Friday, 26 February 2016


Jilbi ( जिलबी ) is known by different names all around the world. It was introduced to India by the Mughals and is a very popular dessert. Kolhapur seems to be the place where Jilbi was introduced a bit under a century ago. Kolhapur is the land of wrestling and thus it became a ritual to distribute Jilbi after a victory. the dessert is also avidly bought on Indian Independence (15th August) and Republic (26th January) days.
Traditionally Jilbi batter is made by fermenting the mixture of yoghurt warm water and maida but this is a quicker version.

Recipe for Jilbi:

For the batter:
Maida3/4 cup
Yogurt1/3 cup
Water1/2 cup
Salt1/8 tsp
Baking Powder1 tsp
Rice Flour1 Tbsp
For the sugar syrup:
Sugar2 cups
Water3/4 cup

OilFor frying

How to make jilbi:

1. Boil the sugar and water until it reaches a one string consistency syrup. Turn off the heat. Add artificial colour(yellow) or keshar (saffron) syrup to it.
2.In a bowl mix the maida, rice flour, salt and baking powder.
3.In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt and water and slowly add it to the maida mixture, mixing continually until the batter is lump free.
4.Traditionally, jilbis are shaped using a muslin cloth with a teeny tiny hole in the centre. I find that a piping bag works just as well. Pour the batter into the bag and then cut a hole 7 millimetres in diameter.Apply even pressure while piping the jilbis.
5.Traditionally, jilbis are fried in ghee but I prefer to use flavourless oil. Add ~3/4" of oil into a wide and shallow pan and heat it on low-medium heat.Once the oil has heated well, use a quick circular motion to pipe the jilbis from the centre outward. The trick is to not move the oil by dragging the jilbi as you pipe it. It takes a little practice so don't be disheartened if you don't get it right the first time. They turn out delicious, irrespective of their shape!
6.Fry on medium to low heat until crisp and golden. If the oil is too hot or luke warm, they won't cook well.
7.As soon as they are out of the oil, plunge the jilbis into warm sugar syrup and keep them immersed for ~30 seconds so that they soak it up. This is an important make or break step.If you wait to drain off the oil, then the jilbi cools and it can't absorb enough syrup. It goes much easier if somebody's helping you with this step. 
8.Take the jilbis out of the syrup and let them drip dry, if needed. Do not place them on a paper towel! A wire rack works well.

* Make sure the syrup is kept warm throughout the process. If you feel it is thickening, add an occasional dash of water.

Jilbis are served warm or chilled but I prefer them freshly made. Alternatively, you could serve them with some slivered dryfruits or rabdi, or both!
During ceremonal meals, it is served with mattha, a spiced buttermilk. Together they aid digestion and some people even dip their jilbis in mattha. Sounds wierd? Tastes delicious!

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