Kithul Jaggery

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Kithul Jaggery is made of treacle harvested off the variety of Palm by the name of Caryota urens. This is a species of flowering plant in the palm family from the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia where they grow in fields and rainforest clearings.
Code: P1-0801
Categories: Processed Food Items, Products
The epithet urens is Latin for "stinging" alluding to the chemicals in the fruit. They are commonly called solitary fishtail palm, toddy palm, wine palm, jaggery palm.

To make jaggery, the kithul sap needs to be boiled passing the point which produces treacle. Then the sap is put in to coconut shells to make the unique shape. Jaggery is used a sweetener and flavor enhancer in certain food and drinks.

Sri Lankans have been harvesting this endemic kithul tree for jaggery since centuries ago. The palm is mentioned in numerous historical records including the Ummagga Jathaka. The islanders learned early that they could harvest the flow of sugary sap, called thelijja in Sinhalese, in the floret and boil it down into a delicious treacle or jaggery (hakuru in Sinhalese).

They refined the art of making jaggery that they were able to prepare five different varieties of the sweet: sudu (white) hakuru, a rare, soft and sweet pale jaggery made of refined sap; the rock-like wax or iti hakuru, prepared with slightly fermented sap; madol hakuru, which is soft and easily soluble; the grainy weli hakuru, traditionally prepared by pouring treacle into a pouch made of areca nut leaves and drying it over a fireplace, and the very common kithul hakuru, infused with subtle woody and smoky flavours. Kithul jaggery is a food fit for royalty.


Kithul jaggery is the sweetener of Sri Lankan gastronomy. It is kithul jaggery and no other that takes pride of place as the perfect sweet accompaniment to the auspicious dish of milk rice on festive occasions. It is the sugar substitute to be nibbled on with a cup of herbal tea, the sweetener with congee and the honey in the rich dessert wattalappam. More recently, it has become the flavour of modern sweet treats like cake and ice cream, available in large supermarket chains and confectionery stores.


Sri Lanka's indigenous system of medicine - Ayurveda - treats kithul jaggery as a very rich food, which can make you gain weight in a healthy way. Ayurveda posits that if you are thin and weak, you will gain weight by eating kithul jaggery, but never gain weight in excess. Rich in calcium, minerals, salts and fiber, this sweet is slower to digest, thus it doesn't provide the rush of energy that refined sugar delivers. Like its South American counterpart, panela, it is said to be a source of iron and vitamins.

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