Palm sugar is a very common type of sugar used in Thai cooking. The unique caramel-like flavor and texture of palm sugar make it a delicious addition to add to your pantry for your Thai cooking. Palm sugar comes in many different shapes, sizes, texture, and colors, below you will find photos of different types of palm sugar I use for my recipes.
Where does palm sugar come from
Palm sugar is a very common type of sugar used in Thai cooking. The palm sugar comes from the sap of specific types of coconut palm trees. Once the sap is extracted, it’s then placed in containers to be used for the next step in processing it into usable sugar. The sap is then typically placed into a large boiling pot, to help release flavors and to thicken the sap into a syrup-like texture. Finally, it’s placed in different mold sizes to cool off and packaged for sale to consumers.
Is coconut sugar the same as palm sugar?
No, not even close. But, it’s easy to make the mistake of thinking that coconut sugar is the same as palm sugar. As mentioned above, palm sugar comes from the sap of palm trees. Coconut sugar, however, comes from the sap of the flower buds of the coconut trees. The coconut sugar is processed and sold as large-grained granulated brown sugar; whereas palm sugar is either sold in small circular blocks or as softened sugar in a container.
Substitute for palm sugar?
The best substitute for palm sugar is brown sugar. That is the easiest option and you can find brown sugar in most grocery stores. I also love using granulated sugar cane made from…sugar cane, clearly. If those two options aren’t available, the next option is, of course, your white sugar. I see more and more Thai cooks, in Thailand and America, using white sugar in their cooking.
What does palm sugar taste like?
If you were to mix brown sugar with honey, water, and white sugar, then roll that up into a hardened ball, you would get a feel for the texture of palm sugar. The taste, though, is caramel-like with a distinct palm flavor that is light and sweet but not as bold as granulated white sugar. It’s quite a gentle sugary flavor that doesn’t overpower a dish too much, especially when used with other strong flavors like fish sauce and fresh lime juice.
Is palm sugar and brown sugar the same?
Palm sugar and brown sugar are not the same. As mentioned above, palm sugar is made from the sap of a specific type of coconut palm tree. While brown sugar is usually made from sugar cane, which gets mixed with molasses for the brown color and flavor with white sugar being added to complete the process.
What Thai recipes call for palm sugar?
I’m sure you have had Pad Thai before. You know that sweet flavor in the dish? Well, it should be coming from palm sugar. But you may not be able to tell if ordering from a restaurant. My suggestion is, of course, to make your own Pad Thai recipe and buy the palm sugar from your grocery store. You can also order it online here. Hardened palm sugar or Softened palm sugar
Thai recipes that call for palm sugar are below. Basically, you can use palm sugar instead of sugar or white sugar but just increase the portion to twice as much if using palm sugar.
There you have it, palm sugar. I hope you go out and find some palm sugar and start using it regularly in your cooking. It’s such a great option for a lighter sweet taste and, also, it’s not as processed as regular white sugar. It’s a delightful ingredient to have in your pantry for all your cooking and baking needs.