If you think that sugar is sugar, you are absolutely wrong. Well yeah, the worst one for health is a refined white one, we all know that. However, it’s not only bad for our health, but it’s also bad to taste as well. I say that because it’s just sweet without any dimension. On the other side, in Melaka, we found something totally different. I dare to say the holy grail of sugars – Gula Melaka, which is made of a coconut palm flower sugar.
Fake Gula Melaka
But be careful, there are many false products of Gula Melaka. Mostly they are mixing it with other palm sugars or even cane sugar. So to get the pure one make sure that is made only from the coconut palm. Pure coconut palm sugar is a natural product made by extracting the sap from the budding flower of a coconut palm. So is it technically coconut sugar? Yes, with a twist.
To produce Gula Melaka you need to boil it until it thickens. The sticky sugar is then whipped and poured into containers made of bamboo tubes, where it solidifies. This thickening is done over an open fire, where all the magic happens. In the end, it can range in color from golden to dark brown or almost black. The consistency can vary from a thick gooey paste, to creamy granulated honey or to a rock-hard block.
Taste of Gula Melaka
The smell of this treat is rich. You will find some smokier, fried nuts and coffee notes in it as well. The more intense is the smell, the more pure coconut sugar is in it for the base. The taste is super complex, and it will hit you with deep caramel, butterscotch, coffee and smokier note at the back. You can find also chocolate, almond, and even fruit notes. It depends on the date of picking flowers and conditions in the year of growing.
Is Gula Melaka Healthy?
Is Gula Melaka healthy? It is not an elixir for your body for sure, but a much better option than most of the sweeteners you will find. Gula Melaka has a naturally low glycemic index (GI). GI is a measure of how food impacts blood sugar. Gula Melaka has got GI35 compared to Agave GI42, Honey at GI55 and Sucrose at GI64. Besides that, you will find it is richer in micronutrients because it’s less processed than industrial sugars. Well, not only Gula Melaka is a healthier option for you, but it is also in use as a medicine. In Indian Ayurvedic medicine is used to treat throat and lung infections.
Gula Melaka Nutrition Facts
What Can You Do With Gula Melaka?
In Asian cuisine, they use it for almost everything. For example, in Thailand, they are using it for balancing fish taste or enriching their sweet and sour dishes. In fact, you can use it in making all kinds of desserts. We got creative and made Tiramisu without eggs and Peanuts-strawberry mousse. Delicious as it is, you can simply pour it over the waffles or pancakes as well.
We also use it in our cocktail and it came out perfect. Its rich taste will make your coffee different, then you are used to. To help it dissolve quicker you can make the syrup out of it and pure it whatever you want. I like it under and over ice-cream. Try it with coconut one.
Anyway, if you are in Melaka don’t miss out Wild Coriander, where they serve one of the best coconut ice-cream we have ever had. Actually, this restaurant is famous for traditional Nyonya dishes. They surely convinced us, not only with ice cream though.
As you can see Gula Melaka is a much healthier option as a sweetener. Not only that it is also the tastiest one we have ever tried. However, we must admit we aren’t huge sugar consumers (here we don’t count cakes, cocktails, and cookies 😉 ) But if we are making some of these delicious things by ourselves, then this is the sugar we use. All things considered, if you are a sweet tooth person, this is the right sweetener for you as well.