I have been searching all the general stores around to find a source for Khandsari. No luck till yesterday. Chandan's , at the end of M.G. Road has turned out to be a great place for so many types of flours and jaggery and spices. For a number of reasons I hadn't been there for years ...parking being the main problem. Before Dorabjee's it used to be THE place for all types of provisions. Typical of all general stores then, it was crammed from floor to ceiling with hundreds and thousands of things which could hardly be seen and the staircase was a death trap, a fall off point for suicidal housewives.Then the place became too small to accomodate everything and there were a host of other hassles. Things were redesigned and the groceries came downstairs and it has become self help. Now I think it well worth the trouble to go there again. Look what I uncovered.
Raw Khandsari sugar! It is marketed by Sunil Vehele whose company is called Mahalaxmi Trade Links. He imports the khandsari from Cuba ! Besides this he he also sells organic indigenous red and brown rice from Bhimashankar which he buys on a barter system from the adivasis /tribals there. He also stocks organic jaggery and barley from Maharashtra and wheat puffs made from organic wheat from Holland. Ok so though I do support cooking globally and eating locally grown foods, I am quite happy to find that the wheat puffs are minus the chemical crap the stuff is usually be covered with.
The Khandsari has less calories than sugar, it is a natural sweetener and is sulphur and chemical free. I bought a couple of kilos and immediately got set to try out Elise's grandmothers recipe for Oatmeal Cookies.
By making a few changes to the original recipe, using 2 cups of khandsari sugar instead of the one cup of brown and one cup of white sugar and adding a 1/2 tsp of nutmeg and 1 and 1/2 tsps of cinnamon (instead of the tablespoon recommended, as I'm sure that must be a mistake) made them just delicious.
It took 20 minutes in my oven at 350 degrees as I gave each cookie one big heaped tablespoon of the mix and I had to use a rather thick baking sheet. The general idea is to let the cookie get slightly brown on the edges and thats enough to cook it while keeping it chewy. Elise's recipe made 36 good sized cookies which are fast diminishing.