SANGKAKA / PANUTSA (BICOL)
(Each order consists of a pair of coconut-molded halves, weighing a total of 1.2-1.4 kilos.)
Farm-direct from Polangui, Albay! Sangkaka is made by pressing sugarcane stalks and cooking the juice down, usually using the spent fibers of the cane as a source of heat. When the resulting syrup gets super thick, it is poured into coconut shell molds. These are placed on bamboo slats for hardening.
When available, it is often still the preferred sugar for making native delicacies. In Bicol, it is a star ingredient in santan, a rich caramel-colored jam made of sangkaka, coconut milk and pili nuts. Old accounts talk about it being used when cooking coffee, cacao, and tea or to make a "sweet water".
An interesting story about its name: most of you would know recogize this as panutsa, but Bicolanos and some Southern Tagalogs call it SANGKAKA, a word that derives from the Nahuatl chiancaca, the word for brown sugar; it also means "dark soil" in the broader Aztec language (correct us if we're wrong please!).
The term chancaca / chankaka is still in broad circulation in Peru, Bolivia, and Chile, where it has come to mean both the hard sugar and the snacks and syrups made of it.
Explore recipes from the Americas that use this healthy sugar, the solid form of mascobado you may want to stock in your pantry.