Sunday, November 8, 2020

Instant Jilebi



North Indian style hot crispy Jilebis are my favorite.  Its Diwali time and what else is better than Jilebis!  The other day when my husband told me that he had a craving for Jilebis, I wanted to make it for him.  I checked with my Mom as she used to make it a lot when we were in North India.  But she was not sure about the measurements.  So I checked online few recipes and thought to try my own with what I had in hand.

Since I had only the gel color, I was not sure how would it end up if I add it into the batter and fry.  So I tried it in the sugar syrup and it worked well.  The first batch I made didn't even make to the photo session.  They were gone in minutes.  Long story short, I made Jilebis 3 times already in last few days.



Its actually very simple to make.  Just we have to remember 3 key points, like the batter consistency, temperature of the oil and sugar syrup consistency.  If you get these 3 somewhat right, you will get a decent batch of Jilebis.  Please read the directions and notes carefully before you start.  Don't be disappointed if the first few Jilebis turns out to be weird shaped.  You can still get it right.  Justr be patient.

Disclaimer: These Jilebis are addictive.  They are not super sweet as compared to the store bought ones.  They are crispy and not that heavy.

I have put a detailed recipe so that it will help you to avoid the mistakes I made.  Hope you will try this recipe and let me know how it turned out for you. 


Items needs:

Flat frying pan

Couple of wooden skewers

Slotted spoon

Squeeze bottle/clean ketchup bottle

Bowl to mix

Fork to beat the batter

Flat pyrex container lined with parchment paper to keep the hot jilebis

Ingredients:

Batter

1 cup - all purpose flour

4 tbsp - corn flour/corn starch

1/4 tsp - baking soda

pinch of salt

4 tbsp - plain yogurt

1/2 cup + 1 tbsp - water

Sugar Syrup

1.5 cups - sugar

3/4 cup - water

2 tsp - lemon juice

4 - green cardamom pods

6-8 drops - orange/yellow color (refer notes)

Refined Oil to fry 

Directions:

  • Add all purpose flour, salt, baking soda & corn flour in a mixing bowl and mix well with a fork.
  • Add yogurt and mix well.  Slowly add 1/2 cup of water in batches and mix well with the fork.  Mix well till there are no lumps.  If the batter forms a ribbon consistency, you are good.  If not, add the additional tablespoon of water and mix well.  The batter should not be too thin and too thick.  Cover it and let it sit till you make the sugar syrup.
  • Take a small saucepan that has some height.  Add the sugar, water, lemon juice, color and cardamom pods to it.  Let it boil and all the sugar dissolve.  Boil it for another 5-6 minutes till the syrup is lightly sticky.  No need to boil till 1 string consistency.
  • Pour the batter into the squeeze bottle with the help of a cup with spout.  Close the lid and test the flow of the batter into the bowl with batter.
  • Heat the frying pan with 1 inch of oil on medium heat.  Once the oil is hot, lower the flame to somewhere between low and medium.
  • Squeeze the bottle into the hot oil to form Jilebis starting from the center going in concentric circles.  I went with 3 circles and the ends were brought back into the center again.
  • Once the lower side starts to crisp, flip them carefully with a wooden skewer.  Cook both side till light golden yellow.
  • Take the hot jilebi using the skewer and drop in the sugar syrup.  Use another skewer and a slotted spoon to keep it dunked in for 10 seconds on each side.  Remove them using the slotted spoon into the prepared pyrex pan.
  • Repeat the process of frying the jilebi and dunking is syrup till all the batter is used.  You can garnish them with sliced pistachios.
  • Enjoy the hot jilebis.  Left over can be stored in airtight container at room temperature for a day or 2.
Notes:
  • Keep everything ready by your side before you start frying the jilebis.
  • I used gel colors for cake in the syrup.  I mixed 4 drops of red and 4 drops of yellow to get the orange color.  If using powdered food color, you can add 1/4 tsp of the color to sugar syrup.
  • Don't use a deep pan with lot of oil for frying.  It will mess up the shape of the jilebi.
  • I found the squeeze bottle easier to handle and mess free than a piping bag.
  • If the oil is too hot, the batter will puff up into bubbles and mess up the shape of jilebi.  If the oil is not hot enough, the jilebi will be too flat and it will not absorb any syrup.  
  • The first jilebi can be the trial to check the batter and temperature of the oil.  If the batter is too loose, add 1 - 2 tsp of all purpose flour and mix it well.  The batter should not break when piping into the oil.
  • Keep the sugar syrup hot all the time, so that hot jilebis when dropped into the syrup absorbs the syrup faster and keeps it still crispy.
  • I kept frying 3 jilebis at a time and dropped them right away into the syrup and drained.  Start with 1 jilebi at a time and once you get the hang of it, you can fry more and dunk it into sugar syrup.  If you get a helping hand, its much easier.  One person can fry the Jilebis and drop into the syrup.  The other person can then dunk them in the syrup well and remove it to the pan.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Concord Grape Jam




 

We missed lot of get togethers this year due to Corona.  We missed our family vacation too.  Being home bound needed some sanity and fresh air for everyone.  So a bunch of our friends decided to drive an hour away and visit a vineyard to pick some fresh concord grapes.



The scenic view of acres of vineyards and other fruit orchards were appeasing to our eyes.  The dark bluish purple plump concord grapes studded on every 5 to 10 inches on the vine were so tempting.  



The friendly owners of the vineyard provided clippers and carts to pick the grapes.  Kids went with their cart to one side and adults went into another direction.  Within 30 minutes everyone came back with carts full of grapes.  We were not sure what to do with all these grapes.  We ended up buying 69 lbs of grapes.



On the way back, we enjoyed the aroma of the ripe concord grapes in the car.  There was no space for us to keep all the grapes in the refrigerator.  So we had to keep them in our garage.  Our garage had the sweet aroma of ripe concord grapes for more than a week.  These concord grapes were the sweetest concord grapes I ever had.  Since they were ripened on the grape vine and freshly picked, they were really flavorful and sweet.  These were the sweetest and delicious concord grapes I ever had.   The trip really rejuvenated our spirits.



We enjoyed these sweet grapes in the fresh form.  Since there were a lot and all were ripe, I made jam, grape syrup and wine out of them.  Rest of them were washed and kept in the freezer to make jam once this batch finishes.  The jam came out really delicious and flavorful.  Hope you can give this recipe a try, if you get some concord grapes.

Yields - 1 pint jar

Ingredients

6 cups - Fresh Concord Grapes

3/4 cup - sugar

1 tbsp - lemon juice

1 cup - water

Directions:

  • Wash concord grapes thoroughly under running water and separate them from the stem.
  • Squish few of them and collect the skin and the white part of the grapes without seeds.  Save up to 1/2 cup.
  • Blend rest of the grapes on low speed in a blender.  Strain the pulp with 1 cup of water so that all the juice is strained well. 
  • Transfer the juice, the skin and the white pulp that was collected into a sauce pan.
  • Add sugar and lemon juice to it and let it come to a boil.
  • Lower the flame and let it cook for 20 minutes or till it thickens slightly.
  • You can test the consistency by pouring a spoon full of the jam on a cold plate.  Let it cool for a minute.  Run your finger through the middle of the jam on the plate.  The jam should stay separated.
  • Turn the flame off and transfer the hot jam into a sterilized bottle.  
  • Once the jam cools off completely, you can store it in the refrigerator.
  • Enjoy them with bread, waffles, pancakes, yogurt etc.

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