Gula Enau (brown palm sugar) is now a rare delicacy which may be difficult to find. You may still find them in shops in small villages or in small huts along the road out of town. It is round about 1 inch thick and 2 inches in diameter, normally packed in sixes in palm leaves (1 kabong). This sugar is normally used to make sweet dessert gravy made of bananas, tapioca, glutinous rice, jack fruit or green beans.
I used to follow Pakcik Maulud to the padi fields looking for matured palm trees so he could extract the palm tree juice (air nira); which is very very sweet. It is collected in long bamboo casings hang under the palm leave branch. These 'air nira' will then be collected in a container, enough for it to be taken back to be cooked into "gula enau". The 'air nira' is cooked in a big wok over continuous wood fire. It must be continuously stirred so that it would not get crumpled or moulded or get stuck to the wok. After a few hours, the 'air nira' will turn brown in bubbles. As it get concentrated further, it is now ready to be placed in 'gula enau' moulds. 2 inch in diameter and 1 inch thick. After it is cooled and dried, it is then placed on top of each other for packing into palm leaves casings of 6 packs each.
'Gula enau' is still available now and it is a delicacy as it is juicier and 'sweeter' to use as sweeteners in dessert gravy than normal table sugar. There are still 'Kampong folks' that would still go to the padi fields or into the jungle to collect 'air nira' and turn them into "gula enau". I used to help collect these 'air nira' and also helped make "gula enau". For helping, we are normally rewarded with some spoonful of 'air nira' and the crumbs of "gula enau" from the wok; which is a joy to sip and eat.
2 weeks ago