Reader quiz: what the hell is the above vendor doing? And does he get to lick his arms afterwards?
Making Cambodian-style taffy? Almost every SE Asian country has a version.
He stiring a big can of sugar palm.
Yes, he is stirring a big can of palm sugar. My theory was that he was adding lime (calcium hydroxide, not the citrus fruit) to it to stop fermentation.
They put lime to clarify the palm sugar and make it clearer. By adding milk of lime all the dirt leftover after clarification will precipitate and form indissoluble components that fall at the bottom of the tank. It is a common process in the sugar industry.
The question is how much lime should you use so the palm sugar pH is neutral after the process? Pesonnaly I prefer my palm sugar as dark as possible…
Yes, fermentation wouldn’t occur after the sap has been boiled down into syrup, lime or no lime. Fermentation must be nipped in the bud, so to speak, as soon as the sap from the inflorescence is collected. Down here, a piece of the bark of a particular tree is dropped into the sap does the trick.
Would the addition of lime account for the lightness of Thai-Cambodian-Lao palm sugar? Jo – is it not necessary, then, to melt and strain Cambodian palm sugar before you use it (bec. all the dirt has been ‘limed’ out)?
To be honest I am not sure if this is the reason why those are so light. If there is to much lime in the palm sugar then there will be some left after all the chemical reaction. Palm sugar might become basic and that can be quiet unhealthy.
Personnaly I buy the darkest one because at this stage I know there won’t be any lime involved, I boil and strain it (I normally find things that the logic would stop me from eating it, including bug legs, pork hair and pumpkin seeds.)
But it is still mouth watering.
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