Thursday, March 18, 2010

Palm Sugar, Num Taal Puk

Palm sugar is one of the most important ingredient in Thai cooking. It gives the sweet taste more rounded in food. In Thailand, this kind of sugar can be made from the sap of Palmyra palm and sap of coconut palm.

When I was about 10, during the school break, my aunt would take a vacation and take me to many interesting places for me to see and learn things by myself. One of the trip that I still remember is going to the place where the palm sugar is made locally.

coconut trees on the Haad Kuad beach, Koh Pa-ngan, Thailand

There I learn how the sugary sap was collected out of the palm trees into a bamboo container, which is later transferred into a big pot on an open fire, ready to slow cook the sweet liquid into thick caramel-ly sugar.

I also learn that the sugary sap can be fermented and make into coconut wine. I was then even allowed to taste it. I had no idea why the adults love it, to me, it was like sugar canes go bad...yuk!

In Thailand you can find palm sugar in many shapes and forms, depends on what kind of palm sugar, I mean what kinds of palm tree they are made of.

But, I'm not going to go that far because it would take more than a page to talk about it. Out of Thailand, you can find palm sugar at most Asian groceries. They come in a form of either hard cake or soft paste.

This soft paste in container is usually sealed with wax on the surface, just use a tip of the knife to pick off the wax and you are good to go.

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