If you belong to the community of people who just can’t have Samosas without a bowl of sweet and curly Jalebis along with Rabdi, we have shocking information for you. Drumroll please! Our drool-worthy crispy sweetmeat does not have Indian origin even though it is the national sweet of India.  Yes, one sweet dish that always remains at your service to satisfy your sweet tooth is a new version of the Middle-Eastern ‘Zalabiya’ or ‘Zolabiya.’ 

The term Zulbiya was first mentioned in the early 10th century by Muhammad bin Hasan al-Baghdadi in his cookbook titled ‘Kitab-al-Tabeekh.’ This Persian cookbook includes the recipe of this sweet delicacy which used to be relished by massed during festivities like Ramadan. Later, another writer named Ibn Sayyar al-Warraq also mentioned the recipe for Zulbiya in his Arabic cookbook. In present-day Iran, Zulbiya is still quite popular and a significant part of the Persian New Year’s menu. 

How Zulbiya is Different From Indian Jalebis?

The major distinction is in their appearance. While Zulbiya has an asymmetric floral coil pattern, Jalebi basically looks like circular irregular coils. In addition, the former contains rose water and syrup of honey while the latter’s preparation includes the use of simple sugar syrup. 

How Did Zulbiya Arrive in India And Became Jalebi?

Zulbiya was introduced to India by Persian traders, middle-eastern invaders, and artisans in medieval times. Soon, Indians came up with their own version of this sweet dish and we discovered Jalebi. By the late 15th century, Jalebi became an indispensable part of Indian festivities. In fact, it started to be served in temples as prasadam. This most-sought-after dessert got its first mention in a Jain scripture titled Priyamkarnrpakatha penned by Jinasura. He introduced Jalebi as a part of the dinner menu and described its recipe which is similar to present-day Jalebi. 

Evolution of Jalebi in India

The Indian version of Zulbiya, Jalebi did not limit itself to the simple recipe mentioned in India’s first recipe and food science book written by Raghunath titled 'Bhojana Kutuhala.' Its various avatars can be seen in different parts of the country. From the Jaleba of Indore to Mawa Jalebi of Madhya Pradesh and Chhanar Jilipi of Bengal, you have n number of Jalebi variants to drool over. 

We know your tastebuds are already craving Jalebis. Go and grab a plate full of Rabdi Jalebi and get lost in its mesmerizing taste!