Thursday, April 09, 2009

Khanom Tan - Toddy Palm Cake

We ate some of these desserts the other week, they're kind of like sponge cake, a little sweet and different tasting than regular sugar. Quite good. Toddy Palm, if you don't know what it is, and I didn't until reading a little bit about it on the 'Net, are palm trees that grow in various hot countries (India, Thailand, Cambodia, Sri Lanka); from them a sugary sap, called toddy, can be extracted from the flower clusters (individual trees can be 100 feet high, so it requires a lot of dexterity to climb all the way to the top to do so) which when fermented is called arrack or palm wine, or concentrated to a crude sugar called jaggery (which I've seen in Indian stores). The fruit from toddy palms can also be eaten and are rich in vitamins A and C, and can be eaten as young fruits, which are soft and juicy and somewhat like lychees but milder and with no pit, or old fruits, which are harder and less juicy. It is this toddy palm pulp that these cakes are made of, along with rice flour, yeast, palm sugar, coconut cream and coconut milk. Finally, palm oil, which I've seen as an ingredient in many products, is derived from a different plant, the Oil Palm (aptly named).

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