Used for centuries in India, Gur Shakkar or Jaggery Sugar is an excellent nutritional sweetener. Also known as Ayurvedic Sugar or Punjabi Sugar, it is chock full of all the essential nutrients of sugar cane. Gur Shakkar is made from fresh sugarcane juice which is boiled until it solidifies. This sugar is rich in antioxidants and minerals like magnesium, zinc, and selenium. It also has high levels of iron and calcium. Considered an effective blood purifier, this form of raw sugar can also help with digestive issues. It is especially good for liver detox and helps flush toxins from the body.
Unlike refined sugar, it is not empty calories. In fact, jaggery has a mineral content approximately 50 times greater than that of refined sugar and five times more than brown sugar. You can substitute jaggery for granulated white sugar or brown sugar in many recipes. To achieve equivalent sweetness, you may need to use about one-and-a-half times the amount of jaggery as white sugar. However, I recommend experimenting with the quantity. The unique taste of this sweetener more than makes up for the lighter sweetness. As a rule, instead of 1/2 cup white sugar, I substitute a maximum of 2/3 cup Gur Shakkar.
Ayurvedic Sugar (Gur Shakkar) enhances the taste of milk, tea, coffee, lemonade and any other beverage hot or cold that could use a sweetener. It provides a wonderfully malty flavor to milk, tea, and coffee. I also like to use Gur Shakkar for baking. It enhances the flavor of cookies in which you might consider using brown sugar, molasses, or other kinds of syrups. I have also used it in cakes, especially multigrain ones. You can substitute it for white sugar in many India desserts too, especially Rice Kheer, Sevitan Kheer, Halwa, Laddoo, and many more.
A word to the wise: while this sweetener may provides a healthy energy boost due to it nutritional profile, it nevertheless is still a sweetener and is calorie rich. Like all other sweetness, consume in moderation.
Recipes with Gur Shakkar
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