Monday, February 11, 2008

In Bengal, a pancake syrup as mellifluous as maple

In an earlier post, I wrote about pancakes – how I came to love and make pancakes. I wrote about eating pancakes with honey drizzled on top. Actually, one reason I use honey is it’s less expensive than maple syrup in India but the flavor equally good.

Another syrup-like natural product I eat with pancakes is “gur.” Gur is a form of jaggery that comes from the sap of palm trees, including the date palm. Jaggery is a common term for dark, unrefined sugar that does little justice to the glorious syrup called nalen gur or taler gur in Bengal (More about that in a later post). Such gur can be in two forms: either a solid cake or a honey butter texture. It’s the liquid form that I love to drizzle upon my pancake.

In many ways, gur is similar to maple syrup: Both are processed from the sap of trees. Yet, pure maple syrup is more expensive – the cheaper varieties are mixed with other syrups, like corn syrup, to keep costs affordable for the supermarket customer.

In India, I have found a cheaper, but equally flavorful alternative. How’s that? Have you tried anything other than maple syrup on your pancakes?