Circles of joy

Amrita Prasad
Monday, 15 January 2018

When it comes to Jalebi, we are much like Bablu. One bite, and we forget our worries, stress and anger. That’s the power of the small sweet delights! Jalebi, which has a circular, entwined shape and has twists and turns, is filled with chashni (sugar syrup). When you take a bite, the chashni drips and makes the sweet finger-licking good

Remember the iconic ’90s TV commercial of a cooking oil brand, where a  kid (Bablu) who leaves home in anger because ‘sab gussaa karte hain’ and returns home when Ramu Kaka tells him ‘Gharpe pe toh mummy ne garma garam Jalebiyaan banayeen hain.’ His love for Jalebi makes him instantly head home on Kaka’s cycle. The thought of savouring a plateful of Jalebi makes him instantly forget his anger and perks him up.  

When it comes to Jalebi, we are much like Bablu. One bite, and we forget our worries, stress and anger. That’s the power of the small sweet delights! Jalebi, which has a circular, entwined shape and has twists and turns, is filled with chashni (sugar syrup). When you take a bite, the chashni drips and makes the sweet finger-licking good.

This popular sweet is served at almost all Indian weddings, engagements, family get-togethers, village fairs, naming ceremonies and festivals, and has also inspired many Bollywood lyricists to come up with songs like Jalebi Bai, Afghan Jalebi and so on.

Available in different varieties like Paneer Jalebi (stuffed with paneer and soaked in sugar syrup), Jangri (a South Indian variety, made from black gram), Imarti (a floral-shaped Jalebi which is juicier than regular Jalebi and is traditionally eaten cold), the Bengali-style Channar Jilipi, and so on, the sweet is irresistible in any form.

Pune boasts of a number of eateries that serve the amazing sweet. We visit some of the best places in town.  
When you talk about Pune’s Jalebi places Kadhai instantly comes to mind? Selling Jalebi for the past 20 years, among other snacks and sweets, Kadhai has won the hearts of many sweet lovers. Sultan Gurjar, the Maharajji, who is the man behind these tempting sweets says, “There are more than a hundred variety of sweets, but nothing like Jalebi. It is full of ras (sugar syrup) that brings happiness when eaten with your loved ones. Our Jalebi is one of a kind as we only specialise in one variety— Jalebi made in shudh desi ghee. For years, the taste has remained the same, but the number of loyal customers has increased over the two decades.”

They call it Jalebi-Kesar or Dollar Jalebi, which are small in size and crispy. Despite, being deep fried in ghee, they are light and the ghee doesn’t stick to your tongue.  
“Our Jalebi is light, so you get at least 80-85 pieces in a kilogram. We use 12 to make it, and add a bit of besan. However, the USP of our Jalebi is that we use everything fresh, including the ghee. So there’s no fermentation. So, if there’s some leftover ghee from the day’s cooking, we don’t use it the next day to fry Jalebi,” informs Gurjar who is now training young chefs to make the perfect Jalebi. Although, they taste best when eaten hot with Rabri, they remain crispy even after hours of cooking.

Asked if he’s ever tried to create a different variety of Jalebi, Gurjar says that he tried making Paneer Jalebi, but since the demand for Kesar Jalebi has always been high, he stuck to the original form. “People love eating our signature Jalebi with Rabri (on request and charged separately) and we get a lot of orders for weddings too,” he adds. The shop sells around 20-25 kg Jalebi on a regular day.

At Kadhai, 100 gm Jalebi and 100 gm Rabri are available at Rs 90.
Where: 92, Ozone Mall, below Crossword, Anand Park, ITI Road, Aundh
Timings: 8 am-10.30 pm

Shevali Mathur, who owns Jalebi Junction and also has an eatery called Tasty Tongues in Bavdhan, has been selling Jalebi since 2010 in the city. The USP of Jalebi Junction is the variety in the way it is served.

“While people ask for regular Kesar Jalebi that come in medium size, our Paneer Jalebi is also quite famous. Kesar Jalebi is  very crispy, however since Paneer Jalebi soaks a lot of sugar syrup, it is soft and melts in the mouth. While making Paneer Jalebi, paneer is grated and mixed in the batter and then made into Jalebi,” says Mathur.

At Jalebi Junction, you can relish Jalebi with Rabri, Curd, Milk and Kulfi. “The most preferred version, however, is Jalebi with milk,” adds Mathur. You can get 100 gm of Paneer Jalebi for Rs 70, Kesar Jalebi for Rs 50 and regular Jalebi for Rs 500 per kg. The eatery sells almost 50 kg of the sweet on a daily basis and sees a shoot in demand during festivals and wedding seasons.
Where: Opp Balmoral Estate, near Orchid School, Baner
Timings: 10.30 am-3 pm, and 4.30-10.30 pm

Bringing in the flavours of Delhi and North India, Khalsa Dairy & Sweets, is a must-visit Jalebi destination. The place sells three varieties — Kesar Jalebi fried in refined oil, Paneer Jalebi and Desi Ghee Ki Jalebi.

“We sell Paneer and Kesar Jalebi everyday, however, on Saturdays and Sundays and during festivals, we make Desi Ghee Ki Jalebi. During Makar Sankranti, the demand for Desi Ghee Ki Jalebi is quite high,” says Sohan Singh Sona, the owner of the place.

A favourite destination for foodies since 2003, you can also grab some savoury items like Bread Pakoda, Samosas, Pakodas, Dhoklas, apart from a wide range of sweets like Gulab Jamun, Kaaju Katli, Kaju Rolls and so on. Says, Sona, “People are very fond of hot Jalebi along with Rabdi and our place is famous for that. However, the USP of Khalsa is that we do not use any food colouring in the preparations to make them more attractive.”

At Khalsa, you can grab Jalebi and Rabdi for Rs 80. “We sell Kesar Jalebi at Rs 160 per kg, and Paneer and Desi Ghee Ki Jalebi at Rs 340 per kg,” informs Sona. They also do home delivery if you place an order.
Where: Shop 12, Viman Prestige, Viman Nagar
Timings: 9 am-9 pm

The Taste Jalebi, which serves delicious North Indian, Chinese and some of the most popular street foods, is also known for its Jalebi.  

“It is very affordable, which makes it all the more enjoyable. My favourite combination is Jalebi with a cup of hot milk available at Rs 70. Since they make all the sweets, including Jalebi, in shudh desi ghee, they are light to digest,” says Rohan Khurana, a regular at the outlet who often takes 500 gm parcel for his family.

You can enjoy a plateful of Jalebi (100 gm) without Rabdi or milk for Rs 40. The outlet is hygienic and clean, and has a small arrangement for inside and outdoor seating. You can actually watch the chef making Jalebi, dipping it in chashni and packing it — everything happens in front of your eyes, so you know the best quality is served to you.
Despite having opened recently, the place has already gained loyal customers, who don’t mind standing in queue to savour their favourite sweet.  
Where: Ganpat Kalamkar Chowk, near Orchid School, Baner
Timings: 10.30 am-3 pm and 5-11 pm

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