If you have ever pined for desserts without their sinful baggage of eggs, cholesterol and calories, then just try the Indian Sandesh. This is a dessert which is very popular in Eastern India and more so in West Bengal. Although Sandesh comes in all kinds of shapes, colours and flavours, the classic variation that I’m presenting here contains the natural flavour and colour of an unusual sweetener— Palm Jaggery, which is also called natun gud (literally new jaggery) in West Bengal.
Unlike normal sugar, that is made from sugarcanes, palm jaggery is made from the sap extract of Palm Trees and has high medicinal value. It is rich in Calcium, Iron and other useful vitamins and minerals, which the normal refined sugar lacks. Palm Jaggery, being of fruit origin, is also considered to be more suitable for people suffering from diabetes.
Palm jaggery, or Palm sugar (which I find less flavourful), can be found in stores carrying Bengali, Thai, Malaysian or Indonesian groceries. And of course, at Amazon.com