Jaggerya sweet for all seasons, all reasons

Desi flavour

Jaggerya sweet for all seasons, all reasons

Lovingly prepared by mom nothing quite matches the goodness and taste of home-made food. And if it is something sweet, then homemade confections like gajar ka halwa, piping hot gulab jamuns, pinni replete with dry fruits and oodles of desi ghee (clarified butter) are a hot favourite of every Indian household, especially during winters. However, another sweet which continues to find many takers is jaggery or better known as gurh in Hindi. 

A traditional sugar consumed in Asia and Africa jaggery is a concentrated product of date, cane juice and palm sap, is basically golden brown to dark brown in colour. This versatile sweet is by far the most pocket-friendly dessert. Indeed in places like Haryana and Uttar Pradesh an elaborate preparation goes in preparing jaggery, which is often garnished with sesame seeds, nuts and dry fruits to make it a really wholesome after-meal dessert.

In most homes in North India jaggery is used to prepare chikki, jaggery peanut brittle or more famously known gurh ki gajak or gurh ki patti, sesame seed laddoos, rice pudding or gurh ki chapattis prepared after kneading flour with the gooey golden brown treacle to make sweet chapattis—a definite invitation to not skip dinner. The consumption of jaggery goes up during winters as in many households the early morning cuppa is all about a rich brew of ginger, gurh, tulsi and cardamom to set one for the day.

One has often heard about the good old rajma-chawal, chhole-chawal and kadi-chawal combination, but how about a plateful of gurh ke chawal? Interesting? The golden brown syrup when mixed with the basmati is a preparation that is quite rustic, basic and perhaps that is where lies it goodness! Add to it a layer of dry fruits and condensed milk, and behold who have a dish that will leave you asking for more! Be sure the sweetness of the recipe will linger with you for a long time. And it is easy to prepare as well.

Jaggery, also known as gul in Marathi, is effective in countless ways. Rich in iron content it helps in reducing anaemia, especially if eaten with roasted gram. Not only is it a better tasting natural sweetener, it helps treat cough, bloating, water retention and migraine. It is also a good source of magnesium which is beneficial for the muscles, nerves and blood vessels. It helps in maintaining blood pressure because it has low sodium and high potassium content. Apart from its health benefits jaggery has religious significance across India.

Many of the Hindu festivals involve the offering of jaggery to deities during worship. Considered auspicious, in many parts of India it is eaten raw before the commencement of any important new venture, or after good news is shared by family and friends. In rural Maharashtra and Karnataka, water and a piece of jaggery is given when someone arrives home from working under a hot sun. So, this winter try to be a little desi by having jaggery with your jiggery (near and dear) ones.

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