Juice, Smoothie & Shake

Healthy Roselle Juice

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.

Roselle Juice
Thirst-quenching… gulp gulp gulp. Finished! Hehe

This is Roselle. Lovely eh? I bought 480g of Roselle for RM4.00 (counted 37 fruits). This is just half of it.

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.

Cut Calyx With Knife or Use Thumb To Peel
Using a knife or thumb, cut/peel the calyx in the middle.

Calyx & Seed Inside
You can now see the seed inside.

Peel Calyx
Now use your thumb to peel the calyx. Careful, you may find some thorns at the outer layer of calyx. I got poked twice. A little troublesome to remove the needle. Haha

Calyx & Seed
Now you have the calyx and seed separated. Can you see the red coloring at my finger tips? Don’t worry, the red coloring stain can be washed off easily.

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.

Peeled Calyxes
Next wash the calyxes to get rid of dirt.

We are now ready to make Roselle juice.

Boil Calyxes With Water & Sugar
Add calyxes, sugar and water in a large pot. Boil for 15-20 minutes. Strain the calyxes and discard. Serve Roselle juice chilled or warm.

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.

Roselle Juice
Roselle juice is simply delicious and healthy! Just couldn’t believe it at first that it taste really like Ribena. A little dumbfounded.

Can you guess who finished my 2nd batch of Roselle juice? Non other than my mom. I only had a cup. Sob sob.

Roselle Juice

15-20 pieces Roselle calyx
2.5L water
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.

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  • Reply smallkucing August 24, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    ooo thanks for this post. will try it out. saw a lot at the pasar mlm here

    • Reply Che-Cheh August 25, 2011 at 1:52 pm

      Cool. I think I bought mine rather expensive.

  • Reply Nava Krishnan August 24, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    I have tried this drink before Amy and quite like the taste. Certainly have not made it at home.

    • Reply Che-Cheh August 25, 2011 at 1:54 pm

      Did you tried it at restaurant?

  • Reply tandteacake August 25, 2011 at 7:43 am

    Gosh these look just so pretty! Too bad that it’s rather unlikely for me to find roselles where I live. πŸ™ But until I somehow get the chance, I’ll need to gaze at your pictures! I am so intrigued with them to taste supposedly like ribena…


    • Reply Che-Cheh August 25, 2011 at 2:01 pm

      Hi Tobias, Thanks for dropping by. Your recipe photos are drool-worthy as well. πŸ™‚

      Even after I was informed about the ribena-like taste, I am still very surprise when I tasted it myself. You can try hunting for Roselle at Asian store. Australia, Caribbean, Latin America, Africa are some of the countries that utilize Roselle as well. They may have a different name for it.

  • Reply sara August 25, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Such an interesting post…I had never heard of this sort of juice! It looks so beautiful and delicious…if I ever find these fruits I will have to try it! πŸ™‚

    • Reply Che-Cheh August 26, 2011 at 5:10 pm

      Hi Sara, Oh yeah it’s unique ya.

  • Reply Raquel Edwards August 26, 2011 at 2:35 am

    In the Caribbean this is called sorrel and it’s a traditional Christmas-time drink.

    • Reply Che-Cheh August 26, 2011 at 5:12 pm

      Cool. Thanks for the info. I heard that even the leaf can be cooked.

  • Reply Von August 27, 2011 at 8:39 am

    The roselles look so pretty πŸ™‚ But ouch, those thorns sound painful!!
    I love ribena- I wish we had roselles here!

    • Reply Che-Cheh August 28, 2011 at 10:36 pm

      Hi Von,
      If you refer to Roselle in Wikipedia, it mentioned that in Australia it is known as rosella or rosella fruit. Have a look out on it when you go to market next time. πŸ™‚

  • Reply suvarna September 3, 2011 at 11:49 pm

    it really a good drink. I really love the way you presented.

    • Reply Che-Cheh September 4, 2011 at 1:16 am

      Hi Suvarna, hope you’re able to try it one day. πŸ™‚

      • Reply Julliena October 11, 2012 at 4:02 pm

        I tasted it in a restaurant in Penang. I drank the juice and also ate the calyx. I quite like the crunchy texture.

  • Reply DC September 6, 2011 at 12:45 am

    Oh? We have to remove the seeds?

    I just emptied the whole bag in and boil! LOL!

    • Reply Che-Cheh September 6, 2011 at 10:30 am

      Wah… haha so how’s the juice? ok?

  • Reply kunch43 September 21, 2011 at 1:59 am

    This is my favorite drink! I first tried it in Costa Rica and crave it often! Thanks for posting the recipe! I can’t wait to try it!

    • Reply Che-Cheh September 21, 2011 at 7:49 am

      Hi Kunch43, I’m craving for it right now but I have no Roselle anymore. πŸ™
      Anyway hope you like it.

  • Reply wendy wong October 27, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    hi, I am a singaporean and currently staying in Johore. can I get roselle plants at pasar malams in Johore Bahru Which part of Johore Bahru. I love your recipes.

    • Reply Che-Cheh October 27, 2011 at 5:43 pm

      Hi Wendy, glad you like my recipes. As I’m not from JB I’m unable to tell you the answer but you can try looking at pasar malam.

  • Reply polly January 6, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Hi , i have a couple of roselle plants and anyone living in JB can email me for cuttings [ much easier to grow than from seeds.] After making the juice, don’t throw away the pulp – just add rock sugar and stir again until it becomes jam !
    then enjoy !

    • Reply wendy November 9, 2012 at 2:03 pm

      Hi, polly which part of JB are u staying. would like to get some roselle cuttings from u

  • Reply Justus March 7, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    The drink is very wonderful

    • Reply Che-Cheh March 7, 2012 at 3:57 pm

      Yes very delicious πŸ™‚

  • Reply My Herbs & Roselle Plant March 8, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    […] of a flower) remain which is growing bigger day by day which I will collect it eventually to make roselle juice but it’s just so few. How to make juice leh? I need about 15 pieces. […]

  • Reply Jane April 6, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Hi there, where can I find roselle, if not in a night market? Any retail outlets in KL?

    • Reply Che-Cheh April 6, 2012 at 1:30 pm

      Hi Jane, You can try your local wet market especially Malay’s stalls or you can ask your Malay friends. They will most likely know about this.

  • Reply nadia June 21, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    hi, may i know exactly where u got this roselle..which area?..because im in a research study using this fruit, but susah nak dpt these days..btw im in shah alam selangor

    • Reply Che-Cheh June 21, 2012 at 3:28 pm

      Hi Nadia, I bought it at a Klang market and pasar malam. For the Klang market, the vendor are no longer selling, as for the pasar malam one I don’t encounter them selling anymore. If you are looking for the plant, I know where to get it.

  • Reply ara September 5, 2012 at 9:36 am

    i sell fresh and dried roselle also juice (pure no peservetive added), dried in malaysia Rm15.00/200g (ekonomi),Rm22.00/200g(premium/selected),juice Rm6.00 /liter(kl n shah Alam )..home made
    further details plc email ara022001@yahoo.com fon/sms:0173735530

  • Reply Michael September 10, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    Roselle is one of my favorite plants. I just harvested some today. I’m going to dehydrate them to store for later. I often mix it with kombucha. I love the look of those long and pointy ones you have pictured. The ones we have around here are more roundish, and the pointy parts on the ends aren’t as long. I’ve been trying for years to get some seed of the varieties grown in Malaysia and other places. Our varieties have some undesirable qualities and I want to experiment with some new kinds. I know a Latin grocery, about 4 hours drive from me, that sells dried calyxes for $5/lb, from Mexico, which is cheaper than I can grow it, so I like to stock up when I’m there. They call it “flor de Jamaica.” In Jamaica, they call it sorrel, which around here is a name given to many diverse things that taste sour. Anyway, if anyone can mail me some good seeds, I’ll mail you a check for some reasonable price. Email me at ufdionysus@aol.com I’ve already got the kind sold by Baker Creek Seeds, which they call “Thai red roselle.”

  • Reply Silke December 5, 2012 at 6:35 pm

    Thanks for the sharing the Roselle juice recipe! Just discovered them at Fireflies organic farm in Singapore and bought a bag without knowing what to do with them – now they are happily boiling on the stove and I look forward to a delicious juice for dinner:-)

    • Reply Che-Cheh December 5, 2012 at 7:55 pm

      You’re welcome. πŸ™‚
      If you intend to grow them yourself, make sure you save the seeds ya.

  • Reply KLGirl February 23, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    I love roselle tea. Just made a huge batch of the syrup as well as jam. Nice to know so many other people enjoy it too.

    • Reply Che-Cheh February 24, 2013 at 8:42 pm


      I’ve tried making jam as well. Yes they are delicious. Ahh nice to know you have your own Roselle shrubs. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Bev July 25, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Just wondering if you can advise as to whether it is safe to drink roselle whilst taking medication ( tablets.) for heart/cholestrol etc problems.
    I am also wanting to try the drink called Xamthone, a mixture of mangostein & roselle but a little hesitant due to taking medication.
    Any advise given would be much appreciated.
    Many Thanks.

    • Reply Che-Cheh July 25, 2013 at 11:02 pm

      Hi Bev, I’m not a medical expert therefore unable to give you any advice. Best is to consult your doctor. πŸ™‚

  • Reply evelyn g-koh September 15, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    heard of this fruit but never tried b4. I bought some at the Gaya Street weekly fair. The seller told me to just boil & add rock sugar which I substituted with ordinary sugar. Hmmm my hubby, granddaughter & me loveeeeeeeeeeeeeeee it. Tq for sharing.

    • Reply Che-Cheh September 20, 2013 at 2:22 pm

      Hi Evelyn, You’re most welcome. If you want a healthier alternative, you can substitute sugar with honey. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Alex September 21, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    Do you know how long the Roselle drink can be stored in the fridge for? If we happen to make extra that is.


    • Reply Che-Cheh September 21, 2014 at 5:26 pm

      Hi Alex, Sorry I don’t know. We always empty the roselle drink within a day or two.

  • Reply kimming October 28, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    boiling destroys flavanoids rich in the roselle itself… cut into slivers … compress into a mason jar… blend brown sugar or glucose and honey into slight syrupy consistency…. pour into mason jar containing compressed roselle… leave capped for 4-5 days … bubbles will form as a sign of natural fermentation by natural lacto bacteria on roselle…. spoon onto plain yogurt for breakfast….

    • Reply Che-Cheh October 28, 2014 at 4:55 pm

      Hi Kimming, this is a really great idea! πŸ™‚

  • Reply Trey June 26, 2020 at 1:59 am

    Hmmm, this drink also originates from Africa

    • Reply Che-Cheh June 26, 2020 at 9:55 am

      Hi Trey, this is wonderful to know. How do African use the roselle besides making it into a drink?

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