Elo Jhelo; A Crunchy and sweet treat to wish ‘Shubho Bijaya’

1:39 PM

I know am awfully late in wishing you Shubho Bijaya, Happy Dassera and Shubh Navrati. But trust me, I have reasons and these are not at all lame excuses. I have been travelling a lot which has made me tired, sick and weak. So much so that right now am on antibiotics to overcome the congestion in my chest. Yes its that bad. But being late is always better than not wishing you at all. So here is a big bear hug coming your way with Bijaya greetings. How did you enjoy the puja my friends? Mine was very relaxed. We spent time together as family but missed going out and pandal hopping. Kolkata was full of huge pandals and beautiful artistic decorations. Even our own apartment association celebrated the puja in a very nice homey manner. We loved the themes and decorations that the famous pujas of Kolkata selected this year and wanted to visit the pandals. But they are not my cup of tea. One has to stand in a que at least for 2-3 hours or more to get into the main pandal near the Durga idol. That too after covering a 10 minutes distance in a couple of hour. Most roads are blocked and it seems whole Kolkata spent time on streets on those five days. So we rather chose to get away from all the hustle and bustle to spent time in a quite village at my in laws place.

We only went out once all decked up in new sarees and matching jwelleries, Visited lots and lots of relatives and enjoyed our time of togetherness. We also went to Santiniketan to my parents and loved our mid night quite visits to all the pandals in Santiniketan and around. 
Below are the pictures of one of my favourite puja which I love to visit every year. Remember this post where I shared the story behind a very unique weekly craft market? This puja belongs to the same area of Boner pukur danga near Santiniketan Ashrama. This puja is called 'Hiralini Durgotsav, which was started in 1989 by an artist and teacher Bandhan Das. He is no more but what he has left is his touch of beauty and art. Right from the idol to pandal decorations to puja preparations, everything have a touch of art.  He planned to create 5 different Durga idols which would be totally different in material and look. Which they use on alternative years and repeat the same after each 5 years. When one idol is made of the regular clay the others are made of wood, metal and other materials. The protima is unlike any we generally see in pandals.  Here Maa does not hold any weapon rather she holds beautiful lotus flowers in her ten hands to bring in World peace. Another unique point about this puja is the involvement of local santals. They take care of every preparation and minute details. They bring a distinctive tribal flavor to the whole atmosphere. The evenings are filled with their performances like tribal dance, drama and weapon skills. I have heard that along with regular khichuri bhog they also offer tari (fermented Palm sap; Toddy).

Picture: Somnath on picasa
Picture: Sujit Sengupta
courtesy: Subhendu Dhabal
This year they were worshipping the metal idol. We went there at about 11:30 at night and there was not enough light. But still we managed to get some photos which I am sharing below. It had a very quaint feel to it amidst the sonajhuri forest and the unique wavy red laterite soil formation called Khoai. Local craftsmen sell their art in small stalls around the area. They also bring in authentic Bengali festival foods like ghugni, pithe etc.

Today am also sharing a fried dough sweet pastry called Elo jhelo which is almost synonymous to Bijaya or the last day of Durga puja, symbolizing good over evil. This is very similar to the preparation of Jibe gaja that I shared earlier, but the form of this snack is very different. Below is my quick recipe.

Elo jhelo or Bengali Fried Pastry

All purpose flour: 11/2 cups
Oil/ghee: 4 tbsp (I used saffola gold white oil)
Salt: a pinch
Nigella seeds: ½ tsp
Water: as required

Oil for deep frying

For the syrup:
Sugar: 1 cup
Water: ½ cup
Cardamom pods: 2-3 pieces

Take the flour in a big bowl and mix in the salt and nigella seeds. To this add the oil and rub with your finger tips tips to get sand like texture. To this add water very little by little to make nice, soft and firm dough. Cover and keep aside for 20-30 minutes.

After that pinch and take small ping pong ball size dough. Press and smoothen it between your palms. Roll out in small disks (2”-2.5” diameter) like puri or luchi.

With a sharp knife make 8-9 slits vertically on the disk. Leave 1 cms each on top and bottom.

Holding the end sides together loosely roll the disk like you do for swiss rolls. Press the ends to secure the pattern.

Prepare the same with the remaining dough.

Heat oil in a heavy based deep pan or kadhai to medium heat. The temperature of the oil is very important, very hot oil will make it soft at the inside. Check the heat by dropping a pinch of dough in the oil if it takes some time to come up n the surface, the oil is ready. If it immediately comes up then the oil is too hot and you run a possibility of burning them.

Fry the elo jhelo in small batches till golden brown. Take out and soak the extra oil on absorbing paper.

The elo jhelo should be cold completely before adding them to the syrup. So give it ample amount of time to cool down.

Once the elo jhelos are completely cold, start making the syrup by boiling the sugar in the water. crush the cardamom and add this to the biling syrup. Boil for 3-4 minutes till one string consistency is achieved. At this stage lots of bubbles will start to appear on the surface too. 

Quickly add all the elo jhelo in the syrup and mix them to coat with sugar syrup. The syrup will harden once the elo jhelo touches the hot syrup, so work with very quick hand.

Spread the elo jhelo on lightly oiled plates to cool down.

Store in air tight container and treat your family and friends.

A Homemaker’s Notes:
  1. The heat of the oil is very crucial and I can’t press this point enough. This is what I do. I always heat the oil to smoking point and then switch off the heat and again switch on after 3-4 minutes. That way the raw smell of the oil is gone and the oil is hot enough to cook the gaja till light brown. Also keep on adjusting the heat by increasing or decreasing the flame.
 2. You can also check the syrup by putting a drop of syrup in a bowl of cold  
    water; if it doesn’t dissolve and immediately comes on the surface…the 

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  1. Elo jhelo looks so delish..and the name itself is so lovely. Loved your pictures of durgaa maa.
    Take care of your health..get well soon.

  2. love the clicks .........love the shape of sb

  3. Looking at this reminds me of similar recipe my aunt makes but that is salty. Love this one . Perfect for Diwali sweets.

  4. Love this sweet so much,looks delicious..

  5. Elo jhelo looks very delicious...lovely clicks...

  6. Elo jhelo looks delicious and crispy.

  7. Shubho Bijoya to you too Sayantani. My mom called me up and told me she prepared this sweet on Dassera, but i didn't go to visit her then.. But dad's bringing them over next week, so i get to dig in. I can't wait for my share after seeing your pics. Absolutely delightful

  8. looks very yummy..nice clicks..

  9. It's been ages since I had this ...looks so delicious with such tempting clicks

  10. sounds new n tempting...awesome cliks dear..;)
    Tasty Appetite

  11. wow shubho bijaya luks so beautiful,lovely presentation...

  12. Get well soon Sayantani, btw elo jhelo looks excellent and super addictive..

  13. These look so pretty, loved reading the posts, gives a good feel of everything happening there...I visited the pandal put up by the Bengali Association in Ahmedabad, it was beautifully done and had some jhal muri and singaras there...Hope you are feeling better soon...

  14. very nice sweet....looks delicious...:)

  15. Looks like a lovely traditional sweet - and so simple to make for such an intricate pattern

  16. That looks soo delicious:-) Great pictorial!!

  17. Shubho Bijoya! Tomar elo jhelo ta besh hoyeche. I am going to try it for Diwali!

  18. delicious dessert.. n wonderful presentation..

  19. Looks so delicious and yummy Sayantini ...loved it looks so nice would have loved to pick one up :)

  20. Love this authentic and very traditional sweet..should try it this festival.

  21. Lovely dessert..looks so delish!!

  22. Shubho Bijoya Sayantani! Eta bananor shahosh konodin pabi ki na jani na ... kintu ki bhalo lage khete. Kaache thakle amra dujone nimki ar elo jhelo diye Bijoya kortam. :-)

  23. I love it,wish I could have some now with tea!

  24. Aachcha tahole egulo keEli jhelo bole!!I remember when in Kolkata bijoya khub khetam shill er barite.darun tasty.

  25. Looks so good.perfect for diwali too.

  26. Your post struck a chord in my heart. You see both my brother and I now miss the Bengali connect which we had thanks to Ma. Today certain terms, words phrases have disappeared from our lives. for instance I know about gaja and have also seen the Elo Jhelo but did not know it was called that, well now I will brush up my knowledge of Bengali culture with the help of your posts. Keep them coming.

  27. Jodiyo amar icche chilo tomar shonge personally dekha kore bijoya korar kintu kichutei parlam na. Tomader shokol ke bijoyar shubhecha janalam. Ami bhishon bhalo bashi ei shomay ta Kolkataye thakte. Prochur pandal hopping korchi :-) Amar elo-jhelo khete khoob bhalo lage....majhe majhe banai...Tomar ta dekhe khoob lobh lagche

    Hamaree Rasoi

  28. Shubho Bijoya tomader shobai ke Sayantani.

    Elo-Jhelo amar sasuri-ma khub bhalo koren, ami kokhono korini, tomar protyekta ekdom nikhut hoyeche

  29. I love the way you decorate Saya. Happy Navrathiri, your request is on my post tomorrow, I do apologize, I did not have the time to write about the dolls. Its on display tomm gal!

  30. The sweet is a work of art. Love the Maa Ashram - very unique idols i guess. Miss the festive mood here, hope u feel better now!

  31. I have to make this. Just remembered amar post likhe rakha achey from 2 yrs back and i never posted as all the photographs got deleted.. :( I seriously need to eat these now, maane right now! (amader barite Elo thelo bolto.. have no idea why?)

    lots of love to all of u during this festive time.

  32. i am not much of a sweet tooth person but this one such treat i will taste every time I travel to Kolkata. Again, can't eat more than one :)

  33. amake O try korte have, I love these...you have been tagged for 7 links challenge from my side, check on my blog

  34. i like your food pictures and want to invite you to try out tastingspot.com. it's for anyone that just wants another place to submit photos and share it will other foodies. It’s still in beta version, but would love for you to start adding some photos and help get it going.

  35. Dear Sayantani, thank you very much for the wishes!

    elo jhelo looks wonderful! Is "j" silent when we pronounce jhelo?

    I have a quick question to ask you and I am sure your expertise would make my life easier.

    I am planning on making Rasgolla for Diwali. I was planning on buying paneer from store since these days I do not have energy to stand for long in kitchen. Can i just use the store bought paneer and knead to a soft dough stage and take it from there? Will that work or am I better off making paneer from scratch? Please advise me. thanks a ton!

  36. My all time fav one from my childhood.....urs look perfect....n super!

  37. what a lovely name, to this dish and a lovely shape too should give this a try some time.., looks delicious, beautiful clicks

  38. These are so very new to me.. Lovely and exotic looking. First time on ur blog. Happy to follow you :o)

  39. I spent my childhood in Kolkata. Durga Pooja can't be forgotten.The most amazing festival in West Bengal :) The dessert looks wonderful :)


  40. I'm going to make this today for my husband. It uses basic ingredients which are readily available at home. And the end product looks so delicious.

    Thanks for this beautiful recipe!


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