Zileybi | Lonumedhu



So happy to be finally sharing our zileybi recipe as we’ve been receiving so many requests for this over the years.


Making zileybi is not really difficult, but there are many things you have to make sure of to get them right.

For one, do not skip the fermentation step as it is crucial for both the flavour and structure of the zileybi. When adding the red food colouring to the batter, add just enough to get the batter a deep shade of pink to get the zilyebi bright red when fried and soaked. To get the zileybi soaked just right, both the sugar syrup and zileybi need to be warm when the zileybi is placed in the sugar syrup for soaking. There are some more tips and tricks you can use to get good zileybis; these you’ll find in the instructions.



Makes: 8


For the batter

  • 1 cup & 1 tbsp. flour
  • 2/3 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ cup & 2 tbsp. water
  • ½ tsp. red food colour

For the sugar syrup

  • 2 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 4 pandan leave pieces (1.5 inches each)
  • 1 tsp. rose water

For frying

  • 1 cup vegetable oil



  1. Sift 1 cup flour and baking powder into a bowl.
  2. Add water to the bowl, mix to combine, and then add the food colour and mix until the batter reaches a lump free consistency. We used a spoon for the mixing.
  3. Using plastic food wrap, cover the bowl well, making sure it’s airtight. Let the batter ferment at room temperature for 24 hours.
  4. When the 24 hours is over, remove the plastic wrap. The batter will have bubbles in it, and it’ll also smell funky.
  5. Add 1 tbsp. flour into the fermented batter and mix until fully combined. Set it aside while you prepare the sugar syrup.
  6. Add sugar, 1 ½ cups water and pandan to a pot and bring it to a boil. Then lower the heat to medium and let it simmer until the sugar syrup reaches one string consistency (to check the consistency, remove a teaspoon size amount of syrup and let it cool down just enough so that it doesn’t burn you when you touch it. Then place a few drops of the syrup on your thumb and put your forefinger on it gently. Then pull your thumb and forefinger apart gently. If you’ve reached the one string consistency, you’ll see a single sugar syrup thread between the two fingers). For us this took around 10 minutes and the sugar syrup was pretty thick at this point.
  7. Switch off the heat and stir in the rose water. The sugar syrup is now ready.
  8. Pour the zileybi batter into a piping bag, squeeze bottle or a piping syringe (we had the best results using a piping syringe with a 6mm round nozzle).
  9. Add the oil to a pot and heat it up. Add a little bit of the batter into the oil to check the heat. If the batter floats to the top and you see bubbles forming around it, the oil is hot enough.
  10. Squeeze while swirling the piping bag (or squeeze bottle or syringe) in circles from center to outwards and back into the center to form the zileybi shape.
  11. Fry the zileybi until crispy. You’ll have to flip it while frying to get both sides cooked evenly. When the zileybi is fried, remove from oil, drain, and lay it on a plate. We fried our zileybi in batches of two.
  12. Add the warm zileybi to the warm sugar syrup and let it soak for 3 minutes and remove to a plate. This too we did in batches of two. The zileybi is going to be a bit hard at first after soaking and there’s not going to be too much juice inside it either. Just leave soaked zileybi at room temperature for around half an hour and you’ll find them juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside.



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