I was first introduced to Roselle at my local wet market earlier this year. This lovely maroon color ‘fruit’ from the hibiscus family caught my eyes as I was exiting the market. I’ve never seen anything like it before. Pretty and mysterious! Unfortunately I didn’t buy any at that time because we were busy planning for Chinese New Year reunion dinner. Fast forward to last week, I chanced upon Roselle again at the most unlikely place – at the pasar malam near my house (night market). Happy me!
The wet market vendor told me the Malays usually make Roselle drinks and serve during Hari Raya Aidilfitri. He said its taste is quite similar to Ribena. In Malay language, roselle is known as asam belanda. Coincidentally the July-August issue of Flavors magazine also features a couple of hibiscus recipes including Roselle. I’ll share the recipe when I make them.
Right now, let’s make an easy and delicious Roselle drink.
Initially I thought it was a flower. But nope, they called it fruits. To be precised this is actually the calyx. And what is calyx? Calyx is the usually green part that enclose the flowers in bud stage ~ wiki (in this case red!). From what I gather, the flowers will drop off and the fruits will start to grow bigger.
Roselle is rich in powerful antioxidants (flavonoids and anthocyanins), vitamins A, B and C. The calyx is use for treating urinary track infection, constipation, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. ~ source Flavors magazine
To make Roselle juice, you first need to de-seed the fruits.
Here’s a simple step by step guide on how to remove Roselle seed from the calyxes.
Now if you are into gardening, you might want to dry the seed and plant some in your garden. That way you will always have fresh supply of Roselle. I am gonna do just that.
We are now ready to make Roselle juice.
You can try adding ginger, lemon, mint, lemongrass to the juice for some varieties. Add a few stevia (sugar leaves) – natural sweetener if want to lessen the use of sugar.
Note: I find that boiling 15 minutes will give Roselle juice a light refreshing and aromatic berry-like taste. 20 minutes is top if you want a thicker ‘Ribena’ taste. Anything longer than that will yield a sweeter juice which can be turned into cordial/syrup instead of juice.
Can you guess who finished my 2nd batch of Roselle juice? Non other than my mom. I only had a cup. Sob sob.
15-20 pieces Roselle calyx
1 to 1.5 cups sugar – according to taste (you can sub with honey or rock sugar)
(start with 1 cup sugar, if you plan to add ice cubes later it’s okay to make the juice sweeter as the ice will melt)
1. Peel calyx and discard the seed. Rinse calyxes.
2. Add calyxes, sugar and water in a large pot and boil for 15-20 minutes.
3. Strain and discard calyxes.
4. Serve warm or chilled or with ice cubes.