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A dark, unrefined sugar obtained from the sap of palmyra or sugar palm trees. The sap is collected from the trees, boiled until it turns into a thick, dark syrup, then poured into moulds where it dries to form dense, heavy cakes. Palm sugar is widely used in Southeast Asian dishes, not only in sweet dishes but to balance the flavours in savoury dishes. It can also be used as a sugar alternative. The easiest way to use it is to shave the sugar off the cake with a sharp knife. Buy in blocks or in jars from Asian shops. If unavailable, any full–flavoured brown sugar can be used as a substitute.
Also known as — gula jawa, gula melaka