Sunday, November 11, 2018

Panela? Canela?


I don't remember seeing panela in the States. It's unrefined sugar that's very common in Ecuador. We use it in coffee, sweet & sour pork, etc. when we might have used brown sugar in the US. Hard taffy is made from it as well. I've been having trouble distinguishing panela from another edible, canela, finally got them straightened out today. Panela literally means "little bread." Canela means "little cane." But in Spanish, canela says "cinnamon." I kept thinking that the unrefined sugar was canela since it comes from sugarcane; and then would get confused about it being cinnamon. And panela would just mean roll or biscuit.
But panela isn't typically sold in milled (granulated) form (panela molida) but in small hard bricks. Little loaf sized, hence panela. That also explains Queso Panela, small hard cheeses. Got it.
Back to canela. Canela's a cognate of Greek 'kanna,' cane. The root form shows up in all sorts of languages: Arabic al-qandi, candy; kanna, a measuring stick, e.g. canon; and cannon, a tube. Like panela, cinnamon is not typically sold in milled form here either. Instead, it's the raw inner bark product that comes rolled up. We'd call it a stick of cinnamon, but due to the shape it's called by a version of 'canuto,' which is the Spanish word for 'little tube.' Canela, little tube. Similar to cannoli and canneloni. Got this too.

No comments: