +ghee and let heat up on medium heat.
To test the right temperature of oil, drop a small quantity batter in the oil, it should come up sizzling to the top but not change color. Squeeze the batter out of the nozzle, applying constant pressure and making concentric circles in the oil and sealing them while working from inside towards outside.
Do not fry more than 3-4 jalebis in a batch. Once you have piped the jalebis in hot oil, in 3-4 seconds they will come floating up, flip and let turn golden on the other side too. Once golden, take out of from the hot oil, tilting the frying spoon so that excess oil is drained.
Add the fried hot jalebis to the warm syrup. Let soak for not more than 20 seconds and take out with the ladle tilting it to drain excess syrup.
Fry up all the jalebis in the same manner and soak in syrup. Serve warm with cold unsweetened yogurt or as it is.