Lion: Indian Jelabi Recipe

Year Released: 2016
Directed by: Garth Davis 
Starring: Dev Patel, Sunny Pawar, Rooney Mara. Nicole Kidman. David Wenham
(PG-13, 120 min.)

“I have to find my way back home.”  Saroo

An accidental Huckleberry Finn, not drifting down the Mississippi, but streaming across India in a train that eats up the miles between him and his small Indian village.

Five-year-old Saroo gets lost on a train which takes him thousands of Kilometers across India, away from home and family. Saroo must learn to survive alone in Kolkata, before ultimately being adopted by an Australian couple. Twenty-five years later, armed with only a handful of memories, his unwavering determination, and a revolutionary technology known as Google Earth, he sets out to find his lost family and finally return to his first home.

Young Saroo (Sunny Pawar) charms us immediately.  In an opening scene he stands transfixed as a wave of orange butterflies lights down from the sky.  He snitches up handfuls of coal atop a speeding train with his brother, and then fearlessly jumps and runs away from the guard who pursues them.  The sweet smelling jalebi at the market tantalizes Saroo’s senses just as the butterflies did.  And then it is the adventure of going on a night job with his brother Guddu (Abhishek Bharate) that leads Saroo on.  In some ways he is as beautiful and capricious as those butterflies themselves. 

That charm also persuades Guddu to cast aside his better judgment and let Saroo accompany him on his night job.  And that is where everything falls apart. 

Looking for Guddu, a sleepy Saroo wanders onto a train and falls asleep.  The doors are locked from the outside and he must travel for days until they finally open to a horde of passengers.  The five- year-old worms his way out against the throng and begins his life on the streets in Kolkata.

Saroo has the face of an angel, but the heart of a lion, which is what his name means.  He has an instinct for survival, too. 

Rather subtle but always lurking in the background are those who would exploit the street urchins.  They raid the train station where Saroo sleeps with others like him.  Many are swept up and carried away, but Saroo runs like the wind. 

Even the sweet woman who takes him home to a bath and good meal has ulterior motives, and the orphanage where he ultimately lives is “a bad place,” according to the young girl who befriends him.

We see what she means when one boy is whisked away in the night. 

Luckily Saroo is whisked away to better things; he is adopted by a wonderful Australian couple who raise him as their own.   

The second half of the film deals with an adult Saroo (Dev Patel) and his quest for his lost family, seemingly forgotten until a special food awakens old memories.

This part gets a bit bogged down.  It lacks the adventure, danger, and urgency of the earlier narrative as the older Saroo becomes obsessed with finding his early family.  Using Google Earth he tries to find that elusive train station where he first went astray, and his apartment soon becomes strewn with maps covered with colored pins.  He tortures himself with what his Indian family must have gone through, to the point of endangering his ties with his loved ones right there.  Without sleep or a haircut the older Saroo almost becomes as feral as the street urchin he was 25 years earlier.

Identity is at the crux of it all.  The well-educated Saroo speaks with an Australian twang, but his memories once awakened call him back to a dusty village half a world away. 

How he seeks and then reconciles those two worlds is a lesson for us all.  Not to be missed.

–Kathy Borich


Film-Loving Foodie

A very young Saroo smells the delicious confection Jalebi frying on an open grill in the market.  He and his brother Guddu are selling some chunks of coal they have pilfered from a moving train.  In exchange they get milk to take home to their mother and sister.

It isn’t the milk, but the delicious, sweet Jalebi that Saroo longs for.  Someday, his brother promises him, he will make enough money to buy some for Saroo.

But it will be 25 years before Saroo will taste this confection, and it will be bitter sweet.  Because for this happily adopted Australian, all the memories of his lost life and family in India flood upon him in a deluge that leave him forever altered.

Our recipe takes a little time, but is well worth it. 

Indian Jalebis

Jalebi is a popular Indian dessert made with maida (flour) and sugar syrup. Served during festivals and special occasions, this dessert recipe is loved not just by kids but adults too. For a twist, this simple recipe can also be served as a breakfast recipe with milk or curd, it will taste divine!    Courtesy:


2 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 cup yoghurt (curd)

1/4 cup ghee

2 cup sugar

1 pinch saffron

1/4 teaspoon powdered black cardamom

1/4 cup corn flour

1 pinch baking soda

2 cup sunflower oil

2 cup Water

1 teaspoon Rose water

1/2 teaspoon edible food color


Step 1: For making this easy dessert recipe, mix all purpose flour, corn flour and baking soda in a bowl.

Step 2: Add ghee and food colour and mix well.

Step 3: Add the curd and enough water to make a thick batter and keep aside for 8 hours or overnight.

Step 4: Using a ladle, mix well until it is thick but has a pouring consistency.

Step 5: To make the sugar syrup, heat water in a pan over medium flame. Add sugar and mix until fully dissolved.

Step 6
: Simmer the syrup until it has one string consistency. Add saffron, cardamom powder and rose essence. Stir well.

Step 7: Heat oil for deep frying over medium flame.

Step 8: Now fill the jalebi batter in a muslin cloth and pierce a small hole in it.

Step 9: Now squeeze the muslin cloth to make concentric circles. Move from inside to outside to make perfect circles. Fry till jalebis are crisp and golden.

Step 10: Soak them in sugar syrup for 2-3 minutes. Ensure that the sugar syrup is warm and not very hot.

Step 11: Now remove from the syrup and place on a tray lined with butter paper or foil.

Step 12: Decorate with silver foil and serve the jalebis hot, warm or at room temperature.

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