20 July 2008


I've seen many vendors in my part of the world selling dried little blossoms called karkade and wondered how popular it was with the Arab women - aren't they a fashionable lot? Someone suggested using karkade as a natural hair conditioner and colouring agent, I bought a bunch and used it regularly along with henna, but I didn't see it having any effect on my hair colour! I had no idea what karkade was, only after seeing this post did I learn it was the good, old and very common hibiscus!

The outer leaves of the hibiscus flower called the hibiscus calyx/ rosella/ natal sorrel/ karkadé is commonly used in many parts of the world to make hot and cold infusions. Nutritionally, it contains vitamin C, flavinoids, amino acids and other antioxidants, and its extract has been used in medicine to improve metabolism, liver and pancreas function, reduce fevers, clear a blocked nose, regulate appetite, improve digestion, decrease blood pressure and cholesterol, improve resistance and reduce eye fatigue. Karkade is Egyptian hibiscus tea believed to be the preferred drink of the Pharoahs. In Egypt and Sudan, wedding celebrations are traditionally toasted with a glass of hibiscus tea. In other parts of Africa, roselle is used to make wine, in the Caribbean as tea with ginger and other spices, in Guatemala to cure a hangover. Hot or cold, it is a delicious drink having a ruby-red wine hue and tastes tart like a pomegranate or cranberry juice. Read more about karkade here, here and here.

For the hibiscus tea, you'll need:

1 cup water
a handful of karkade petals
sugar or honey as per taste

Boil the water along with the karkade petals and simmer for five minutes. Add sugar/honey and cover for a few minutes till it infuses. Serve hot like tea.

I made the hibiscus cordial from Happy Cook's blog but cut down the quantity.

For the hibiscus cordial you'll need:

2 cups karkade
2 cups sugar
3 cups water

Heat the sugar and water till the sugar dissolves completely. Add the karkade and bring it to a boil. Reduce the flame and simmer till the volume reduces and you get a deep red syrup. Remove from flame, strain and cool. Bottle the syrup in sterilised bottles - keeps well in the fridge.

To serve add one part syrup to nine parts water and mix well. Top with some ice cubes and a dash of lime.

This goes for MBP to Nupur of One Hot Stove who says Less is More.

This also goes to JFI-Edile FLowers hosted at Soul Food and Summer Splash hosted at Nalabhagham.


KALVA said...

Wow lovely post dear...

Nupur said...

That drink looks so irresistible...love the color. Thanks for sending in this delicious entry.

Swati: Sugarcraft India said...

Hey it was nice to know that this commonly available flower can be used in so many ways.. and has so many properties..
Gotta try these ..and thanx for sharing!!

sra said...

My gran used to use the leaves to make a hair wash! I've seen this drink in some healthfood shops.

Nithu said...

That's a good piece of information. Nice. I don't know if karkade is available here. Got to check out.

Cynthia said...

We make a drink with it simply called sorrel and it is very popular at Christmas in these parts as it is seasonal then.

Nags said...

this month's JFI is sure to bring out some nice entries. i love the colour of that drink!

Srivalli said...

that drink looks great!...and great informations...thanks Jy!

Lubna Karim said...

That drink reaaly looks 'yummy'. refreshing recipe.

Sukanya said...

The drink looks truly refreshing. Amazing variation using flowers so easily available all over the world

workhard said...

I think this would make a wonderful, refreshing summer drink

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teresita said...

This is exactly like Mexican "agua de Jamaica". Jamaica are dried hibiscus flowers and can be purchased in any Hispanic market in the spice aisle.

Cool said...

Excellent Artice. Thanks

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Cool said...

Excellent articles. Thanks for sharing.!!!

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