It’s always the way – the more fattening a dish, the tastier it is. We know we’re supposed to avoid fatty foods, but where’s the fun in that? Which makes Huffington Post’s list of the world’s most fattening foods a truly delicious read.
Dishes included in this calorie-heavy list, published earlier this month, come from around the world. They include deep-fried Mars Bars from Scotland – a stalwart of all things unhealthy. Also included are churros from USA, poutine from Canada, Nutella crepes from France and calzone from Italy. Notable by is absence is a dish from the States – and this is in spite of the country’s super-sized portions and high rates of obesity. But making an appearance on the list (perhaps unsurprisingly) is India’s much-loved jalebi.
Popular throughout India, as well as in Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh, Jalebi is a deep-fried sweet which is soaked in sugary syrup. Jalebi is part of all special occasions in the country – from weddings and birthdays to festivals and national holidays including Independence Day and Republic Day. They are also rather popular during Ramadan.
Easy to prepare – and even easier on the taste buds, jalebi can be traced back to ancient India when it was known as kundalika. It has featured in 13th century cook books and during the 1900s was used to hold ice cream (before the invention of cones). It has even been used as a remedy to headaches. Today it is enjoyed across India, sold by street hawkers, and is often eaten with sambharo and fried chillies for breakfast in Gujurat.
Looking not dissimilar to a large, chaotic pretzel, jalebi are bright orange or yellow and can be served hot or cold. They have crisp, flaky caramelised outer shell surrounding dough that is oozing with sugary syrup. Fried dough is pretty unhealthy, but takes that deep-fried dough and soaks it in syrup and you take it to another level.
Such is its popularity in India; you’d be hard pressed to find a sweet shop in the country that doesn’t sell the sweet. Not-so-distant cousins of jalebi include the even sweeter imarti, which is popular in Indian’s northern states. It also draws similarities with zangoola, a sweet that is popular in the Middle East.
So if you’re looking for food that is rich in flavour (forget about the calories) jalebi makes the grade. This Indian sweet has definitely earned its place on the list. It may be calorific and give you a sugar rush, but it tastes better than great – and we wouldn’t change a thing about it.
If you need a quick sugar fix next time you are in London, you can head to one of the capital’s best Indian brasseries. Stocking a range of sweets, all made in their kitchen by a team of regional chefs, you can either tuck into them there and then, or take them away for later. Eat, enjoy, then sit back and wait for the sugar high. It won’t take long and the diet can wait.