This Jelabi or Zlabia is so delicious and sweet, you can suck up the honey from the inside using it like a straw! Is it easy to make? Yes, but the technique is quite challenging. I can put my hands up and say that at first it took a few attempts, but now I think I can make it quite confidently – it just takes a little practice. The reason I have given it two names is that it is called different names in different countries or cultures. The name ‘Zlabia’ is used in North African countries mainly, and the word ‘Jalebi’ tends to be used by people from India and Pakistan.
To western people, this kind of dessert could be far too sweet for them. The taste is not like a gâteaux or a pancake, but if they try it they will love it I am sure of it. When I was in North Africa (Algeria and Tunisia) the best time to find this sweet is during Ramadan – every household would serve them after their dinner, often served with mint tea. I had never seen them in a round shape until couple of years ago – I have only known them in the long shape like the photo. The reason for this is probably that I always think of a photo of me eating them when I visited my best friend who lives in Algeria now. Her name is Rania, and she lives in a town call Boufarik. Their speciality is “Zlabia de Boufarik” and they make it with semolina – when you eat it nothing comes close!
This is also made in Tunisia, but not in the same shape – more of a sort of two thick fingers type of shape but, of course, it tastes just as nice. There are also other variations in shape from different countries and cultures. I Love going on holiday after Ramadan as they have a lovely celebrations and plenty of this beautiful dessert, along with many others.
Now let’s make this fantastic sweet: