New Delhi: In India, jalebi is considered the go-to dessert on any occasion and is in fact a favourite of many.
Jalebi is so popular in India that it can be found almost anywhere - from roadside stalls to high-end sweet shops.
The dessert is prepared by deep-frying the sweetmeat batter which is poured into the pan using the muslin cloth in a spiral shape. It is the staple Indian sweet that is offered on every occasion in almost all households. One would rarely find a person in the country who has never tasted the popular dessert.
Surprisingly, jalebi had not originated in India. As a matter of fact, the sweet dish was initially called Zalabia or Zolbiya.
Zalabia was featured for the first time in history in a cookbook called 'Kitab-al-Tabikh'. The cookbook was the creation of a 13th-century writer Muhammad bin Hasan al-Baghdadi and was a collection of all the dishes of that period.
The name Jalebi had derived from the Arabic Zalabiya and Persian Zolbiya. It is suspected that the sweet dish entered India in the medieval ages.
A reference to jalebi can be found in the famous Jain scripture which had been written by Jinasura, a Jain author. The scripture describes how the rich merchants had enjoyed the sweet dish.
Jalebi is still called Zolbiya in Iran and is specially offered during occasions and feasts.
The sweetmeat was introduced to India by Turkish and Persian traders and artisans who had entered the country to conduct trade and other businesses. From there on, Zalabia came to be known as jalebi.
Jalebi had managed to fix a permanent place for itself in Indian cuisines and even temples by the 15th century.
The dessert had once again featured in a book called 'Bhojana Kutuhala' in the 16th century. The book was written by author Raghunath of Dipabai's dynasty of Tanjore. The recipe given in the book is stilled used to prepare jalebi to this date.
Interestingly, a recipe similar to that of the jalebi was mentioned in a Sanskrit works which date back to 1600 CE called Gunyagunabodhini.
Jalebi was called Kundalika or Jalavallika in the 15th century.
Further, it has been mentioned in the scriptures that Lord Ram loved a sweet called shashkuli which is believed to be jalibi.
Hot jalebis are also believed to bring relief to a person suffering from a severe migraine attack. It is also to be mentioned that the first ice cream cone that was made by a Syrian immigrant in the United States was a version of zalabia.