City Food – Black Jalebis, Sultanji Sweets & Snacks
Classic with a twist.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
You’ve probably heard that story about Emperor Shahjahan wanting to build another Taj Mahal — this one in black.
Some historians say it’s a myth.
But black jalebis are very real.
This unusual delicacy can only be found at Sultanji Sweets & Snacks in the Matia Mahal Bazar in Old Delhi. It opened just a year ago — the original shop is in Burhanpur, Madhya Pradesh.
Asghar Ali, who works behind the counter, explains that the cooking method is the same as the standard orange version. But while orange jalebis are made from maida (refined flour), the black sibling consists of khoya (thickened milk) whipped into a gooey mash. In fact, people in the know them call it khoya jalebis.
The cook spoons the mixture into a pastry bag. He then squeezes it into piping hot oil. Gradually, the glonk turns black, ready to be soaked in syrup.
“Black jalebis are something to experience,” suggests Mr Ali, who does know what he’s talking about. A bunch of customers stare agog as a fresh batch is laid out on a giant platter. Still very much a novelty in this part of the world, obviously.
What does it taste like?
Well, certainly not like orange jalebi. It reminds The Delhi Walla of… well, go find out for yourself.
It will be worth the effort.
Black jalebis matter