Jaggery Sugar

If refined — even minimally processed — sugars aren’t your thing, then a jaggery sugar may be right up your alley. Jaggery is the closest you can get to sugar as it was done thousands of years ago. It’s made the truly old-fashioned way: by boiling cane juice in broad pans until most of the water has evaporated, then allowing the syrup to cool and crystallize into a thick slurry of crystals. At that point it’s poured into a conical mold with a hole at the bottom so the molasses can run out. A week or so later you have…this!

Here it’s important to note that jaggery can be made from either cane or date palm sugar. This, I was very surprised to learn this morning, is palm sugar. I jimmied a piece off the side with a knife and sure enough it tasted like dates. I also thought the burlap sack was a nice touch. Jaggery sugars are made and sold all over southern and south eastern Asia. They can be light or dark and have a variety of flavors, from very mild to quite strong indeed.

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14 Responses to Jaggery Sugar

  1. K-Line says:

    I’ve never heard of or seen this before. Fascinating. Looks like a loaf of bread.

  2. Ellen says:

    Some of my Indian students used to talk about jaggery. We have some international food stores here…..I may go in search of this.

    • joepastry says:

      You’ll get a kick out of it I think, Ellen. I have no idea what I’m going to do with this, however!

      - Joe

      • manmita says:

        You can make delicious peanut brittle – roasted peanuts added to jaggery syrup ,when a drop syrup is added to a cup of water , a small ball can be formed when rolled with fingers. The ball can be soft or hard depending upon the sweet you want, that brittle or a chewy caramel. Yum !

  3. Charm says:

    LOVE jaggery. But a little goes a LONG way! Very sweet. Very intense. Nibble a bit, sip tea. Nibble a bit, sip tea. Or as a topping for plain yogurt. Might have to go scrounge in the pantry now.

  4. Frankly says:

    My problem with this sugar is the amount of sticks, stems, leaves and other UFOs in it. It may be OK but it looks unsanitary as all get out.

    I love Indian cooking and do a lot of it at home but I pass on jaggery & go for muscovado or turb

    • joepastry says:

      Hm, yes, I see that for sure, Frankly. However don’t forget that sugar is a powerful anti-microbial. It all adds to the flavor! ;)

      - Joe

      • Charm says:

        It must be the point of manufacture. I’ve NEVER seen any UFOs (or even identifiable but unwanted objects) in the jaggery I’ve had. It’s always been just sugar. May have to find a different source?

        • Frankly says:

          You may be right. There are only a few stores around he that carry the stuff. Maybe I have to keep looking.

  5. Rebecca says:

    Hi Joe – Never seen anything like that before. Where did you find it and more importantly, where can I find it? I live near my city’s “little India” so maybe around there somewhere?

    Further, my Chinese mother-in-law uses “Chinese brown sugar” or unrefined cane sugar “bricks”. Are these products similar?

    • joepastry says:

      Hey Rebecca!

      Yes, an Indian grocery store is where to go for jaggery, no question. It’s usually near the produce. As for those Chinese brown sugar bricks, they are indeed made via a similar method. Thanks for the comment!

      - Joe

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