Jaggery, which comes in blocks or small round discs, is unrefined sugarpalm sap which has been boiled down and reduced. It gets made all over the Indian sub continent and throughout South East Asia. It is anything from golden to nut brown in colour. I usually buy the golden kind from Thailand, which is like the tropical answer to maple syrup. It has a rich complex smell and flavour – buttery, malty – imagine a piece of butterscotch or a ‘Werther’s Original’ only much, much better…at least, the golden coloured one is. As you can tell, I’m a fan 😉
It is quite hard to cut, and would take ages to dissolve a whole mini cake, but it grates really easily. As well as using it for Asian cookery, it’s really useful for English style home baking.
Seeing as I still haven’t got my cooker piped in, it’s going to be ages until I’m baking again, but this is a quick list of its many uses for dairy free/vegan versions of butter recipes, substituting the sugar in the recipe and using a vegetable oil/hard fat.
The golden kind from Thailand:
With a vegetable solid fat, like Trex, for crumble etc.
With coconut oil for crispy flapjack.
With liquid oil for florentine bases and butter caramel popcorn.
Gently melted and then a plant based milk or cream added for a condensed milk looky likey.
Melted with a little water, it also makes a very acceptable substitute for the multi-layered flavours of honey.
Darker ones are great for darker style (Dundee, Christmas, Jamaican coconut drops, Parkin, Ginger Cake) cakes and sweets as they are more toffee-ish and less buttery.