January 26, 2011

PALM SUGAR SYRUP


It is so good to be back in Bali. We four are truly happy here. The kids are in a fun school nearby. We have a little glass-walled bungalow overlooking a vast expanse of rice fields. Life is sweet.


Once I got over my jet lag, which sadly has gotten more and more tenacious as I get older, all I have wanted to do is dive into the local flavors. What are the most luscious and delectable local ingredients? Where are the best markets?  P has taken to waking up early for trips to our small daily village market. Everyone chuckles at him as the odd foreigner; he just keeps going and brings back fantastic goodies. Yes, we really dig rambutans, passion fruit, and mangosteens, but I promise not to share too many recipes using a bunch of obscure tropical ingredients that aren't available away from the equator - I want my travel finds to work in your home kitchens. 

The thing I really want to share with you today is my new love....palm (coconut) sugar! When we were first here late August, I fell for coconut sugar, its flavor dark, caramely, rich, and not-too-sweet. Now that we have a working kitchen, it has become my new favorite ingredient. Quick to melt, palm sugar is a great tool for bakers to have. And here in Asia it is used in both sweet and savory dishes.


Little did I  know that my new indulgence isn't so bad for you. I read up on palm sugar and found that it is low glycemic, high in iron, potassium, zinc, and a multitude of vitamins, etc. Turns out Palm Sugar is the new thing. Who knew?

Every morning we have rice flour pancakes (post coming soon, I promise) topped with yogurt and a drizzle of palm syrup. We use the syrup in a cocktail with Arak (a local Balinese spirit), lime, and mint. I also like to stir palm syrup into plain yogurt to achieve just the right sweetness.

If you try this palm syrup recipe at home, I'd love to hear what you think of the unusual and complex flavor and how you use it. I hope you love it as much as we do!




INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup Palm Sugar: Granulated is easiest and organic seems to be readily available. (If you can only find a block of palm sugar, it is easy to grate with a cheese grater) Note:you should be able to find palm sugar at Asian markets or your local health food store.
  • 1/3 cup water
  • optional 1 vanilla pod (let steep in syrup)


Place grated/granulated palm sugar in a sauce pan with water on stove top over medium heat. Cook until sugar is dissolved and begins to bubble. Take off heat. Let cool. It's that simple.


Now play around with this tasty stuff. Try mixing into yogurt. Drizzle a little on top of your morning pancakes. Have fun!

26 comments:

  1. Wow...that looks fantastic. So dark and almost caramely. I bet the taste is out of this world! Thanks for sharing!

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  2. fabulous bali! sounds wonderful and yes the palm syrup looks delicious. Enjoy your time in a beautiful part of the world! Dayle

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  3. Great photos. Wish I was in Bali at the moment too :) Can't wait for the rice flour pancake recipe.

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  4. LOVE the first shot. simple, bold and graphic. you are getting better and better !!!

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  5. Wow! You lead an amazing life and I'm glad to be able to take a peek into it. Palm syrup looks great; I'll have to check it out. Maybe palm sugar is in the health food store?
    p.s. Your title says "sypup" instead of "syrup." Which I thought was cute because that's what my toddler calls it! But maybe you didn't want to do that on purpose...; )

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  6. Julia - OMG thanks for noting my so embarrassing typo!! Ugggh;) And yes you probably could get palm sugar at the health food store and any Asian market should have it available.

    Pouke, thank you. I am in completely in love with photographing food. There is so much to learn and I love the learning too!

    Where my heart is - Bali is a dream. And the rice flour pancakes are coming your way soon. I promise.

    Dayle and Foodies at Home - Thanks!

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  7. Hi E,
    If you look back to one of your first posts from Bali when you talked about the palm sugar, I was hooked then! Thank you for this post!

    Some call the coconut palm "the tree of life," and the more I learn about virgin coconut oil (and now palm sugar) the more convinced I am that I need to find more ways to incorporate it into my diet.
    Lori

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  8. Lori, it's true about the palm sugar -it was my first favorite flavor here in Bali last fall, and now I am thinking the possibilities are endless.

    I am also more and more convinced of cooking with coconut oil. It is the oil of choice here and I am loving it. The flavorless oil is so versatile!

    "Tree of Life." I like that:)

    Warmest regards always,
    E

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  9. Really? It's healthy? Yay, no worries for me anymore!!

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  10. Absolutely beautiful and inspired pics! Looks delicious! We'd love for you to share your stuff with us over at dishfolio.com!

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  11. that first shot with the spoon should be the cover of your cookbook! omg i've been thinking about it for days. i'm going to find some palm sugar and try it out with my dash.

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  12. Interesting... Thank you for posting this, I've been trying to find a healthier sweetener syrup! And coconut is pretty awesome, so that works out.

    I wonder how this would fare in marshmallows...

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  13. Hey CarinE, Lacey,and Phyllis thanks!!
    Brittany Trei, I'm not sure how the palm sugar would work in marshmallows. I have never made them myself. If you give it a try, I'd love to know what you think.
    Cheers
    -E

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  14. Beautiful photos as always. And welcome back to Bali!! Gautam and I are missing those rice pancakes and palm syrup with just a squeeze of sweet lime at Sarinbuana!

    In India, we get to have palm sugar as well, some versions of Jaggery is made from palm sugar and is such a tasty addition to many many sweets and savories. I make a sweet rice pudding with it, add it to spicy "mulaga podi" which accompanies steamed "idly." We love the taste in our coffee as well.

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  15. So in love with the first picture. The textures and flavors in Bali look incredible. Can't wait.

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  16. Oh! Trying this tomorrow. I got some palm sugar at the local Korean market today. Thanks for the recipe. I'll be back.

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  17. Tabitha, I hope you enjoy your syrup. We find it to be so versatile! Let me know how things go for you:)

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  18. I just discovered palm sugar and so far I love it! Can't wait to try this out for my next pancake day : ) Thanks!

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  19. Hey Whisked Away, Thanks for that nice comment:) Isn't that deep rich flavor palm sugar flavor so good?
    -E

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  20. That looks great. Can't wait to try it. I am curious whether you combine the sugar and water and boil that? Thx.

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  21. Hi Svetlana, Thank you so much for that great question. Yes, the recipe should read "combine the water and sugar." I will go ahead and make the change. I hope you enjoy!
    -E

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  22. Hi there, I made this today and I'm wondering if I overcooked mine. Is it supposed to harden upon cooling? I'm worried that after cooling in my jar it becomes rock hard.

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    1. Hi Clarousel, oh that's not good. You only want to gently melt the sugar in water over medium heat and not cook it beyond that. You've probably made a hard palm sugar caramel;)
      Next time you could try adding more water (you could add as much as 1 cup water) just to be safe - the syrup would be less concentrated but definitely not rock hard. And err on the side of low heat. In this syrup you want the sugar to melt but not caramelize.
      I hope this helps.
      Warmly,
      Erin

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  23. Yummy, we just put your palm sugar syrup recipe to the taste test. Syrup from heaven.

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  24. AnonymousJuly 21, 2013

    Love your recipes! I tried your palm sugar syrup recipe to drizzle on top of matcha tofu cheesecake.. divine! :)

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So good to hear from you... I appreciate each and every note you leave for me!

Thanks,
E

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