Published: Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Special Feature

Round and round for the best jilapis

Both Old Dhaka and New Dhaka have mastered the art of making delicious jilapis. And there are so many types of jilapis you can find: the sweet and the not-so-sweet, the simple and the one with countless loops, the big, the small and the tiny, the expensive, the reasonable and the cheap, and the list goes on and on.  So we bring you some of the most mouth-watering jilapis you can find – best of both worlds.
Khazana makes a sweet and subtle statement
Khazana — a restaurant located in Road # 55, Gulshan 2 and in Rabindra Sarani, Sector 7, Uttara –  specialises in Indian cuisine, and has perhaps the best jilapi in town. Ask anyone randomly about the best jilapis s/he has ever tasted, and it is likely that the name of Khazana will pop up sooner or later. Khazana’s jilapi strikes the perfect balance between being too sweet and being not sweet enough to qualify as a jilapi. The restaurant applies saffron to bring in this rich ingredient’s subtle taste and colour. It’s a very crispy jilapi indeed, with a hint of ghee adding to the taste. Price: Tk.690/half kg.
Chawk Bazaar presents the Hummer among jilapis
Living up to the status of royal Mughal culinary feasts, one common thing about Chawk Bazaar’s iftar items is their size and grandiosity. Bigger is better and you would have it no other way. Is shahi jilapi, like many other items sold there, overrated?
Shahi jilapi looks appetising indeed. A huge and round jilapi with several circular loops which would take up the entire space of your large-sized plate, this somewhat “robust” jilapi is a must-have item to share with a group of friends when you’re out for iftar.
It’s quite delicious too. But of course, what makes this jilapi stand out is its grandiosity. Price of 1 kg shahi jilapi (a single, big jilapi) is about Tk.150.
The little joys in life
From the biggest we now move to the smallest. Aristocrat, a restaurant located at Road #131, Gulshan-1 possibly has one of the tiniest jilapis in town. You will immediately fall in love with them if you enjoy the flavour of ghee, which is quite strongly present in this jilapi. Not being too sweet and given its size, you will see yourself gulping a dozen or more of this delight during iftar. Price of Aristocrat’s reshmi jilapi is Tk.500/kg.
The unbeatable neighbourhood jilapi
Price of jilapi is so varied. A lot of restaurants sell jilapi during Ramadan that many might deem overpriced. While this claim is not true all the time it’s not completely false in many cases either; it can’t be denied that buying from these places puts stress on your wallet.
On the other hand, the streets and bazaars in your area sell a wide range of jilapi that can go as low as Tk.80/kg. The taste is not all that bad either. It’s just all a jilapi requires to be: crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside. Some might be poisonously sweet, but then again many of us love this particular quality in jilapi.
Urban legend
Have you ever tasted jilapi soaked in the molasses? A distinct jilapi is the rare ‘gur er jilapi’. Many of us have never tasted it, a lot among us have never even heard of it. Now substituted with sugar, ‘gur er jilapi’ has a similar taste. However a slight but subtle and unmistakeable flavour of ‘gur’ makes it very special.
People who have had it attach a nostalgic feeling towards it, citing how a long time ago, during their childhood, when life was much simpler, they so lovingly ate this jilapi. Now this jilapi makes only cameo appearances in some fairs.
But fortunately, we have many delicious jilapis still in town. And of course, our list isn’t exhaustive. For example, Jaipur Sweets, Dhaba and Oh! Calcutta are few of the names among several that you should definitely check out.