If we do something like a Requested Recipe of the year, Jalebi would be for 2014 😀 I’ve been experimenting all year to make the perfect jalebi, that is crispy from out filled with the syrup inside, does not get soggy, and is better than the market ones!
I’ve tried almost every way to make jalebi in the past year, be it the traditional style using yogurt, with curd and baking soda, With Only Baking Soda, Plain method without anything, using a portion of urad dal.. Instant ways as well, using yeast, using baking soda and powder, using baking soda and citric acid, using fruit salt, using urad dal which turns into a lil kind of imarti.. But no luck, Its not like I mean these methods aren’t good or any recipe is bad.. I’ve tried making these all ways, but the results were not as i expected them, maybe I had expected more than i should.. The basic problems in most ways is the jalebis are either soft. they turn soggy after keeping in syrup, turns limp, is chewy, jalebis dont take syrup in, is flat, is bread like, is yeasty and crunchy like hell as well!
So you must be thinking, what makes it perfect? What is the thing that makes it good? It is Hydro, also known as Rangkat or Rangkat Hydro. Upon researching, found it is Sodium Hydrosulfite / Sodium Dithionite. Which is a vat reducing / bleaching agent as a technical grade product. But this is used in food industry as a preservative and also in sweets for which a food-grade is sold i believe. And In India, this is a common ingredient used by Halwais, but it is kept to themselves. Easily available in Wholesale Grocery Stores and Bakery Supply Stores. Chances are almost none that your nearby-retail store or supermarket would carry this. I also found this link while researching from where you can buy this, I am in no-way related to this website. If you are doing any transaction, please do it in your risk. I bought from my bakery supply store. And if you have made or are able to make jalebis, Hats off and Salute to you! Seriously, it isn’t easy to make and perfect these! So, Hats off and Salute! 🙂
What is the role in the recipe? Just a pinch of this is very powerful in its work. What does it do? Well, we basically take a pinch of it, add to a cup of flour add water and make a thick batter. Then beat it, the agitation helps in incorporating air to the batter. Also while this turns from a very thick paste kind batter to a free-flowing smooth(kind of slang but “chikna”) batter. The consistency is difficult to explain, but have you seen a halwai making jalebis? The batter flows in a stream when he presses the batter, and stops the flow when he does.. This is what it does, the consistency is such it is flow(y) yet thick. A leavener is added to ensure they puff a tad bit and also get crispier. What it does it makes the batter super smooth, thick yet flowy and eliminates the step to ferment the batter. To make the jalebis, its important to have the smoothness, and the thick yet flowy consistency which this Hydro gives.
A few months earlier, I was talking to one vendor who has multiple stores, he said, “hum log to pehle wale batter me aur maida daal ke banate hain har roj.. and so on..” Translate: We make it by mixing more flour to the last day’s batter which works as a culture/starter.. Which runs like a chain from years to them, something like we make yogurt. I then asked whether if he can share some of his batter and the way he makes? He shared! I brought the batter and first saw the consistency, and there i was amazed to see thick yet flowy.. It was stringy as well, like if you put your finger in and pull it back string forms and was a little sticky and extremely smooth and chikna.. Then i made jalebis with it, they were awesome.. I was happy to make them, though i dint make the batter.. Then i made the batter the way he said, 1 kilo maida me 200g dahi mila ke thoro pani dal ke fet ke rakh do, jaise rat ko 10 baje banaya to kal 2 baje jalebi banagi. (mix 1kg flour, 200g yogurt and water as required. make a batter and beat. then keep for fermenting). I did the same way, but it din’t work. It wasn’t at all the way his batter looked and feel like and e