My Jalebi Recipe makes a super sweet treat that the whole family can enjoy. This Indian funnel cake is crispy and chewy, with a sticky gooey syrup that comes together in minutes. Just a tad tangy, these have an incredible flavor and gorgeous orange hue.
Jalebi is an Indian funnel cake that is very popular among children and adults alike all throughout Asia and Africa. It’s very sweet and has a sticky, addicting texture and crunch that keeps you coming back for more.
The batter and syrup used here are very simple, using just a few subtle and mild Indian spices and seasonings.
This jalebi recipe is so fun to make — I could draw spiral patterns in the oil all day long! In fact, you could easily get the kids involved. Keep in mind that the patterns don’t need to be perfect at all. The fun is in the making and the sweets that you can enjoy with your family and friends. Check out the video on how to make these below!
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Syrup - Along with sugar and water, this simple syrup is made with:
- Ground Cardamom - This warm spice is reminiscent of ginger, but sweeter and with a light lemony flavor. If you need to swap it out, use cinnamon or allspice.
- Saffron - A delicate, complex spice that is mildly sweet and floral. It almost tastes like honey. Crush before using.
- Lemon Juice - Just a bit of lemon juice will add brightness and vibrancy to the syrup, tying everything together.
- Batter - In addition to flour and water, the batter used in my jalebi recipe includes:
- Cornstarch - The key to a crisp and fluffy batter. I do not recommend substituting or skipping this ingredient.
- Turmeric - A bright orange seasoning with a complex taste — it’s bitter, earthy, and citrusy all at once.
- Plain Yogurt - I use yogurt in my jalebi recipe to avoid waiting 12 hours for the batter to ferment. If you are fermenting, then skip the yogurt.
- Baking Soda - Used to help make the jalebis crispy when fried. If swapping with baking powder, triple the amount. However, I recommend using baking soda.
- Lemon Juice - I use lemon juice for more than just its bright, zesty flavor — it makes the batter fluffier too!
HOW TO PREPARE SYRUP AND BATTER FOR INDIAN FUNNEL CAKE
- Make the Syrup. Dissolve the sugar in water over medium heat. Bring to a boil and allow the sugar to reach a 1 string consistency — when you can touch the mixture and form a single thread by pulling your thumb and forefinger apart. To accomplish this, you’ll need a heat of 220°F to 222°F. Any cooler, and the jalebis will absorb too much of the syrup and fall apart.
- Make the Batter. Add the flour, cornstarch, and turmeric to a bowl and whisk together. Once combined, add the yogurt and water and mix until the batter forms, thickens, and becomes smooth. This could take several minutes.
HOW TO MAKE THIS JALEBI RECIPE
- Prepare for Frying. In a separate, deep skillet, heat the oil. Once you are ready to fry, add the lemon juice and baking soda to the mixture and combine with a whisk. Transfer to a squeeze bottle. Do not fill the bottle completely — leave about an inch of room at the top.
- Test the Oil. Squirt just a drop of batter into the oil. If it starts bubbling on the surface, it’s ready to fry.
- Draw the Jalebis. Squeeze the batter in circular patterns, beginning in the center and spiraling outward. Squirt a line across the circle to keep it together once removed.
- Fry, Coat, and Serve! Fry for just a couple of minutes and then flip, repeating on the other side. Immediately remove from the oil and drop in the syrup, tossing to coat well. Transfer to a baking tray lined with parchment paper and repeat with the remaining mix. Serve as soon as they have cooled enough to eat!
Jalebi making tips
- I add the yogurt in lieu of fermenting the batter 12 hours for the slightly sour flavor. If you choose to ferment the batter, omit the yogurt.
- To get to the 1 string stage for the syrup it needs to heat to 220°F-222°F, if less, the fried jalebi absorb too much syrup and they will fall apart easily.
- You can substitute orange food coloring for saffron, but if you use saffron, be sure to crush it. The heat from the syrup helps it bloom and turn that beautiful color (see jalebi in syrup below).
- Don't fill your squeeze bottle to the top with batter. Once the baking soda activates with the lemon juice it be bubble up, so leave some room.
As hard as I try, and I've made a lot of these, I still can't make that perfect swirl I saw when I first had these on the streets of New Delhi and Agra. Needless, they are still delicious!
What is jalebi batter made of?
My crispy, fluffy, and tangy jalebi recipe includes turmeric and lemon juice for a citrusy, warm flavor. Baking soda and cornstarch are included to amp up the crispiness and fluffiness.
I use yogurt so that we can skip the traditional 12 hours needed for the batter to ferment. It makes this recipe so much quicker, and you still get that slightly sour taste.
What is the difference between funnel cake and jalebi?
Jalebis are not as fluffy as your carnival funnel cake that you get in the United States. It isn’t usually topped with powdered sugar, either.
After it’s dipped in the simple syrup and hardens, Indian funnel cake becomes chewy and resembles a pretzel more than an American funnel cake.
What does jalebi taste like?
While the jalebis themselves are not cloyingly sweet right out of the fryer, the syrup used to coat Indian funnel cake is very sweet. The seasonings are very subtle, so the overall flavor is more sugary than anything. It is also very crisp when you bite down, then somewhat chewy inside.
Jalebi Recipe Indian Funnel Cake
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ⅛ teaspoon saffron crushed
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ⅛ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ cup plain yogurt (See Note 1)
- ½ cup water plus 2 tablespoons
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 ½ cups vegetable oil
- Add the sugar and water to a skillet over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Bring to a boil and let sugar reach 1 string consistency (See Note 2).
- Turn off the heat, stir through the lemon juice, cardamom and ground saffron. Leave pan on burner to stay warm.
- In a bowl combine the flour, cornstarch, turmeric. Whisk in the yogurt and water to form a thick batter. Continue whisking several minutes until batter is smooth.
- Heat the oil in a deep skillet and line a baking tray with parchment paper, set aside.
- When ready to fry, stir the lemon juice and baking soda into the batter, whisking to incorporate. Pour batter into a squeeze bottle leaving 1 inch from top. Secure with lid.
- Test oil with a drop of the batter. It should pop to the top and start bubbling.
- Carefully squeeze the bottle with batter into the hot oil in a circular motion from the center outward for a spiral, then draw a line of batter across the circles to hold them all together. Practice makes perfect, these do not have to be perfect!
- Fry for a minute or two on each side until golden brown and crisp. Transfer to the warm syrup and turn to coat both sides. Move to lined baking tray and continue making jalebi. Serve warm.
- I add the yogurt in lieu of the traditional method of fermenting the batter 12 hours for the slightly sour flavor. If you choose to ferment the batter, omit the yogurt.
- To get to the 1 string stage for the syrup it needs to heat to 220°F-222°F, if less the fried jalebi absorb too much syrup and they will fall apart easily.
*The information shown below is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.