I ate this sunshine deliciousness being homemade a little late in life (sorry mom - but we always had them from the neighborhood halwai). Well better late than never. My neighbor K bhabhi makes the worlds best jalebi's and feeds them with a lot of love too. This is her recipe verbatim. Portion below makes about 20 medium sized jalebis. A note about yogurt. Homemade yogurts have a slight higher water content than store bought ones. I have used home made yogurt in this recipe, if you are using store bought, you made need a little water to get the right consistency. Slightly tangy yogurts are best. Baking soda makes the jalebi's crispy. I have not used color in these but you can use yellow or orange coloring as well.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon gram flour (besan)
1 cup yogurt
1 teaspoon baking powder
Water (if needed)
Ghee for frying
For the syrup
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
Mix the maida and besan with the yogurt. Beat well to make a lump-free batter of pourable consistency. If you hold it up with a spoon it should be fall easily. Keep aside while you make the syrup or about 30 minutes.
Heat water in a heavy bottomed pot and add the sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar and keep boiling till it reduces a little. It has to be slightly less viscous than an 'ek tar'* syrup. To check, pour a drop of the liquid on a plate. Cool a little (dont burn your fingertips) and press between thumb and forefinger. When you separate the two digits, it should give a pull but not form a full lace (tar). If it forms a lace add a little water to thin it out. Keep aside.
Heat ghee in a wok. Add the baking soda to the batter and mix well. Take a squeeze bottle, like for ketchups, and fill it up with the batter. When ghee is hot enough for frying, pipe small spirals over the ghee keeping the tip as close to the ghee as possible. When you close the spiral, pipe a little bit inwards over the spirals else the spiral will open in the hot ghee. Cook on one side, flip and cook till done. Remove from ghee and dunk directly into the syrup. Soak for a minute and remove.
Jalebis are best served warm, by themselves or with a side of rabdi, milk or yogurt. As they become cold they will become soggy. If you are planning to serve them at a latter time, fry the jalebis but do not soak them in the syrup. At the time of serving, heat the syrup, soak the jalebis and then serve warm. This will ensure crispness.
* Sugar syrups are checked as ek tar, do tar, teen tar; single lace, double lace, triple lace. This is basically the number of laces it forms when pulled between two fingers. Higher the number of laces, the harder it will set when cooled.