Thursday, 21 June 2018

Eating Jalebi in Kuala Lumpur - A Happy Sweet Treat from Ancient Middle East

Exploring the gritty, dusty streets of Kuala Lumpur around Pudu Raya, I frequently stumbled upon stacks of attractive golden honey glazed biscuits like these outside eateries and sundry shops. The shopkeepers told me that they are "jalebi", a sweet snack from India. Jalebi is ubiquitous in KL now but I remember seeing it only a couple of times in Singapore's Little India at Serangoon Road.

Jalebi originated in ancient Middle East, travelled east to medieval India and onwards to Malaysia and Singapore.

Today in KL, for RM1, I got three pieces of this ancient sweet in a small thin plastic bag.

The biscuit was like a coil of thick pretzel but it was hollow inside. It was crisp and tenderly chewy which I enjoyed chewing on while I walked. The biscuit itself was slightly sweet but the sugary glaze outside added a sweeter layer. The crystallised glaze also gave the sweet a subtle gritty mouth feel. Some watery sugary solution got into the hollow of the biscuit, which reminded me of honey in a honeycomb. It was tasty as there were at least three layers of varying sweetness.

Just looking at a stack of jalebi can make one's blood sugar level go up, but heck, I was attracted to it like a bee to honey or a child to candies. I ate these a few more times during the week I was in KL as I frequently stumbled upon freshly made jalebi.

Jalebi batter is made with flour and water which is squeezed in thick dribbles directly into boiling hot oil. Making jalebi looks fun and I always stopped to watch when I saw it being made 😄

The coils of dough are fried in the hot oil, turning them over occasionally till they are slightly browned.

The fried dough is then dunked into a wok of hot melted sugar.

The sugar coated fried dough is allowed to cool.

A simple jalebi stand, now commonly seen in old downtown KL.

Have you tried jalebi? I found it quite addictive. It's a simple joy. Just eat moderately lah... can one... .

Date: 8 Jun 2018

This one in India looks so GOOD!

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  1. Sounds yummy. KL is my hometown but I have not lived there for a long time. When I was growing up in the 70s, I remember seeing stacks of jalebi (didn't know the name till now, tks Tony 😊) whenever passing by Indian shops in the area you described i.e. from Tung Shin Hospital to the Masjid Jamek MRT area. But they looked like the ones in the video from India. It's a pity that I have never tasted any. Maybe on my next visit😊

  2. Where in KL is this? Want some

    1. Ha Ha Jalebi is sold everywhere in Indian dominated neighbourhoods in Malaysia & Singapore. It is available at Brickfields, Masjid India , Setapak , Sentul, Penang Little India, virtually everywhere in city center Klang and also at smattering of Mamak restaurants all over Peninsular Malaysia. Jalebi is only one of the myriad of Indian Sweets sold others are Gulab, Laddu, Peda, Boodi, Candy(desiccated coconut) amongst others.


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