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Watch: Frying Intricate, Sweet Jalebi at Home

Cliff takes on a crispy Indian treat doused in a sweet syrup

The idea for this episode has been sitting in the back of my head for quite some time. It all started during a shoot in Houston at a place called Raja Sweets, which we visited for an episode of Cooking in America. The warmth this place exuded has stuck with me as much as the sweets they served, but the showstopper is undoubtedly the jalebi.

Perhaps looked at as the Indian version of a funnel cake — which surely preceded funnel cakes — jalebi is made of a simple batter that’s piped into hot oil until crispy, then tossed in a flavored sugar syrup. There are recipes for jalebi online in spades, but what I’m going to try and master in this episode of You Can Do This is the technique. At Raja Sweets, the cooks create a beautiful, single spiral that is four times long as it is wide. It was as beautiful as it was delicious; so I’m going to give it a go.

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