Jaggery is an unrefined brown sugar, made from sugar cane or sometimes palm sugar. It is used in curries, lentil dishes and other preparations. It is an integral part of sweets, often made by combining nuts, lentils, seeds, puffed rice, dried fruit, condensed milk or yoghurt with jaggery.
Jaggery has a warm, earthy colour and flavour. It is usually sold as a solid block or cubes and is either ground into a powder, shaved or grated for cooking. Raw or brown sugar can be used as a substitute. Jaggery is readily available from good Indian grocers.
Interestingly, rum is sometimes made by fermenting jaggery.