When we think of fresh Kaakvi gud or jaggery, we can only think of the semi-liquid variety with a heady aroma and syrupy texture that can be spread on a freshly made roti or bhakri with a dollop of ghee. Normally fresh gud is available only in winter when it is bought to be enjoyed to be eaten directly instead of adding it to preparation.
What if we told you there is one more variation of jaggery known as Kaakvi in English is called liquid jaggery, which is the first derivation after boiling raw sugarcane juice. Although sugar is a popular sweetener used widely by all, slowly but steadily, people are moving away from it due to its empty calories and being highly processed. Jaggery, on the other hand, is known as medicinal sugar. Due to its unrefined nature, it's considered a healthier alternative.
Let's trace the history of jaggery, the rawest and healthiest form of sugar. While the origin of jaggery dates back to 3,000 years ago in the Indian sub-continent, the first written evidence dates back to 2,500 years ago in the Sushrata Samhita. Jaggery was used to treat ailments like bile disorders and for blood purification. It was commonly used in the countries, namely, Latin America, Pakistan, India, and the Caribbean islands.
- Charaka derives guda (for jaggery) from Gauda (as Bengal was called)
- Kautilya (c. 300 B.C. mentions a whole range of sugar products, including guda)
- It is also believed that the first thing that Gautam Buddha consumed after enlightenment was sugarcane, the raw product of jaggery.
Our Kaakvi maker, Our SHG
Maharashtra has been known to be jaggery producing state for the longest now. Be it Kolhapur or Ahmednagar, jaggery or kaakvi is made here very close to the sugarcane farms, just like our SHG Sai Amrut, a natural farming community too. They launched a small jaggery mill in 2010 to produce preservative-free. Which has now grown to 47 farmers using their in-house raw material to get us the kaakvi. Here is a brief explanation of the process.
Top 6 Kaakvi Benefits
Packed with minerals
Kaakvi is known to be potassium-rich and packed with other minerals, like manganese, calcium, and zinc. Potassium helps in managing acidity and reducing hypertension. The antioxidant property also helps combat harmful free radicals that damage the cellular structure and fight early signs of ageing.
It generates a lot of heat when consumed, leading to an instant boost in energy levels for the body. Due to its laxative properties, it helps promote healthy bowel movements and prevent constipation. Furthermore, due to the jaggery's heating properties, it can be had daily.
Suitable for an active life
Because of having a longer chain of sucrose, digesting jaggery is a slow process, which means it releases energy sustainably in your body. This makes it a good fit for people who are active throughout the day, such as athletes, since it keeps you going through the day, instead of highly processed sugar, which creates a spike of energy, and then quickly causes a glucose crash, leaving you feeling fatigued and drained soon afterwards!
Jaggery is an effective and natural way to purify blood. It contains zinc, selenium, and other essential minerals that help to detoxify the liver. Removing toxins from the body helps to cleanse the bloodstream and improve overall health. Ayurveda has for centuries recommended jaggery as a reliable food for blood purification.
With increasing population levels, spooning kaakvi can be your defense. Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, it aids in fighting allergies, carcinogens and toxins in the body. The high levels of iron, calcium and other essential minerals make it a powerhouse for good health. It is excellent for adults and can be given to small children too. It helps with breathing-related disorders like bronchitis, asthma, wheezing, etc.
Gujjiya with Kaakvi
Sharing a special festival recipe which is traditional and can be made in advance. We have all had a version of it during Holi or Diwali, 2 significant festivals in India.
|Ingredients for filling||Ingredients for the outer crust|
|2 cups Kaakvi||1/2 cup Sooji (Semolina/ Rava)|
|1 cup Whole Wheat Flour||1/2 cup All Purpose Flour (Maida)|
|1 cup Desiccated Coconut (either grated or flaked)||1 teaspoon Salt|
|1/2 cup Sooji (Semolina/ Rava)||1 tablespoon Sugar|
|1/2 cup Sesame Seeds (Til seeds)||3 tablespoons Ghee or Cooking Oil|
|1/4 cup Poppy Seeds||1 cup Milk (or half milk and water) or as required|
|3 tablespoon Oil||Oil for deep frying|
|1 teaspoon Cardamom Powder (Elaichi)|
|1 pinch of Nutmeg Powder|
We will first make the filling.
- Begin by dry-roasting the coconut, sesame seeds and poppy seeds in a pan separately until they turn golden brown.
- Please make sure that they are roasted and kept separately. After they cool down, grind them separately in a mixer (poppy seeds, sesame seeds and coconut- in that order) till you get a coarse texture.
- Next, roast the semolina on medium heat in a shallow bottom pan with 1 tablespoon of ghee or oil until golden brown. Set this aside as well once done.
- Roast the whole wheat flour with the remaining ghee/oil in the same pan until golden brown and keep aside.
- Now, put all the filling ingredients, including the flour, semolina, coarse powders, jaggery, cardamom and nutmeg, in a food processor, and blend them well for 2-3 minutes till they form a fine powder. The delicious coconut filling for the Karanji is now ready and can be set aside for later use.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of ghee in a small pan. Once the ghee is melted or when the oil is hot, turn off the heat and keep it aside.
- Add the all-purpose flour, rava, sugar and salt into a large deep bowl. Make a depression in the centre of the flour and pour the hot ghee into it, mixing it into the flour thoroughly with your fingers. Knead the flour and other ingredients slowly by running the water and milk mixture a little at a time.
- Once the dough is pliable yet firm, cover it with a damp cloth and set it aside to rest for at least an hour or two. Once the dough is well-rested, divide it into 4 equal-sized balls. Roll each of these balls into a flat circular shape, apply a thin layer of oil evenly and mould them into tight elongated rolls.
- Once done, cut each of these 4 long rolls into 10 one-inch pieces each, having about 40 pieces in total once all the rolling is done. Cover all these pieces with a damp cloth to keep the dough softened until they are ready to be made into the Karanji.
- Take one of the small dough pieces and, with the help of a rolling pin, shape it into a small circular poori, 3-4 inches in diameter. Divide the poori into half, pour in 1-2 tablespoons of the filling on one side, and carefully fold the other half, closing the poori-shaped dough completely.
- To shape these pooris, press them on the cutting board and carefully remove the extra dough using a karanji cutter. Once done, keep it aside to be fried.
- Repeat the same procedure for the remaining dough balls and cover the prepared karanjis with a cloth when done.
- Finally, deep-fry all the prepared karanjis in hot oil, continuously turning them until golden brown.
In conclusion, Kaakvi is the perfect choice for everyday use. It can give an added dimension to anything you create in the kitchen. From traditional dishes like Karanji and Gujjiya to Sri Lankan specialities like Watalappan, there are endless possibilities for using Kaakvi as a sweetener. Not only is it great for flavour enhancement, but it also has a multitude of health benefits. Kaakvi can easily be incorporated into any meal or beverage with its easy availability. In sum, why not enhance your everyday cooking experience by making kaakvi part of your regular kitchen arsenal? With its delicious taste and plethora of health benefits, plus its versatility and ease of accessibility, Kaakvi might become an integral part of your lifestyle.
Author: Jinal Aidasani