4 Ways To Use Palm Sugar: Healthy Living Through Jamu
Natural sweeteners can give your favorite dish a flavorful edge without your health taking a hit. Palm sugar often makes appearances in anything from Indian curries to Southeast Asian stir-fries, always leaving behind a floral aroma and a smooth taste.
Collected from the boiled sap of palm flowers, this unrefined sugar is one of the healthiest alternatives to commonplace sweeteners. Not only does it make for the perfect addition to your favorite dishes and drinks, but it also has a unique butterscotch flavor that is hard to recreate.
Keep reading, and we'll share four ways that you can indulge in the natural sweetness of palm sugar through jamu.
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#1. Kunir Asem - The Classic
Whether you're using palm sugar, cane sugar, or coconut sugar, the right sweetener can truly elevate your favorite dishes in a more memorable way.
If you're looking to indulge in healthier eating habits, you don't need to swear off sugar altogether, as long as you know what natural ingredients are best to use.
Instead of white granulated sugar or other refined sweeteners, opting for natural sugars like coconut sugar or dark palm sugar can be the right path for you.
Though it often comes down to personal preference, the rich and smokey flavor of Thai palm sugar is not one you can easily throw to the wayside!
The recipes of jamu incorporate palm or coconut sugar as an integral ingredient
For over two thousand years, the ancient Indonesian wellness custom of jamu turned to natural healing remedies to promote a sound mind, body, and soul.
These herbal wellness practices showcased the vast power that healthy habits and self-care rituals can have on one's health.
In the book "Jamu Lifestyle: The Indonesian Herbal Wellness Tradition," Metta Murdaya, the co-founder of jamu-based skincare line JUARA, shares the intricate story of Indonesia's herbal wellness history.
In this book, there are countless recipes and rituals that incorporate the flavor of palm sugar as well as hundreds of other natural ingredients.
Traditional recipes with an additional modern-day take
The recipe for Kunir Asem in this book includes two parts; a classic jamu version, and a version that Metta developed as she traveled across the United States, which can be better suited for a Western audience.
To create this exciting summertime beverage, start by blending 1 tablespoon chopped fresh turmeric, 1 teaspoon tamarind fruit paste, and 2 cups water. Bring it to a gentle boil for about ten minutes.
After, add 1 lime slice, salt to taste, and palm sugar or coconut sugar to taste.
#2. Immunity-Boosting Jamu Tonic
The beauty of jamu is that it is often created in order to promote better health and wellness in an uplifting and enlightening way.
And that's one of the reasons why the Immunity-Boosting Jamu Tonic from Metta's illustration stands out so proudly.
Created by Vanessa Ong, the founder of Nona Kalani, this refrigerated beverage can be made in bulk ahead of time, so that you can enjoy a glass a day and reap the full rewards.
A seemingly simple concoction with dark palm sugar that packs a flavorful punch
This simple yet powerful formula only calls for four health-boosting ingredients; fresh turmeric (Curcuma longa), fresh Java turmeric (Curcuma zanthoria/temulawak), palm sugar, and water.
You'll be left with the perfect jamu for boosting your immune system.
This herbal health tonic is best when served chilled.
#3. Ginger Turmeric Latte
Especially as we enter the colder months, now is the time to treat your mind and stomach to a warm, soothing beverage.
This Ginger Turmeric Latte was carefully crafted by JUARA co-founded Metta Murdaya and is one of the tastiest recipes if you're looking to spice up your winter.
Boil a few cups of water, a cup of ginger powder, and 1/3 cup of turmeric powder until the turmeric powder expands and the mixture gets thick. Add a pinch of black pepper and a half cup of palm sugar or coconut sugar.
There are countless other ways to enjoy this Ginger Turmeric Latte
This all-purpose recipe is great for any and everyone.
Explore Metta's book "Jamu Lifestyle" for a handful of other variations, including a delectable ginger hot chocolate and an energizing cranberry ginger spritzer!
#4. Metta's Basic Marinade
You can infuse palm sugar into more than just your favorite morning beverage.
Palm sugar makes frequent appearances in Thai cooking and other Southeastern Asian cuisine, and is one of the best ways to enhance your daily cooking, desserts, or occasional snack.
Metta's Basic Marinade is a comfort food that is inspired by Chinese and Indonesian ingredients.
Feel free to be as generous with the tamarind, ginger, and garlic as you'd like to offset the soy sauce base.
Follow this recipe for a delicious meal your stomach will adore you for
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 1/2 oz fresh ginger
- 1 1/2 tbsp honey
- 1 1/2 tbsp brown sugar, which you can substitute with coconut or palm sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp tamarind sauce
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 white onion, sliced
- 1 3/4 lbs of your choice of protein (chicken, salmon, or even tofu works great!)
Start by setting aside the onion, and mixing together all your ingredients in a food processor. Make sure everything is well blended and the ginger is evenly chopped.
Add the protein, onion slices, and the blended mixture into a large bowl and let it marinate for 20 minutes.
Pan-fry the protein with some oil on low/medium heat. Feel free to cook the onions in there as well.
Once the protein and onions are cooked, serve immediately with a side of veggies or rice.
If you're looking to elevate your way of living through healthier practices and better cuisine, the customs of jamu could be right for you.
Even if you're not looking to infuse palm sugar into each and every dish you create, jamu is still an amazing path to a healthier lifestyle.
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