Jaggery (Htan Nyat) : One of our beloved tradition food

Jaggery (Htan Nyat) is very important sweet food stuff in Myanmar which is boiled the toddy palm sap(Htan Yee) so that can be made solid jaggery.It’s colour ranges from yellow to brown.Toddy palm tree(Htan Pin) are growing especially in Rural Area of Central Dry Zone of Myanmar such as Mandalay Region, Magway Region and Sagaing Region.The jaggery production can be found as the traditional production in most villages from Kyauk Pa Daung, Myin Gyan, Taung Thar, We Laung, Ye Sa Gyo, Pa Kok Ku, Meik Ti La, Poppa, Bagan and Nyaung Oo township. Other growing areas of Toddy palm tree(Htan Pin) are Lower Myanmar such as Tha Nin Thar Yi Region, Ayeyarwady Region, Dawei, Yebyu, Thaton Districts.
Here, I would like to express about a traditional jaggery production from Zee O village. Zee O village located in Myay Thin Twin Group,Nyaung Oo Township in Mandalay Region. It locates on the south of Old Bagan and about 25km from Nyaung Oo city. For their seasonal livelihood, they pratice traditional way of jaggery making process through their ancestors for long time ago. Among 200 households of Zee O village, 100 are doing jaggery production. We can see the jaggery production as traditional food for their economic life.
According to the different region, collection time of the toddy palm sap(Htan Yee) is not same. In Zee O village, the sap from male toddy palm (Htan Pho) can only be collected from February to June and the sap from female toddy palm (Htan Ma) can only be collected from April to September.

To collect sap from the toddy tree,the toddy palm climber uses special tools such as small ladder (Yin Swee) fixed to the upper part of a toddy tree and portable ladder (Yin Htaung) used in connection with the fixed ladder and etc. The work of collecting to sap starts early in the morning. The toddy climber climbs the toddy tree via special ladder attached to its trunk and brings down the pots that have filled with the toddy palm sap overnight, replacing them with empty pots at noon.
First of all,heat the pots(Myu Oe) with dry the toddy palm leaves. Afer heating,the pot are roped.And then,poured the slaked lime into the pot. The one of the important things of the toddy climber is the knife(Dar Hnee) which is needed to sharp.
So,the toddy climber grinds the knife before his functions. The toddy climbers of Zee O village are distinct from other places of the toddy climbers. For testing knife is sharp, he cut his hairs himself. And then,he carries about ten pots(Myu Oe) with shoulder-yoke and the sharp knife attached to his waist and goes to the toddy palm trees.

There are two ways of collecting toddy juice(Htan Yee) depends on male and female toddy tree. A bit of wood(Ka Laing) is wedged into the top of the toddy palm tree to provide seating while he cuts the flower clusters. When the toddy-udders(Htan Nosh) of male tree become blossom, the climber has to clip the toddy-udders toddy-udders with wooden stick or pounding soften that can get much toddy sap. After that,the toddy climber tied nine or twelve toddy-udders cutting for sap into the pots.
Toddy farmer cut female toddy palm’s stalks that have fruits for sap collection. He pounds the base of toddy palm’s stalk with a small iron hammer (Zauk Khauk). Toddy farmer slice a little to each fruit to collect toddy sap.
The sap has to be filtered leaving behind the sediment of lime(Hton Yee Kyi) is put into a stainless steel boiling pan and boiled for about 45 minutes. According to the different region,the kilns for boiling toddy palm sap are different types.In Zee O village, the kilns are made by digging into the ground so that can work for five boiling pans at the same time. While the sap are boiling, the worker has to stir with flat wooden laddle continuously and also has to be added the seeds or powder of castor oil plant so that it cannot be split into the ground.

The boiling and stirring has to be continued to get the suitable condition for moulding of toddy palm syrup was obtained. After that, toddy palm syrup was cooled to make granules by hands. Then,it is also dried for about 15 min utes and jaggery is obtained.
After that, export jaggery to the buying centre. The buying centre has to put out to dry with the sun. And then,prepare to trade other regions. Especially, Zee O village trade with Nyaung Oo township and Yangon region.
There are some animals to disturb the jaggery production such as mouses,squirrels,butterflies, bats,ants,crows and so on. They suck toddy sap,bite the pot’s rope and fruit clusters,throw away faeces into the pot.

Jaggery is completely organic without any chemicals.It is used for Myanmar traditional food such as Mont-lone-yay-paw, Mont-lat-saung,Mont-kywe-thae,Thar-ku-yoo,Mont-lat-kout; etc.
There has many nutritional values of jaggery. They are protein, fat, carbonhydrate, energy, calcium, phosphorus, iron, mineral, carotine,vitamin and so on.In medical benefits, jaggery treats cold and cough,purified blood,relieves bone and joint pain,strengthens immunity etc.So,jaggery(Htan Nyat) is very useful for snack and traditional medicine.

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