古法红糖 (gǔ fǎ hóngtáng / old brown sugar)

红糖Chinese brown sugar is an unrefined wholesome sugar directly concentrated out of the sugarcane juice without removing the molasses. It can vary from golden brown to dark brown in color and roughly contains up to 50% sucrose, up to 20% invert sugars, moisture content of up to 20%, and the remainder of impurities.

Similar to unrefined muscovado sugar, Chinese brown sugar has a sandy texture with a rich, complex flavor and retains the natural trace nutrients inherent from sugarcane juice. It is often referred to as a “Chinese superfood sweetener”. It is popular in Asian cooking and is healthier than regular brown sugar found in US supermarkets.

Chinese brown sugar varies with the sugarcanes grown in different regions which have different nutritional profiles

Chinese brown sugar is warming in therapeutic nature. Traditionally, it is widely used to boost energy and circulation. It helps not only to relieve women’s menstrual discomfort during their period and during postpartum, but also to boost energy and blood regeneration. Many Western women like to eat chocolate for comfort during their period, but Japanese women like to eat black sugar, while Chinese women go one step further to take warm brown sugar drinks which are enhanced with other nursing ingredients such as ginger, jujube, ejiao, or goji berries. That’s why Chinese brown sugar got named “oriental chocolate”.

One new trend about brown sugar today is that different types of therapeutic brown sugars are directly manufactured by either mixing or infusing with other herbal ingredients. Instead of cooking by yourself with traditional recipes, you can find a right one at Asian food stores and eat it directly (with water) or with your favorite drinks.

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