A crispy sweet bite for Diwali, a beautiful Indian Bengali sweet Pastry, crafted with love, a little Elo-Melo (Tangled) n a lot of Elo-Jhelo!
So as it turns out on this Durga Pooja, I was thousands of miles away from Bengal, I couldn’t absorb all the flavors, fragrance and sound that is all there in Bengal during the pooja, but perhaps so couldn’t some of you, who had to stay thousands of miles apart because life is like this or if you are someone who is not familiar with it-I will say get into it. For my dear reader who is reading me right now, I couldn’t give you something nice during the pooja, but now I can and Diwali/Deepawali is in the air and everywhere soon there are gonna lit a thousand lights, so I had to tell you about how to make Elo-Jhelo.
Think about this name ‘ELO-JHELO’, interesting name isn’t it? When I look at the word I feel as if it comes from the Aztecs, however it comes from Bengal, India. It is a sweet pastry, made out of all purpose flour, vegetable oil n ghee, sugar and some touch of aromatic spices. The dough is prepared, made into small balls, then they are rolled individually, cuts are splashed across the surface of the rolled thin dough, then folded over n over until it gets all tangled n overlapping, producing a beautiful spiral like shape which looks like flower petals or the shape of a flame from a lamp n the rest is on your imagination.
When I begin to wonder about the name, I try to connect the dots, like elo-melo in Bengali would suggest tangled, so on that line ‘Elo-jhelo’ may come from ‘Elo-melo’ because you see the dough strands are tangled in a way but never messy, they are beautifully elegant.
This pastry is deep-fried in flavorless vegetable oil, then a sugar syrup is prepared on the heat until it gets as thick like honey going towards one string consistency, the crispy fried pastry is dipped into the syrup to coat them, then taken out after 1-2 minutes and they are ready. This is a kind of ‘Nimki’ which can be both sweet n savory, a nimki is a Bengali term for fried pastry.
Diwali or as we sometimes we say it Deepawali is just around this weekend, this is the time to prepare a lot of sweets- Gulab Jamun, Kaju katli, Motichur ke laddu n so many more, so make Elo-jhelo, the great thing about them is that they are not overly sweet, slightly sweet, they look great, they are versatile and it is so much fun making them with the whole family sitting around, the father making the dough, the mother rolling out, the little kids making the cuts- well it is a possibility…ha-ha. Most important is the bite-literally delicious n you always wanna have some more without eating a lot of sugar.
I flavored my elo-jhelo with white n black sesame seeds, and green cardamom n a touch of saffron, a traditional elo-jhelo is devoid of any such extra flavors and is still very delicious, so you can always go the traditional way or sometimes add flavors that you like. I incorporated the cardamom n saffron flavor in the sugar syrup itself. So this Deepawali I expect some Elo-jhelo in your home, have fun, share it with your friends, it is a labor of love.
So let me tell you now the secret, here we go.
For The Recipe: we will need
Hey, they are all ready now! They look amazing right, I told you n now bite into one and hear the sweet crunch n after that share the sweet crunch with all around you. Happy Diwali, Shubh Deepawali, Subho Kaali Pujo and guess what? Bon Appétit! May the light bless us.