Like panela, jaggery is an unrefined sugar. In many ways, it’s another name for the same product as similar versions of unrefined, non-centrifugal sugars that exist throughout Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. They’re known by many different names, from jaggery, panela, and piloncillo to gur (India), tapa dulce (Costa Rica), namtan tanode (Thailand), gula melaka (Malaysia), and kokuto (Japan) (via Healthline).
Jaggery is primarily made from sugarcane in Asia and Africa. It comes in a spectrum of hues, from light gold to dark brown, and is graded based on its color. Lighter shades are considered higher quality and contain more than 70% sucrose (remember, white sugar is 99.95% sucrose).
Because it contains some beneficial nutrients that are removed with molasses in refined sugar, jaggery is gaining traction in the United States as a “superfood sweetener.” That said, jaggery is still sugar, and you would have to eat a lot of it for those trace nutrients to make a difference. Like all the sugars on this list, use it for the flavor rather than any supposed health benefits.
Jaggery can be grated, broken up, or melted and used as a replacement for refined sugar. It goes particularly well with coconut, peanuts, and condensed milk in traditional Asian and African desserts, like jaggery cake and chakkara pongal, a mix of milk and rice.
The above news was originally posted on www.mashed.com