Friday, September 5, 2008

Roselle Flower洛神花 (Luo Shen Hua)

My family and I like to try unique things especially food. Two weeks ago, while doing my routine shopping for grocery in NTUC Fair Price super mart, a packet of red beautiful looking flowers (fruits) caught my eyes. It is displaying on the fridge racks. They are Fresh Roselle Fruits. I’ve bought dried Roselle flowers but not fresh Roselle fruits. I grab it immediately.

Not knowing what to do with fresh fruits. Not knowing if I should cut it out to eat, smash it to make a paste for my bread, extract the juice or boil it with water like what I've did for the dried flowers. I seek help from Wikipedia and flipping some books from library. Here’s what I’ve found :

The Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa)
It is a species of hibiscus. It is an annual subshrub growing to 2-2.5m tall and takes about six months to mature. China and Thailand are the largest producers. It is a relatively new crop and industry in Malaysia (Terengganu state). Surprisingly, Singapore is also growing in Organic Farm. The one I bought is actually grown in Singapore. Best of all, it is Organic too.

The LEAVES are deeply 3-5 lobed, 8-15cm long arranged alternately on the stems.
The FRUITS are harvested fresh, and their calyces are made into a drink rich in vitamin C and anthocyanins.

The FLOWERS are 8-10cm in diameter, white to pale yellow with dark red sport at the base of each petal. It has a Calyx at the base about 1.5-2cm wide and turns bright red as fruit matures. Calycus are normally dried and use to make ice and cool roselle drink.

Roselle, has been used in folk medicine as a mild laxative, and treatment for cardiac and nerve diseases and cancer. In Europe and America, calyx is use as food colouring. . In Africa the flower tea is use as a tea to relief cough. In Thailand it is use as a tea to reduce cholestrol. This drink is particularly good for people who have a tendency, temporary or otherwise, toward water retention.

In France the green leaves are used like a spicy version of spinach to give flavour to fish and rice dish. In Myanmar the leaves are main ingredient in making Chin Baung Kyaw Curry. The heated leaves can be applied to cracks in the feet and on boils and ulcers to speed maturation.

What I’ve done with my kids :


1) TEA :
200g roselle fruits (The packet I bought from NTUC Fairprice is 200g per pack at S$2.80/pack)
2 – 3 liters water
Some rock sugar to taste (Cane sugar is equally good)
Cooking time : Abt 8 – 10 minutes

In Africa it is commonly sold in the street where people use to make it into sugary herbal tea. Put the roselle and water in a pot and bring it to a boil for 8 to 10 minutes or till water turns red (don’t have to cut the fruit). Then, add sugar. Drink as floral tea. You can also combine with Chinese tea leaves in the ratio of 1 : 5 (Roselle Tea : Chinese Tea).

2) BEER :

Combine the Roselle tea with beer. It gives a fruity berry/current taste beer.


Boil dried flowers for 8 to 10 minutes (or until the water turns red), then adding sugar. Served chilled. You can mix with mint leaves, dissolved menthol candy, and/or various fruit flavors or juice. Alternatively, you can add Soda into the tea to make it a fantastic carbonated beverage.

Just add Roselle juice to your jelly/jam/agar agar recipe. It will have a taste very similar to Black Current candy like Ribena.


Ingredients :
1 kg apples, washed and chopped
200g roselle flowers (don’t have to cut)
1.50 liter water
75g sugar per 100ml liquid

Put the roselle, chopped apple and water in a pot and bring it to a boil for 20 – 30 minutes until the apples are very soft. Drain the liquid into a bowl (use clean filter bag or cloth). Do not squeeze the filter/bag as this will make the jelly cloudy). Just set aside and let it drip by itself. It will take a while, just be patient. You may leave it overnight and let it drip by itself till the next morning.

Discard the fruit and flowers. (You can use the apple for apple pie or apple fruit bar if you wish). Measure the liquid to determine amount of sugar use (75g of sugar per 100ml of fluid. Place juice in saucepan, heat up and add sugar. Stir well till sugar dissolved. Cook rapidly and bring to boil for another 15 minutes.

Test if the jelly is done by scoping a little of jelly out from the saucepan, place on a clean plate or saucer and place it in the fridge (while the rest of the jelly is still cooking in the saucepan). If a skin like texture is form, the jelly is ready. If not continue boiling and testing. Place the jelly in sterilized jar. Allow to cool and store.

This Blog Post is specially dedicated to my lovely Water Retention Friend......Pebbles !!!!

Roselle helps water retention.



May I have roselle tea this coming saturday, please? hehe....

Hồng Minh said...

Nice to know your recipe to make Luo Shen Huo jam. I like it. In Vietnam, I manufacture some products from Hibiscus (Luo shen huo) such as wine, tea, jam ...

I'm very happy to know your blog. Thanks.

angiethornton said...

Hi! I live in West Africa, where roselle is used most commonly in a sweet, cold drink called bissap. I have used it in recipes that call for fresh cranberries (which are common in N. America, where I'm from), and they've been a great substitute, especially at Thanksgiving and Christmas, when cranberries are most commonly used.

If you like baking bread, you can chop up some fresh roselle, add some sugar, and mix it into your dough after it's initial rise. Orange zest makes a nice compliment to the flavour of sorrel/roselle.

Here's a link to a blog that shares a recipe similar to the one I've made. It looks even better with roselle than with cranberries, as roselle, when it's chopped up, infuses the bread with a lot more colour and flavour, since it's a lot smaller than those chubby cranberries. :) Here's that link:

My absolute favorite recipe to make with fresh roselle is a "Faux Cranberry Fluff." Here it is, in case you're interested:

Cranberry/Roselle Fluff

1 sack cranberries, ground [2-3 cups chopped fresh bissap flowers they come off Sometime between Sept. and Nov. depending on the year. I try to get the bissap ‘vimto’ (dark red), but the lighter red work too. I wash them, and grind/chop them [with blender or food processor] and freeze them for when I need them.] If using cranberries, buy a day or two ahead and freeze before grinding [grind while frozen—this is probably more important when using an old fashioned hand grinder as we used to do, but my mom still does it with her food processor]
1 cup sugar
2 cups miniature marshmallows [I use scissors dipped in hot water and quarter regular marshmallows.]

Mix first three ingredients together and let stand overnight in fridge [or cold garage/store room] :}

2 cups seedless grapes [I use regular red grapes and take the seeds out]
2 cups walnuts [I use walnuts or pecans and use less sometimes]
1 or two cups whipped cream [I use two]

Add and stir in the next morning.

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