It’s funny how a temperature which used to feel like the height of summer leaves you wrapped in a blanket a couple of years after moving abroad. I moved to India from England three years ago, and my life has changed so drastically, even my internal thermostat has shifted!
During the winter months, I like to cosy up in the mornings with a sweet hot masala chai. My consumption of sugar has increased with my optimum temperature, India has given me such a sweet tooth, I decided to switch from refined white sugar, to jaggery.
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Jaggery (gur in Hindi) is unrefined sugar made from sugar cane or the sap from a date palm tree and sold in big blocks. It’s used extensively here in India and across South and South East Asia. Jaggery is added to savoury dishes for sweetness, or mixed with nuts, condensed milk or coconut to make Indian sweets. In Ayurveda (ancient Hindu medicine system), jaggery is used in religious ceremonies and provides numerous health benefits, including joint pain relief and prevention of respiratory problems. Furthermore, because jaggery is unrefined, it releases energy more slowly than refined sugar and contains traces of minerals, fiber and iron.
The first couple of times I turned my nose up at this yellowy brown, gooey, sticky mess. Over time, though, as I became acquainted with the very unique and overpoweringly sweet taste, I started adding it to everything!
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One night I was craving something sweet, but I really wanted to avoid dumping a couple of spoonfuls of refined white sugar into a cup of tea, so I stood in my kitchen and pondered for a while. I looked at the huge steel barrel full of several kilograms of the organic jaggery and had an idea!
That’s when I made my first jaggery hot chocolate. The taste was phenomenal! The sweet, fruity, caramel like, almost spicy taste complimented the deep earthy taste of the cocoa. Why hadn’t I thought of this before and why haven’t you tried it yet?
Jaggery Hot Chocolate
You will need:
- 2 teaspoons of organic jaggery
- 2 teaspoons of 100% cocoa powder
- 1 mug of warm milk
Heat your milk, add your organic jaggery and cocoa powder, stir until the jaggery dissolves and enjoy!
Jaggery hot chocolate is now my favourite cold morning treat, masala chai has been relegated. If you want to cosy up with a jaggery hot chocolate during these cold winter months, but you don’t live in Asia, you should be able to find organic jaggery in your local Asian supermarket, or online.