Friday, June 7, 2013

Recipe: Roselle juice / drink / tea

The roselle or asam belanda (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is a species of  hibiscus, and in Malaysia it is often referred to as "Ribena plant" as roselle juice tastes similar to Ribena. It can grow up to 2–2.5 m tall with wide leaves that are deeply three to five-lobed. The leaves and young shoots can be used in cooking, often added to curry to impart a mild sour taste.


Roselle juice / drink / tea


Roselle plant in our garden


Roselle leaves and flower


I am however most interested in the calyx. The flowers are pink and only blooms for 1-2 days before dropping off to reveal the fleshy calyx. The calyx will enlarge up to 3-4cm, and will be a bright red as the fruit matures. Within the calyx is a green seed capsule which can be dried and cracked open to obtain the seeds for replanting.





The red calyx is harvested to make roselle juice, syrup or jam. It is also suitable to be used a natural red food colouring. Since we have two roselle plants growing in the garden, I get to harvest them every 3-4 days and make roselle juice for the kids. Roselle juice is high in vitamin C and anthocyanins. I first had roselle juice at Pangkor Laut Resort, which is served cold as a welcome drink to guests.


Red calyx


Roselle calyx separated from the seed capsule

Roselle juice is very easy to make. Simply use your hands to peel the calyx and remove the seed capsule. Then place the calyx with the water into a large pot and boil for 15-20 minutes. The longer you boil it, the more concentrated the juice will be. At this point, the roselle juice will have a sourish taste, I add 3-4 tablespoons of sugar for taste, or you can also use honey. Some people do like it a lot sweeter but since this is supposed to be a healthy drink, I didn't want to use too much sugar.

Roselle juice is best served chilled, with lots of ice for a refreshing drink. For our kids, we serve it to them cooled at room temperature.






Roselle juice/drink/tea (Healthy version)
Recipe by Baby Sumo
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15-20 minutes
Serves 4

Ingredients
20 roselle calyx
2l water
3-4 tbsp caster sugar, to taste
Honey (optional)

1. Firstly, peel the seed out of the calyx. You can just use your fingers but be careful as some parts of the seeds are prickly.

2. Place roselle and water in a large pot and boil over medium high heat for 15-20 minutes. The longer you boil it, the more concentrate the juice will taste.

3. Stir in sugar, to taste.

4. Allow to cool to room temperature, then chill in fridge and serve with lots of ice cubes. If you like, you can   add some honey before serving.


A wonderfully refreshing drink for a hot day!

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23 comments:

  1. Welcome back to KL! Hope u had a good flight home and are not feeling too jet-lagged. Hope the kids really enjoyed their trip too. the weather in KL has been not too comfortable these past few weeks, so this roselle drink would be a very welcome relief. I want a roselle cocktail, heheh =)

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    1. Thanks Sean! Am sure the great mixologists at Omakase will be able to whip a roselle cocktail up for you ;)

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  2. oh, so that is the roselle flower? i actually thought the red calyx itself is the flower:D never tasted this 'ribena' before!

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    1. I admit I've never seen the flower until I got the plant too. It's really beautiful!

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  3. A very refreshing drink. The roselle flower looks very pretty too.

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  4. Hi, thanks for visiting my blog. So sorry for dropping by late. You mentioned you will be visiting Aberdeen soon. Just wonder whether yo have already come and left. Are you here on holiday or on some business trip? Wonder how's your travel schedule and whether you would like to meet up. Would be nice :) And I know this refreshing roselle drink. We used to plant a lot for drinks and also jam. The weather is getting warmer now. A cold glass of this drink would be perfect......mmmm

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    1. Am back in KL now, maybe we can meet up next time I am in Aberdeen again.

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  5. Hello, Yen, welcome back! Must still be in the holiday mood, hehe! I thought you bought this roselle plant not long ago & now it is growing tall & there are lots of roselle there! Hmmm, does it taste similar to ribena?

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    1. Hi Jessie, yeah I still feel like I need a holiday after my holiday :) When we bought the plant, it was already quite big and bore fruits soon after. I guess if I added more sugar, it would taste more like Ribena but I try not to make it too sweet for my kids.

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  6. Love this refreshing drink! I wish I had a garden!

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    Replies
    1. Aww maybe I can send u some calyxes next time?

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  7. Yen , I could live in your garden :D So refreshing , that pretty colorful drink !

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    1. One of the perks of having a garden... can plant all the lovely fruit and herbs that I like :D

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  8. We make a similar drink with rose petals (fresh or dried) and call it Sherbet. Love the similarity in our traditions!

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    1. We also make that juice in Tanzania and i want to plant that hibscus its amaizing how it has got lots of function

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  9. Thanks for your roselle seeds, throw them in the pot already, but have yet to see them growing, not very positive outcome, maybe I should get a pot from nursery soon.

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  10. Will the vitamin C content be lost when cooking ?

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  11. Wow, thank you for this! Hope you don't mind a link to this post.

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  12. thanks for sharing..Amazing stuff continues the good work.
    hibiscus tea recipe

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