Jalebi (Hindi: जलेबी), also known as jilapi, jilebi, jilipi, zulbia, jerry, mushabak, or zalabia, is a popular sweet snack. It is made by deep-frying maida flour (plain flour or all-purpose flour) batter in pretzel or circular shapes, which are then soaked in sugar syrup.

Zlabia (Pâtisserie orientale).jpg
Alternative namessee names
Place of originIndia (Jilapi)[1]

Regional variants:

Region or stateIndian subcontinent, West Asia, North Africa
Serving temperatureHot or cold
Main ingredientsMaida flour, saffron, ghee, sugar
Similar dishesImarti, Shahi jilapi, Chhena jalebi
Jalebi being prepared by a street vendor in Bangalore, India

This dessert can be served warm or cold. They have a somewhat chewy texture with a crystallized sugary exterior coating. Citric acid or lime juice is sometimes added to the syrup, as well as rose water. Jalebi is eaten with curd or rabri (North India) along with optional other flavours such as kewra (scented water).

This dish is not to be confused with similar sweets and variants like imarti and chhena jalebi.


Jerry-Swari (Jalebi and a very thin Puri ), a popular snack in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Jalebi batter being dropped in hot oil in Howrah, West Bengal, India

Zalabia or zlabiaEdit

Zalabia or luqmat al qadi consisted of a yeast dough fried and then dipped in a syrup of honey and rose water[1]

Zlabia is known to be a speciality of the city of Beja, Tunisia.[4] According to the Indian ambassador Nagma Malik, it might have started life in Turkey and then arrived in Tunisia long ago before coming its way to India.[5] Others claim that it was created by Abdourrahman Ibnou Nafaâ Ziriab, an Iraqi musician who was travelling from Baghdad to Andalusia and who decided to stop over in Tunisia in order to create a cake.[6] The history and the spread of zlabia so remain mysterious and unexplained.

In Iran, where it is known as zolbiya, the sweet was traditionally given to the poor during Ramadan. A 10th century cookbook gives several recipes for zulubiya. There are several 13th century recipes of the sweet, the most accepted being mentioned in a cookbook by Muhammad bin Hasan al-Baghdadi.[1] It was also mentioned in a tenth century Arabic cookbook by Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq, that was later translated by Nawal Nasrallah.[7][8]

Ernest A Hamwi, a Syrian immigrant to the United States, is believed to have used the Persian version zalabia as an early ice cream cone.[1]: 404

Modern jalebiEdit

According to Hobson-Jobson, the word jalebi is derived from the Arabic word zulabiya or the Persian zolbiya[9], another name for luqmat al qadi. In 15th century, jalebi was known as Kundalika or Jalavallika.[citation needed] Priyamkarnrpakatha, a work by the Jain author Jinasura, composed around 1450 CE, mentions jalebi in the context of a dinner held by a rich merchant.[1] Gunyagunabodhini, another Sanskrit work dating before 1600 CE, lists the ingredients and recipe of the dish; these are identical to the ones used to prepare the modern jalebi.[10] The western Asian dish of Zalabia used a different batter and a syrup of honey and rose water.


Indian subcontinentEdit

Crispy Jalebi served on a plate, on the day of Rathyatra festival in Howrah, West Bengal, India.

In India, it is known as Jalebi in Hindi and served with sweetened condensed milk dish, rabri or eaten with kachori and vegetable curry in the northern part of the country. It is a popular breakfast snack in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, equally popular as dessert at celebrations in other parts of the North India.

In Pakistan, jalebis are a popular dessert that are commonly consumed in households and in public events such as weddings or festivals.[11] In Bangladesh, this sweet is called Jilapi in Standard Bengali or Zilafi in some places in eastern Bangladesh such as Sylhet and Chittagong, and it is broadly consumed as an essential iftar item or as a snack.

In Nepal, it is known as Jerry, a word derived from Jangiri and the Mughal Emperor Jahangir.[12] People ususally eat Jerry with Swari, a very thin fried bread like Puri (food). It is often eaten in morning with Nepali Masala chiya.[13]

Pani Walalu or Undu Walalu is a traditional sweet of Sri Lanka prepared by frying a type of doughnut, made by using undu flour and rice flour and soaking in kithul treacle.

In the Maldives, it is known by the name zilēbi.

Middle EastEdit


It is known as zoolbia[14] (زولبیا) in Iran, although when translated into English, the spelling has alternatives and can include zolbiya, zulbiā, zulbia, zolbia, and others. In addition to being sweetened with honey and sugar, zoolbias in Iran is also flavoured with saffron or rose water.[14][15] Often in Iran, zoolbia is served with Persian-style black tea alongside a similar dessert with a different "egg" shape, bamiyeh.[16] These deserts are commonly served during Ramadan month as one of the main elements eaten after fasting.


Zulbiya or zilviya is one of the unique sweets of Ganja, one of the ancient cities of Azerbaijan. In the past, Zilviya was considered one of the main attributes of the Novruz in Ganja. Zilviya was usually cooked a few days before Novruz and served on the eve of the holiday. Just as each of the sweets and cookies placed on the table on the eve of holiday has a certain meaning in connection with Novruz, the round-shaped zilviyas, mostly baked in yellow and red, symbolized the equality of night and day on March 21.

North Africa and the Middle EastEdit

North AfricaEdit

Zlebia or zlabia is a type of pastry eaten in parts of Northwest Africa, such as Algeria, Tunisia and Libya as well as Morocco. Natural ingredients include flour, yeast, yoghurt, and sugar or honey. This is then mixed with water and commonly two seeds of cardamom (oil for the crackling).

Middle East and ComorosEdit

These are found in the Levant and other Middle Eastern countries, including the Arab countries of Yemen, Egypt,[17] Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Comoros. Zalābiya or zalabia, zalabiya (زلابية) (Maghrebi Arabic: زلابية) are fried dough foods, including types similar to straight doughnuts.[18] Zalābiya are made from a batter composed of eggs, flour and milk, and then cooked in oil. They are made by a zalbāni. Unlike jalebi, zalabia may have a different shape, more like a free-form doughnut or a ball (but this is depending on the exact region and culture), and it may contain cinnamon, lemon, and powdered sugar.[18][19]


Hot Mauritian jalebi, also known as "Gato Moutaille"

In Mauritius, jalebi are known as "Gateau Moutaille"; they are of Indian origins.[20]

Variations of the recipeEdit

Zalābiya mushabbaka are latticed fritters made in discs, balls and squares. They are dipped in clarified honey perfumed with rose water, musk and camphor. A recipe from a caliph's kitchen suggests milk, clarified butter, sugar and pepper to be added.[This quote needs a citation]

Zalābiya funiyya is a "sponge cake" version cooked in a special round pot on a trivet and cooked in a tannur.[21] They are often stick shaped. They are eaten year-round, including in expatriate communities such as in France, although they are especially popular during Ramadan celebrations.[22][unreliable source?]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e Alan Davidson (21 August 2014). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. pp. 424–425. ISBN 978-0-19-967733-7.
  2. ^ Zlabia, la confiserie avec une histoire. ndtv.
  3. ^ a b Sengupta, Sushmita. "History Of Jalebi: How The Coiled and Sugary West Asian Import Became India's Favourite Sweetmeat". ndtv.
  4. ^ "Tunisie [Vidéo]: Zlabia et Mkharak des sucreries très prisées à Béja - TN24.TN" (in French). Retrieved 16 May 2021.
  5. ^ "I say jalebi, Tunisia says z'labia. Could this Indian sweet really be Levantine?". Rashmee Roshan Lall. 27 August 2015. Retrieved 16 May 2021.
  6. ^ admin (21 June 2015). "La Zlabia, un délice aux origines mystérieuses". Babzman (in French). Retrieved 16 May 2021.
  7. ^ al-Warraq, Ibn Sayyar; Nasrallah, Nawal (26 November 2007). annals of the caliphs' kitchens. BRILL. p. 413 chapter 100. ISBN 978-9004158672.
  8. ^ al-warraq, ibn sayyar. "كتاب الطبيخ؛ وإصلاح الأغذية المأكولات وطيبات الأطعمة المصنوعات مما استخرج من كتب الطب وألفاظ الطهاة وأهل اللب". goodreads. Retrieved 17 September 2018.
  9. ^ Hobson-Jobson, s.v. "JELAUBEE"
  10. ^ Dileep Padgaonkar (15 March 2010). "Journey of the jalebi". The Times of India. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  11. ^ Baig, Zulfiqar (28 October 2020). "Hot jalebis, a winter quintessential". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 20 December 2020.
  12. ^ "Jalebi khani hai?". The Times of India. 7 January 2009.
  13. ^ "Must Try Local Breakfast". OMG Nepal. 18 July 2021. Retrieved 1 August 2021.
  14. ^ a b "Iranian Recipes: Zoolbia & Baamieh". Iran Chamber Society. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  15. ^ "Saffron zoolbia (deep-fried pastry with saffron sugar syrup)". Food. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  16. ^ Newfield Metzelthin, Pearl Violette, ed. (2007). "Contents". Gourmet Magazine. Condé Nast Publications: 586.
  17. ^ Shatzmiller, Maya (1993). Labour in the medieval Islamic world. BRILL. p. 110. ISBN 978-90-04-09896-1.
  18. ^ a b "Middle Eastern Vegan Donuts (Zalabia)". The Mediterranean Dish. 9 February 2016. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  19. ^ "Egyptian Zalabia Balls Recipe". www.middleeastkitchen.com. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  20. ^ "Jalebis Recipe". restaurants.mu. Retrieved 26 April 2021.
  21. ^ Translated by Nawal Nasrallah Annals of the caliphs' kitchens: Ibn Sayyār al-Warrāq's tenth-century Baghdadi cookbook Volume 70 of Islamic history and civilization Edition illustrated 2007 ISBN 978-90-04-15867-2. 867 pages BRILL page 413-417
  22. ^ Hadi Yahmid French Ramadan About Solidarity IslamOnline