Into the jalebi world…

by Sanjeev Kapoor

Jalebi is a twisted tale of sweet, juicy and crispy coiled love. Is mein ulajhne mein maza hi kuch aur hai! 

This delightful dessert was introduced by the Persian speaking Turkic invaders in the medieval times. It also had a fair chance to be a part of several poetic writeups and metaphors. After all, it had been so special, with the way it is prepared! Undeniably, I can say that the subtle beauty of this sweet is nearly difficult to replicate perfectly. What makes me say this? Well, the 3 basic elements that work together to bring on some drool over effect on the platter. These encapsulate the batter’s flavour, the consistency of the sugary syrup it is drenched in and lastly the duration for which it is fried to turn into a gracious golden colour. The perfect jalebi is all about the patience that goes in its creation! Indeed, the world of mithai too would have been incomplete if jalebi wouldn’t have been a part of it! So, be it jalebi-dahi, doodh-jalebi, jalebi-fafda, poha-jalebi or just jalebi by itself, this sweetmeat never ceases to make one fall in love with it, more and more.   


Did you know that in certain parts of the world, jalebi is used to treat headaches and even migraine? It is consumed along with warm milk, before having a meal, in a gap. So, next time, you can ditch medicines and try this combination to soothe your headache. Maybe it will work for you, but even if it doesn’t it will definitely make you smile!


Diversity in ingredients

Call it jilipi, jilibi, zelapi, jalebi, jelapi, jahangiri or jilapir pak – it will always remain close to our heart and culture. Interestingly, its ingredients vary from region to region. In some parts of India, the batter is prepared from urad dal and rice flour. Along with it, some besan and wheat flour is also added to it. Whereas, in some others, it is made with semolina. Some also use chhena and khoya to make it. 



Now that you are on a trip to the jalebi world, here are the most popular versions that you will come across through the length and breadth of this country. Check ‘em out and make sure to try each one of them, whenever you can! 



Sounds like a male version of jalebi, isn’t it? Jalebas are the adorable thicker versions of the dear jalebis. It’s around a half kg single jalebi loaded with sugar syrup and tastes very unique. When it comes to the preparation, it is fried in pure desi ghee and served piping hot. Kyun muh main pani aa gaya na? Zara rukiye, kyunki ye toh bas shuruaat hai.


Rabdi Jalebi

Do you know what dreams are made of? Hot and crispy jalebis adorned with a generous portion of lovely, creamy rabdi. It might sound like an exaggeration, but when it comes to this sinful sweet delight, all of us tend to go overboard. Sometimes, its best that way! Mujhe lagta hai ye toh aur bhi lajawab hai. Hai na? 


Paneer Jalebi

This one is the dense cousin, found across India. However, most common in the states of Bengal and Odisha, where it is known as Chanar Jalebi. So, it stands exactly as per its name, a sweet dish made with chhena. Why did I say that it’s dense? This is because this jalebi is almost dark brown in colour and has a distinctive texture and taste. 


Mawa/Khoya Jalebi

Made with mawa/khoya, this is the famous one from Madhya Pradesh. Think about the bustling street food gullies of Sarafa Bazar, Indore adorned by these beauties! It’s a treat to the eyes as well as palates in the truest sense! It is enjoyed by itself and sometimes paired along with doodh or malai.



One can term imarti as the distant cousin of jalebi, also known as Kangan in Rajasthan, because of its ‘flower-like’ shape. It is mostly a summer dessert and made up of saffron accentuated urad dal batter. 


Well, I wanted you to know about the most famous versions, while I have many other variations too. (Ever thought of a Gobhi Jalebi!?) You can try your hands on these to treat your family, friends and loved ones. Toh intezar kis baat ka, hit on to master the recipes. Aur ye mat bhooliyega ki monsoon season is another perfect reason to bite in some awesomeness of garma garam jalebi. Go on, try ‘em all! 


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MasterChef Sanjeev Kapoor

Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient. His recipe portal is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.