Jaggery based Desserts that are Mouth-watering yet Healthy

Be it tilgul ladoos or Nolen gurer payesh, jaggery has been a part of Indian desserts for a long, long time. Gud or jaggery is universally believed to be better than refined white sugar. So let’s know more about jaggery based desserts and where to find them.

Srushti Pathak
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Jaggery Based Desserts

From daan to prasad, gud (jaggery) is an integral part of Indian as well as South Asian heritage and culture. In some communities, once an elder turns 80 years old, their weight in jaggery is distributed to a charity. Jaggery can boost immunity and aid in digestion. It contains calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and iron.

So we bring you some recipes for delicious jaggery-based desserts and brands that offer them as a ready-to-eat option.

1. Gul Poli

Gul Poli

Gud ki roti is made in Punjabi homes while Maharashtrians have their gulachi poli prepared during winters. The combination of sesame seeds and jaggery is delectable.

You Will Need:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup maida
  • 1 tablespoon oil, hot
  • Salt to taste
  • Lukewarm water, as required
  • 3/4 cup gud (jaggery)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon besan
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon ghee
  • 2-1/2 tablespoon til (sesame seeds)
  • 1 tablespoon khus khus (poppy seeds)
  • 1 teaspoon elaichi powder
  • 2 teaspoon water

Let’s Get Cooking:

In a large mixing bowl, mix the wheat flour and the all purpose flour along with salt. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a tadka pan. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture. Pour hot oil in it. Mix well. Add warm water to make a soft dough. Knead the dough well. Keep aside covered with a wet cloth. For the filling, take a mixing bowl and grate the jaggery in it. Add elaichi powder to it and mix well. Add 2 tablespoons of warm water to the mixture and let the jaggery dissolve in water. The mixture should be thick and not watery. Heat a pan on medium heat. Add til seeds and khus khus one by one and dry roast them together for 1 minute. Let the seeds cool. Grind them to a smooth powder and keep aside. Heat a pan on medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons of ghee to the pan and add the gram flour. Let the besan roast on low heat till it changes its colour to brown and a roasted aroma comes out of it. Turn off the heat, transfer it to a plate and let it cool. Add the til and khus khus powder and the roasted gram flour to the jaggery mixture and mix all ingredients well. The dough should be well rested by now. Make a lemon-sized ball of the dove at a time. sprinkle some flour on the rolling surface. Roll the dough to the size of a poori (3-4 inch diameter circular shape). Place 1 tablespoon filling in the centre. Close it by covering the edges at the top so that the filling does not come out. The procedure is exactly the same as a stuffed paratha. Roll out the ball to a circular shape. The Gul Polis are usually thin and they crisp up after they cool down. Meanwhile, heat tawa on medium heat. Cook the Gul Poli on both sides till golden brown. Use ghee or oil for cooking both sides. Serve the hot Gul Poli with ghee on top. 

Where: The Maharashtrian favourite quintessential sweet shop Chitale Bandhu offers Mini Gul Poli.

2. Sri Lankan Watalappan

Sri Lankan Watalappan

It’s a delicious and creamy baked Cardamom Spiced Coconut Custard and sweetened with unrefined jaggery.

You Will Need:

  • 4 whole eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 lb finely grated kitul jaggery (special Sri Lankan jaggery)
  • ⅛ cup hot water
  • 3 -4 elaichi, powdered
  • ¼ tsp of jaiphal (nutmeg)
  • 2 cups of thick coconut milk
  • Pinch of salt

Let’s Get Cooking:

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Oil and Prepare 7-8, ½ cup capacity ramekins. In a large bowl combine the jaggery and water and stir until it becomes a paste with no lumps (it does not need to dissolve completely). Add the eggs and egg yolk, spices and salt and whisk until well combined. Take care not to make the egg mixture frothy. Add the 2 cups of coconut milk and whisk well. Pour the mix into the prepared ramekins. Cover the ramekins with foil. Bake the ramekins in a water bath for about 30-40 minutes. You want the custard to set, but the middle to be very slightly wobbly. Remove from the oven and let them cool for about 15 minutes in the water bath. When cool enough to handle, remove them from the water bath and cover the ramekins with plastic wrap, and place it in the fridge to chill for at least 3 hours. Best if chilled overnight.

Where: Delhi-based Jaggery Desserts by Madhavi Menon and Jonathan Gil Harris offer Sri Lankan Watalappan among other jaggery-based desserts. 

3. Soyi Khadi or Thengai Vellam Barfi 

Thengai Vellam Barfi 

The texture of this coconut jaggery barfi largely depends on the kind of jaggery used. Sometimes they tend to get rock-hard. Like any Indian sweet, it has to be removed from heat at the right moment.

You Will Need:

  • 1 cup fresh grated coconut
  • 1 cup jaggery
  • 1 teaspoon ghee
  • 5-6 elaichi (cardamom pods)

Let’s Get Cooking:

Apply ghee to a plate or wooden board and rolling pin, keep aside. Combine jaggery and coconut in a thick-bottomed pan and start heating. Keep mixing on a medium-low flame taking care the mixture does not turn brown (it goes from a light colour to dark brown within a few seconds). When the mixture becomes frothy and starts leaving the base, take off the heat. Mix in the cardamom powder. Spread the mixture on the prepared wooden board or plate. Let it cool to room temperature. Then cut them into small pieces and serve.

Where: Sweet Karam Coffee was started by a South Indian foodie family who wanted to take the richness of their cuisine and culture globally. They offer Jaggery Coconut Barfi and several other delicacies.

4. Coconut Jaggery Chikki

Coconut Jaggery Chikki

Though easily available in the market, nothing compares to cooking something you love at home. 

You Will Need:

  • 2 cups dried coconut, grated
  • 1/4 cup gud (jaggery), chopped
  • 1/4 cup khus khus (poppy seeds)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon green elaichi powder (cardamom)

Let’s Get Cooking:

Heat jaggery in a non-stick pan and cook till it melts. Dry-roast grated coconut in another non-stick pan till golden and fragrant. Transfer roasted coconut to a bowl. Similarly, dry-roast khus khus. Add sugar to melted jaggery, mix and cook till sugar melts and caramelises. Add ½ of the roasted coconut and mix. Add roasted poppy seeds and mix well. Add elaichi powder and mix. Add remaining roasted coconut, mix and cook for a minute. Fill in ¼ of a silicon muffin mould with the coconut-jaggery mixture and level it out. Refrigerate to set for ½-1 hour. Demould and serve.

Where: Aazol, a home-grown brand that offers foods from Maharashtra, has a fine collection of jaggery-based desserts like Soft Coconut Jaggery Chikki.

5. Sattu and Jaggery Ladoo

Sattu and Jaggery Ladoo

Sattu has been an age-old flour that has been used for culinary purposes majorly in the northern and central parts of India, especially Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. 

You Will Need:

  • 1 cup sattu flour
  • ½ cup jaggery powder or grated jaggery
  • 3 tablespoons ghee 
  • ¼ teaspoon elaichi (cardamom) powder

Let’s Get Cooking:

Heat 1 tablespoon ghee in a kadhai or pan and allow it to melt. Next, add 1 heaped cup of sattu flour. Mix the flour with the ghee and begin to roast sattu flour on low to medium-low heat. Stir often while roasting. The sattu just needs to be lightly roasted. Roast sattu flour for 2 minutes on low to medium-low heat. Transfer the flour to a separate bowl. Add the jaggery powder and green cardamom powder. You can also use grated jaggery. Mix thoroughly. If there are small granules in the jaggery powder, then you can just blend the ladoo mixture in a blender or mixer-grinder till the mixture becomes smooth and even. Or you can opt to blend the jaggery powder in the mixer or blender before you add it to the sattu flour. Next, add 2 tablespoons of ghee. The ghee can be at room temperature. If the ghee is solid and hard, heat it slightly so that it melts a bit. Begin to mix very well. Shape into ladoo while the mixture is still warm. If you are unable to form ladoo, then add a few teaspoons more of the ghee. Serve Sattu ke Laddu as a sweet snack.

Where: Two Brothers is a brand by 4th generation farmers who are inspired by ancient wisdom and sustainable organic farming. They sell Sattu and Jaggery Laddoo among other goodies.

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