Myanmar Delicacies

myanmar-jaggery-01

In the dry zone of upper Myanmar near the ancient city of Bagan somewhere east of the Tuyin hill, there are many small villages that depend on the toddy-palm trees for their livelihood. Together with the rising morning sun, a bullock cart sets to fetch water for their daily consumption. These goats are raised for the second income for the family. The smoke rises from the chimney of the hut where jaggery is made. And the young child prepares the earthen
pots that are to be used for toddy-sap collection.

The construction of ladder about 15 feet in length is also skilfully done. Ropes made of fibers of the toddy-palm are used to secure the ladder's steps. This ladder is then drawn up to the top of the tree and fastens firmly to the middle branch. Tie the ladder in the middle is dangerous because the climber's life is entirely dependent on his left hand and his right foot.

myanmar-jaggery-02The ancestor hand down techniques and experience over generations. Another ladder about 25 feet long is carried from one tree to another in order to link up with upper one. The sap is required to make the jaggery. The first stock has to brew with the specially made iron tool to get an abundant flow.

Male-tree is treated differently with another type of specially designed wooden plant. Then it is pressed from tip to end with this instrument. And the tips are cut-off after being tied together. The sap is then collected with the earthen pot. Both processes need great experience. The bee too loves the sweet sap and is attracted to it. The women and youngsters help out on the ground with the earthen pots.

myanmar-jaggery-03Slight calcium is put into the pot to purify and prevent the sap from going sour. A climber has to climb at least 8 trees twice a day at regular periods in order to collect the sap regardless of the weather- rain, sun and wind. All the daily sap are collected and brought to the hut it is here that the jaggery is made. About 4 (or) 5 pans filled with sap are boiled down to the ratio of 10 to 1 on long stove until it becomes syrup. Approximately, 30 viss is produced everyday. A mixture of bean husk, cow dump and chip palm leaves are used to manipulate the heating temperature. When the syrup becomes thick, a large wooden spoon is used, and stirs continuously. Finally, jaggery is rolled into small lump by hand and let to solidify. After a day work in the toddy-palm forest they return to their villages. The sun goes down slowly behind the toddy trees and that ends another day for the toddy palm workers.

 

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