It was not really my favorite dessert until my Aunt gave me this recipe.I tried it once and loved it.You need little bit of planning ahead of time to make it but it is worth it.
The recipe has 3 steps.Fermenting the batter,frying the Jalebis and dipping them in sugar syrup.
For the Batter
2 cups of Rava (Semolina )
1 cup of Maida ( All Purpose Flour)
2.5 cups of boiling water
3 tb spoons very sour buttermilk
1 tea spoon Saffron Strands
Oil to coat the batter
For the sugar syrup
1.5 cups of sugar
1 cup of water
Half tea spoon of cardamom powder
Pinch of saffron
Half tea spoon of lemon juice
You need to plan in advance to make Jalebis.The batter needs at least 8-10 hours of fermentation.
Mix Rava,Maida together.Add the buttermilk.The buttermilk has to be very sour. It acts as a fermenting agent.Mix the boiling water into the batter and stir gently to make it smooth.Do not over-mix.If the batter is too lumpy and needs more water, add little bit at a time.You will require at most 1/4 cup of extra water to get the final consistency.The consistency of the final batter should be slightly thicker than common pakoda batter.Once the batter is mixed, coat the entire top of the batter with oil.Cover it and let it ferment for at least 8 - 10 hours.Depending upon the weather and sourness of the buttermilk, batter will almost be double the original size.If it is not double , but increased slightly that's fine too.Once you are ready to fry,mix oil that is coating the batter into the batter to obtain 'ribbon consistency'.Add saffron strands just before frying to get maximum color.
For frying, heat 3-4 inches of oil in heavy bottom pan. When it starts to bubble, the oil is ready.Pour the batter into the sauce bottle or a 'ziplock' bag.If using ziplock bag,cut the corner and pour the batter into the hot oil in circular swirling mode.It takes about 1-1.5 minutes on each side for Jalebis to fry.Fry until golden brown .Put the fried jalebis on paper towel to drain the excess oil.
Meanwhile prepare sugar syrup by combining sugar and water.Boil it to make it 2 strings sugar syrup.Add cardamom powder,saffron and lemon juice and the syrup is done.
Fry the Jalebis and dip them into the sugar syrup while they are still warm.Once Jalebis are coated evenly with sugar syrup , transfer them on a serving dish.
1) If the buttermilk is not very sour, leave it at room temperature for 4-5 hours and it will turn sour.In winter, leave it out for 8 hours.
2)Adding saffron at the end while preparing the batter helps to give the batter beautiful golden color.If you add saffron at the time of fermentation, saffron loses its taste and Jalebis turn out slightly dark.
3)Adding lemon juice prevents sugar syrup from crystallization.
4) Jalebis turn soggy fairly quickly once dipped in sugar syrup.If you want to keep them crispy for a long time, after dipping Jilabis into the sugar syrup arrange them onto a cooling rack placed over a baking sheet .This way, excess sugar syrup will fall into the baking sheet and Jalebis will stay crispy for long time.
5)To get ribbon-like consistency,mix batter for 4-5 minutes.