Without sweet dishes, the Indian palate is never fully satisfied. Different types of sweeteners include honey, brown sugar, and jaggery. These give recipes a sweet taste but differ in many ways, such as their nutritional value and advantages. For example, brown sugar and jaggery are two sweeteners that differ in taste and nutritional value but have similar texture. Let’s learn about the differences and uses of these two sweeteners.
Can even people think about avoiding any sugar-containing foods or beverages? It's strange, isn't it? Yes, sugar plays a vital role in daily life. But white sugar is infamous for having added fat in it. That is certainly unacceptable for a healthy lifestyle. But there are other options are there like Jaggery and Brown Sugar.
Jaggery and brown sugar are utilised to enhance the sweetness of food and drinks. Although they both have similar colour and taste, a few minor variations give each unique quality. While brown sugar is unquestionably superior to white sugar found in stores, not many people are aware of the superiority of brown sugar over jaggery. Here, let's discuss which is better so that people can add healthier choices to their diet for a sweet taste.
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What Is Brown Sugar?
Brown sugar is a sucrose sugar product that has a brown colour. The thick juice called molasses is what gives it its unique colour. The colour and texture of brown sugar are determined by the quantity of molasses as well as the processing level. Natural brown sugar can be prepared by combining molasses with white sugar (commercial brown sugar), or it can be an unrefined or partly refined soft sugar composed of sugar crystals with a little residual molasses content.
Molasses in brown sugar offer a unique flavour, taste, and texture. Brown sugars can take on different textures, ranging from soft to coarse, based on their moisture content. Changes in the amount of molasses and different processing techniques can alter this. In most cases, people are accustomed to soft and light dark brown sugar, which is widely utilised in baking.
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What Is Jaggery?
Gur or jaggery is a sugar substitute highly popular in Southeast Asia and Africa. A significant amount of molasses is present because it has less processed sugar. In a nutshell, it can be said that jaggery is a classic non-centrifugal cane sugar that is used in the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Its colour ranges from golden brown to dark brown because it is a concentrated cane juice product in which the crystals and molasses are mixed.
Jaggery has almost 50% sucrose, 20% invert sugars, and up to 20% moisture. It is a prevalent opinion that jaggery is "healthier" compared to other kinds of sugar. While science has verified some of these claims, research is still being done on the benefits and risks of jaggery for overall wellness.
Difference Between Brown Sugar And Jaggery
Unrefined sugar produced without spinning is called jaggery, or "Gur." Refined sugar, unlike brown sugar, goes through a step in the refinement procedure called centrifuging. Unlike brown sugar, jaggery is not treated with charcoal.
Jaggery is widely consumed as a sweetener in India and the nearby regions. It is used in a variety of Indian drinks along with savoury and sweet dishes. Brown sugar is available in loose crystals and is an ideal all-purpose baking sweetener.
1. Manufacturing Process
The main way that jaggery and brown sugar differ from one another is in how they are made. Brown sugar is made with refined sugar and a certain amount of molasses. The molasses in the brown sugar gives it a flavour and colour similar to toffee. This type of sugar is often found in rich desserts, cookie dough, and barbecue sauces.
Palm sap or sugarcane juice is used to make jaggery. The sugarcane juice gets reduced to a thick, brown paste before being poured into moulds to harden. As jaggery isn't processed, it has a darker hue and a wider range of flavours. The flavour of jaggery is earthy, fruity, and caramel-like with hints of smoke.
2. Nutritional Value
While their calorific values are comparable, jaggery contains significant iron and other important minerals. Because of its mineral content, jaggery is a better option for people who want to reduce their empty calories from white or brown sugar.
As brown sugar contains molasses, one could argue that it has various minerals. Since these minerals are only found in very small amounts, they don't offer any health benefits.
Another distinction between jaggery and brown sugar is their respective levels of sweetness. Regardless of being known as a healthy sweetener, jaggery is not as sweet as brown sugar. Since jaggery has more minerals than brown sugar, it has a different flavour. For this reason, when substituting jaggery for brown sugar, it is important to use it in larger quantities to achieve the same sweetness.
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Ways To Use Jaggery
In Desserts: One of the main ingredients of ladoos (also called laddus), which are simple Indian sweets consumed in ceremonial and casual settings, is jaggery. Other essential components include atta (whole-wheat flour), nuts, dried fruits, sugar, and ghee. In Myanmar, candies are made by combining tamarind pulp and jaggery.
Breads And Rice: Utilise jaggery to prepare gur ki kheer, a sweet item made with rice, raisins, and milk, or meethi roti, a whole-wheat flatbread sweetened with jaggery.
In Savoury Dish: In spicy sauces like Thai curries or savoury stews like moong dal (lentils), jaggery's complex sweetness offers a nice balance.
Ways To Use Brown Sugar
Pickle Food: One of the essentials for pickling a wide range of foods is brown sugar. A mixture of spices, herbs, salt, and vinegar gives pickled vegetables or eggs their complex flavours, but the rich brown sugar is a counterbalance to the brine's other sharp, acidic qualities.
Stir-Fry Dishes: Brown sugar is the perfect component for the sauce in numerous Asian-inspired stir fries because they have a savoury and sweet flavour that is hard to resist. When combined with vinegar, soy sauce, and aromatics like ginger and garlic, rich brown sugar provides just the right amount of sweetness and complexity to counterbalance the salty undertones.
Glaze Vegetables: Vegetables naturally become more caramelised and sweeter as they cook. This natural sweetness is enhanced by brown sugar, which results in rich flavours that are impossible to resist. Brown sugar is a moist sweetener that adds a beautiful shine and amazing flavour to vegetables.
Several fitness and health experts substitute jaggery for white sugar because it is regarded as healthy. But when adding jaggery to food, people must break it up because it comes in a solid form. However, brown sugar can be added to food or drinks in smaller amounts without overly sweetening them. When adding sweetness to food, jaggery can be utilised as authentic food, and brown sugar can be used as an all-purpose sweetener.