There are days when I crave Jalebis so much that I end up looking for recipes. It is virtually impossible to find one on the internet or at least one worth trying. A friend of mine has been begging me for a recipe for years now and the least I can do is let you know of the best Jalebis made in Pakistan. This one comes from the high mountains and the beautiful weather of Nathia Gali. These golden crisp Jalebis are instant heart-warmers.
If you are headed to Nathia Gali from Islamabad, it will take you about two hours on a good day. From Murree, it will take you approximately an hour. The market you’re looking for requires you to take a left towards Abbottabad instead of driving uphill to the resorts of Nathia Gali and at the end of that long roadside market is a shop named Usman Cafe.
When you’re there, look for a man named Ghani Sahab. Tell him you read about his shop on the internet and he will be more than happy to make you some fresh Jalebis. If it is winters, he might just open up my blog and show it to you. *fingers crossed* A few foreign friends often ask: “How do they fill the Jalebi tubes with sweet syrup?” It is not magic I tell you. Contrary to my beliefs, Jalebis are not made of rice flour (as told by Ghani Sahab). They are a mixture of plain flour and skinless black gram (Mash Dal or Urad Dal). They are deep fried at the perfect temperature till golden.
And then instantly dipped in warm sugar syrup to give you these almost translucent Jalebis. Some will add orange food coloring to the mixture to give a richer color but I think they turn out great either way.
These Jalebis are not the only things worth trying in Nathia Gali for this place has some really attractive handicraft shops. I am a nutter for new crockery, be a mug or a beautiful plate. I found this set at a shop called Abu Bakr Handicrafts.
It was a total of Rs. 2400 but we managed to bargain it down to Rs. 1700. Bargaining works well in Pakistan, so always aim for something between the price offered and the half of that. These are hand painted and then cooked at a temperature of 1600 C. The shop owner also claimed that these are microwave safe. Beautiful, aren’t they?
Then there are the shops that have these small items from China at rates as low as Rs. 10 and Rs. 20. If you have time, go have a look and you might find something interesting. In between fake plastic insects and Scream masks, I found these:
. . for Rs. 20 each. And if you like embroidery, you can find wall hangings, bed covers and sofa throws at the handicraft shops. The wall hangings were my favorite: they are priced between Rs. 500 to Rs. 4000 depending on how antique the cloth patches are.
But most importantly, while you’re here, enjoy the weather and discover Pakistan.
If you like this post or know of a local Jalebi shop that you think I should try, leave me a comment below. Thank you for reading!