Restaurateur Dimple Khitri says jaggery is one of her top superfood picks. “There are several natural sweetener options for cooking and baking, but I prefer jaggery because of its nutritional value. High in iron, it prevents anaemia, improves immune function and stimulates digestive enzymes,” says Khitri, who helms Being Vegan Dubai and has written a cookbook called Being Rawesomely Vegan.
Here, Khitri shares five of her favourite recipes — three sweet and two savoury, that use jaggery — exclusively with The National.
See how jaggery is made from sugarcane here:
Makes 7 pieces
1 cup cocoa powder
½ cup powdered jaggery
5 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl using a hot water pot below for ease of mixing.
Smoothen in a blender.
Grease a mould of your choice and add in the chocolate mix, and garnish with your choice of toppings — chopped dry fruits, raisins, chocolate chips etc.
Refrigerate for 2 hours, then scrape the sides of the mould and flip.
Sugar-free carrot halwa
8 cups grated carrot
2 cups thick coconut milk
1 tsp cardamom powder
15 strands of saffron
1¼ cup date paste
1 cup powdered jaggery
¼ cup cashew paste
1½ cup chopped almonds and pistachios
1 tsp rose water
Cook the grated carrots in a pan for 15 minutes on low heat.
Add the coconut milk, cardamom powder, saffron, date paste, jaggery and cashew paste. Mix well, then cover the lid and cook on low heat until it dries.
Sir in the almonds and pistachios, then switch off the stove and add the rose water.
Garnish with sliced cashews.
Finger millet and chocolate dessert
12 hazelnuts, peeled and chopped + 1 tbsp for garnishing
¼ cup powdered jaggery
¼ cup finger millet flour
2 tbsp cocoa
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 cup oat milk
1 tbsp chocolate chips (optional)
Heat the oil, then add the finger millet flour and roast for 7-8 minutes on low to medium heat, stirring continuously.
Add the jaggery powder and allow it to melt well, then add the chopped hazelnuts and cocoa powder. Stir for 2-3 minutes.
Pour in the oat milk and keep stirring using a whisk until the texture resembles that of a mousse.
Garnish with chopped hazelnuts and/or chocolate chips.
Serve warm or cold.
Thai tapioca dumplings
Makes 14 pieces
Ingredients for the inner layer
2 tbsp chilli garlic oil
2 tbsp minced garlic
½ cup chopped coriander leaves
½ tsp black pepper
¾ cup sliced onions
1 cup chopped lettuce
2 tsp powdered jaggery
¼ cup coarsely ground peanuts
¾ tbsp tamari sauce
Salt to taste
1-2 tsp black pepper powder
Ingredients for the outer layer
250g tapioca pearls
260ml hot water
1 tbsp roasted garlic, for garnishing
1 tbsp ground peanuts, for garnishing
1 red chilli, sliced for garnishing
Method for the inner layer
In a pan, add 1 tablespoon oil. Once heated, add and brown the garlic. Then add the coriander leaves and black pepper. Mix well and keep aside.
In the same pan, warm 1 tablespoon of oil, then add the sliced onions and cook until translucent.
Add the lettuce, tofu, jaggery, ground peanuts, tamari sauce, salt and pepper.
Add the coriander-garlic combo to this and mix well.
Once the mixture has cooled a little, form 14 equal-sized balls and keep them aside.
Method for the outer layer
Soak the tapioca pearls in hot water and leave aside for 25 minutes, then mash with a spoon.
To make the dumplings, take a spoon of the dough and place on your palm. Flatten with the other hand to get a small disc.
Place one of the filling balls from the inner layer in the centre of the disc and enclose it within without leaving any holes, then smoothen by rolling between your palms.
Do the same for all, and steam for 15 minutes.
Garnish with roasted garlic, ground peanuts, coriander leaves and sliced red chillies.
Vegan red Thai curry
¼ cup each baby corn, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, courgette, carrots, onions and mushrooms, all chopped
½ cup tofu
½ cup broccoli florets
½ cup lemongrass-celery juice (10-centimetre stalk each of lemongrass and celery mixed in water)
2 tbsp red curry paste
3 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp ginger-garlic-green chilli paste
600ml fresh coconut milk
1 tbsp tamari sauce
1 tbsp white vinegar
2 tbsp grated jaggery
Salt to taste
Handful of fresh basil leaves
2 tbsp fresh coconut cream
1 red chilli, for garnishing
Warm 2 tablespoons of oil, then add the ginger-garlic-chilli paste and stir for 3 minutes.
Add and stir-fry all the chopped vegetables for 10-12 minutes, then keep aside.
In the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil, then add the red curry paste and stir for 7-8 minutes.
Add the lemongrass-celery juice and coconut milk, and stir for 2 minutes.
Pour in the tamari sauce, white vinegar, grated jaggery and salt. Cover and cook for 5 minutes on low heat.
Add the stir-fried vegetables, tofu and basil leaves, and simmer for 5 minutes on low heat.
Garnish with thinly chopped red chilli.
Serve hot with rice.
For more recipes, visit the Being Vegan YouTube channel