What can I use to substitute for jaggery in curries or dals? I've tried white and brown sugar, raw and polished, but there's still some vital taste component missing.

Is there a way to simulate that distinctive flavor profile with other ingredients?

  • 1
    Where in the world are you? Helps to narrow down what's available. Jul 18, 2014 at 8:32
  • @ElendilTheTall Ah good point. I'm in the continental US.
    – metacubed
    Jul 18, 2014 at 8:39
  • This no good to you?: amazon.com/s/… Jul 18, 2014 at 8:41
  • 1
    I've used aguave nectar and molasses (separately). If you like it, you could also use maple syrop. These sweeteners all have a more complex flavour profile than white or brown sugar. Jul 18, 2014 at 8:48
  • @ElendilTheTall Well yes, I could definitely get some if I had a few days on hand. But I find myself "impulse-wanting" this often enough that I finally decided to ask. :)
    – metacubed
    Jul 18, 2014 at 8:50

2 Answers 2


This answer to an earlier question suggests that you can use panela, which I would imagine to be easily obtained at least in those parts of the continental US with a significant Hispanic population.

  • That was my first thought, too, and the wikipedia entry linked to for jaggery even supports it: "Unrefined cane sugar is known by various names, including panela, in other parts of the world"
    – Joe
    Jul 18, 2014 at 16:03

Traditional white sugar is pure sucrose...Molasses, which is the difference between brown and white sugar is also pretty much pure sucrose (at least the sugar part is). But according to your link, there is a significant amount of inverted sugars and water in jaggery...That sounds more like honey to me, and it'd be a pretty significant change in the chemical behaviour.

I don't think you're going to get a direct substitution, but I think a combination of some strong honey, white sugar, and blackstrap molasses might get you a bit closer...Blackstrap molasses is the most strongly flavoured molasses, so use sparingly, but I think some of it's odd flavours might add to the complexity of your sugar mix.

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