What You Should Know Before Eating Another Jalebi

If you're more familiar with American carnival fare than south Asian desserts, think of jalebi as a funnel cake that goes heavy on the sugar. SmarterTravel made this comparison when it came up with its list of the 10 most fattening foods in the world. Joining the ranks of the Italian calzone, Spanish churro, and Scotland's deep-fried Mars bar, the jalebi is deep-fried dough that gets a bath in sugar syrup rather than a mere sprinkling of powdered sugar, à la funnel cake. Imported centuries ago from Iran, then called Persia, jalebi is now a favorite sweet in India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, often served on celebratory occasions (via iFood). It's also served in some parts of India with a glass of milk for breakfast, according to NDTV

A recipe in the Times of India describes jalebi batter as consisting of flour, cheese curds, and ghee. The sugar syrup is flavored with saffron, cardamom, and rose essence. Saffron and cardamom may be whisked into the batter, too, per NDTV. Jalebis get their distinctive spiral shape by carefully squeezing the batter through a muslin cloth with a hole cut in it.

Just one jalebi packs a lot of carbs and calories

In all fairness to jalebis, SmarterTravel's top 10 list of the world's most fattening foods entirely excluded American cuisine with its chicken-fried steaks, cheeseburgers, and pecan pies (via The Daily Meal). But even if it doesn't quite qualify for a truly international top 10 list, you should know one thing before eating another jalebi: its nutrition information. 

No one is going to claim that jalebis are a healthy snack (or breakfast). According to MyFitnessPal, a single jalebi piece has 310 calories, 54 grams of carbohydrates, and 9 grams of fat. And who can eat just one? NDTV recommends serving jalebis with a genrous amount of rabdi, which is a dessert made from condensed milk (via Whisk Affair). This only adds on more calories, carbs, and fat, of course.

Given jalebis' curd base, a healthy alternative might be yogurt. To substitue for the sugar syrup, top your yogurt with some fresh fruit for added sweetness. Your body will thank you!