The Joy of Palm Sugar

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palm sugarspoonful of palm sugar

Thai curry recipes — especially those that include cracked coconut cream — often call for palm sugar, which is readily available in Asian markets. I learned in Thai Cooking School that palm sugar is made from the sap of blossoms on coconut palm trees. Workers climb the trees, collect the sap, then boil it down until it crystallizes. The process, in fact, is similar to how maple syrup is made.

Palm sugar has a rich, almost butterscotch flavor that adds an extra depth to already-intense Thai curries. I highly recommend trying it, particularly if your recipe calls for equally distinctive, flavorful ingredients such as fish sauce, coconut cream and tamarind. An added bonus: Palm sugar is becoming trendy as a refined-sugar alternative, similar to honey, agave and raw sugar. Not sure if it’s exactly healthy, but at least it’s made in a more eco-friendly fashion than table sugar. Here’s an interesting post on the merits of palm sugar, from the blog Summer Tomato.

8 Responses to “The Joy of Palm Sugar”

  1. crackingcurry.com » Blog Archive » Halibut in Red Curry Coconut Sauce Says:

    […] freeze other half) 3 tbsp red curry paste 4-6 kaffir lime leaves (bruised) 4 tbsp fish sauce 3 tbsp palm sugar 1 can coconut milk 2 filets of halibut (or sea bass, snapper, etc.) – cut in several pieces […]

  2. Tweets that mention crackingcurry.com » Blog Archive » The Joy of Palm Sugar -- Topsy.com Says:

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  3. Emily Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by colleen debaise. colleen debaise said: The Joy of Palm Sugar (common ingredient in Thai curries) http://tinyurl.com/27a8g7m […]

  4. crackingcurry.com » Blog Archive » My New Pan – and Spicy Southern Curry with Swordfish Says:

    […] cup coconut cream 3 tbsp red curry paste 3 tbsp fish sauce 1 tbsp oyster sauce 1 tbsp palm sugar 4 tbsp fish stock 1 bulb lemongrass (lower third of stalk) 1 stalk lemongrass, sliced 4-6 kaffir […]

  5. crackingcurry.com » Blog Archive » Orange & Ginger Chicken Says:

    […] finished product was indeed lip-smacking, but not quite a winner.  I substituted palm sugar for brown sugar, and added chili peppers for heat, but still….the sauce (made primarily out […]

  6. crackingcurry.com » Blog Archive » Maiden Voyage of New Alessi Wok! Says:

    […] it’s time to add about 4 tbsp of fish sauce and 3 tbsp of palm sugar. I know, I know, palm sugar is hard to find. You could probably use brown sugar or agave nectar as a substitute, but palm […]

  7. crackingcurry.com » Blog Archive » Making Easy & Simple Curry Says:

    […] alert: If you can’t find palm sugar, which is made from the sap of blossoms of palm trees, you could use agave nectar or brown sugar or […]

  8. crackingcurry.com » Blog Archive » A Boxing Day Curry — An Easy Shrimp Veggie Dish Says:

    […] sauce 4 tbsp oyster sauce 3 tbsp chile paste (I prefer sambal oelek, a cousin of Sriracha) 1.5 tbsp palm sugar 1 can of coconut milk 2 birds eye chile, diced 1.5 lb shrimp 1 red bell pepper, julienned 1 […]

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