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Jul 18, 2005 09:57 AM

Mexican sugar question

  • s

Okay, so I have this recipe for grilled pork chops with Rocoto Chile and sugar cane glaze. The recipe calls for Chancaca sugar- said it was brown and cone shaped. When I got to the grocery store I couldn’t remember the name of the sugar. I found a sugar item that was brown and cone shaped- it is named Piloncillo Sugar. Didn’t realize the name difference till I got home. Question: Is this the same stuff but just with a different name? And, if not the same, is it close enough to work for my recipe?
Thanks a ton,

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  1. as best I can tell, chancaca is a type of panela - natural untreated sugar made from evaporated cane juice - made in south america while piloncillo, those little cones, are the same type of product made in mexico. So you should be able to substitute it.

    The fact that your recipe calls for rocoto chile suggests it is south american, since that pepper, chile pubescens, originated in bolivia and is used a lot in the andes, I understand.

    2 Replies
    1. re: jen kalb

      I have this TOO, but not in cone shape, in flat round disk shape (says it's from Chile) and I asked about it about a month ago and got no what the heck do I do with it and HOW do I do it, it's hard as a rock? What sort of recipes do I look for?

      1. re: krissywats

        Look for recipes for atole -- and as for how to get it soft, put it in a sack with a slice of bread and a quarter of an apple.

    2. At the (zillions of) Mexican markets near us, piloncillo is labelled as "piloncillo/chancaca/raw sugar".

      3 Replies
      1. re: Das Ubergeek

        Re "raw sugar", my recollection is that US law makes it *illegal* to sell sugar that is actually "raw".

        IAC, the main difference betw "raw" sugar and the sugar you buy in the supermarket is that the impurities--bugs, leaves, etc--has been removed.

        1. re: Howard-2

          Raw Sugar is what is left after processing the sugar cane to remove the molasses and refine the white sugar. In North America raw sugar is actually not "raw" as it has been partially refined to remove any contaminants. The color is similar to light brown sugar but it's texture is grainier.

          Here's more info gleaned from a Google search of "Raw sugar" It is a tan to brown, coarse granulated solid obtained on evaporation of clarified sugar cane juice. Raw sugar is processed from the cane at a sugar mill and then shipped to a refinery. It is about 98% sucrose.

          Raw sugar is not sold to consumers. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration notes raw sugar is "unfit for direct use as food or as a food ingredient because of the impurities it ordinarily contains."

          This last paragraph gave me a bit of a laugh, thinking of the mass-produced hamburger industry, the ground-up animal parts served to most livestock, etc.

          1. re: oakjoan

            It's definitely not what you describe -- piloncillo has the molasses left in, so I'm going to ascribe this to a faulty translation, which is very common in Van Nuys :)