Saturday, October 30, 2010


There is something about a crimson coloured drink that makes it desirable and irresistible. 

I knew I had to make this when I saw it on The Hungry Caterpillar. The Roselle cordial is made from the sepals of the Roselle flower. A species of the hibiscus which is a plant native to the Old World tropics. It is of a deep plum colour, fleshy and crisp in texture, bizarre, kinky, alien-like, seemingly ready to scamper, creep, plunge, squeak, squeal and rule the world through my poor little chocolate addicted body.

H thought they looked weird, and winced when I offered him the cordial. I looked at him as adamantly as I was allowed to and, to my surprise, he relented and took a sip. Then he waved the half full glass of roselle out of my reach. I smacked his arm with my paw. As hard as I was allowed to. We grappled. We drank. We were in ecstasy and in joyful worship. Of Rosella. (Dionysus... move over)

Obviously it passed the test. So now it's bottled. Like a Genie.

It has a lovely flavour that hovers between a grape juice and a Ribena (a blackcurrant cordial). It has a slight tang to it too. It contains lots of vitamins and goodness-ess. Then I gave some to my mother.

Cordials are popular in this hemisphere. They are very sweet concentrated fruit flavoured syrups that need to be diluted with cold water, topped with ice cubes and then served.  In short, it contains copious amounts of sugar. It's the poor man's alternative to fruit juices. They are very refreshing.

The seeds found inside the sepals contain natural pectin and if these roselle sepals are to be cooked into a jam the seeds are boiled seperately in some water, drained, the seeds discarded and the gel like liquid that remains behind is added to the boiled sepals-sugar mixture to give it the final gel-like quality of jam. Fascinating.

PS ~ What a lovely and natural way to color cakes and icing.
The recipe ~ an approximation ~
300-350 gm roselle sepals
3 cups of granulated sugar
5-6 cups water

Rinse rosella sepals until clean. Drain. Pluck the sepals and remove all the seeds. 

Place water in a pot. Add sepals and bring to a boil and then a medium simmer for about 8- 10 minutes. The water will turn crimson immediately. Add sugar and simmer again until the sugar dissolves. Give it a stir. When sugar has dissolved and the syrup is a gorgeous crimson drain through a sieve and discard the sepals. 

Cool and store the syrup in a sterilized bottle.

To serve ~  

Pour about an inch and a half of the Rosella syrup into a glass and then fill up to 3/4 way with chilled water. Add ice cubes if you like. Taste for sweetness. Add more of the syrup if not sweet enough or more water if too sweet. Add a squeeze of lime and some slices if desired. Drink and be refreshed. 

It's a beautiful and gorgeous drink. How could one resist ?


Unknown said...

Hi Zurin,

The drink looks fabulous...Must try this..Looks lovely...I wanna grab a glass rite now...!!:)


Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

I wish I could reach out for a glass now. I first drank this at a friend's house when I was 8 years old and I thought it was heavan's juice! Great photos, Zurin!

Angie's Recipes said...

Shirley, if you could reach out, please grab two glasses and reserve one for me. :-)) Looks so lovely!

Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

Wow, it's beautiful!

WendyinKK said...

I also made this some time back, and I added french rose buds to it, and it tasted exactly like F&N's Rose Syrup, but all natural.
Nice idea to slip in some lime slices.

La Table De Nana said...

Pink is just so pretty on the net..these cordials look so refreshing..I have the little flowers packed in syrup..not fresh like yours..

In fact I have never seen those here.

busygran said...

Feeling thirsty just by looking at your pictures! I saw roselles sold at the market today but I hesitated buying. Will look for them tomorrow.

a quiet life said...

itis gorgeous... your pics are stunning too! anything with tons of sugar is right up my at little alley!

Torviewtoronto said...

looks delicious lovely pictures

leaf (the indolent cook) said...

My mum makes roselle cordial too! It's really quite a unique and pleasant flavour. :)

Linda said...

Oh Zurin...these drinks look stunning. I can almost taste one right through the screen.
They looks sooooo cool and refreshing!
Your pics are absolutely amazing!

Unknown said...

This is a very popular drink in the Caribbean at Christmas time. I use this often. It makes a wonderful jam, and pancake syrup...I even use it on top of cheesecake. I only wish my photos were as glorious as yours

Sarah-Jane - said...

Shirley - if you have enough arms... I'll have some too. Never seen or heard of these - so unlikley ever to make it.

Zurin - your photos are beautiful. So perfect for your book. They look like they are straight out of a magazine !

pam said...

Almost too pretty to drink.

Deeba PAB said...

Irresistible...what a gorgeous colour! I'd grapple with you for a glassful...and probably more! Do I sound too greedy?

pigpigscorner said...

This sounds fab! I have to look for this when I go back!

♥Sugar♥Plum♥Fairy♥ said...

Oh what a beautifully fantastic drink!
I agree, how can one resist?

terri@adailyobsession said...

i made this years ago n it didn't taste special. i must find some n use your recipe.

Medifast Coupon Codes said...

Very nice, great pictures, you really captured the beauty of the flower or seed?

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

What a cool looking flower, yes, a bit alien-like 8). And the drink looks refreshing and has such a lovely hue. Thanks for sharing this with us, Zurin!

sana said...

I love this very much! It's always make me fresh ;)


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