Rosella is a species of the Wild Hibiscus flower and the flowers are commonly used in cooking jams, jelly and cocktails.
In Australia, rosella is known as a kind of bush tucker which the indigenous people used to cook and enjoy. Today, a single blossom is often added to champagne flutes where the bubbles from the champagne would then cause the flower to open.
I first had a taste of rosella jam while I was in Uluru and I bought some tiny jars of rosella chilli sauce back as souvenirs.
Now you may be surprised to know that I actually purchased these flowers right here in Singapore.
I actually had no idea what the rosella flower looked like. But while I was at the wet market last sunday, I walked past a vegetable store and saw these unusual flowers. I asked the Uncle what they were and he told me their chinese name which was 洛神花 (Luo Shen Hua). He also told me they called it ribena in english because they would boil the flowers in water to make a drink that looked like ribena. This drink was supposed to help lower your cholesterol and nutritious.
I asked him how much it was and he said $2.20 so I ended up buying it. I popped it in the fridge and sort of forgot about it. But a few days ago, while I was writing up my post about The Memorable Desert, I was researching rosella flowers and came across a picture. Suddenly, I realised that that was what I had in my fridge. What a funny coincidence!
Well, I thought you might like to know that you can find them in Singapore and likely at your wet market for not too much. I found mine at the wet market at Clementi Central.
This morning, I decided to boil some rosella syrup so I could store it away to use in the future.
Here's the recipe that I used if you would like to make some too.
Rosella Syrup Recipe
1.5 cup of sugar
1. Wash the flowers and peel the calypses (petals) off the leaves.
2. Fill a pan of water with water and bring to a boil.
3. Add the sugar to the pan and stir until it dissolves.
4. Gently add the calypses to the pan and allow it to simmer for 10-15 mins while the syrup turns into a deep red.
5. Pour them into jars and refrigerate.
The flowers are meant to have a slightly tart taste and the sugar sweetens is slightly. It tasted nice as a drink but I can't wait to use it in a couple of new recipes. The syrup can be kept for a year and you can use them on desserts or reduce it with balsamic vinegar and add to meats. I love finding new ingredients to spice up my old recipes.
Have you tried Rosella in anything? Do let me know in the comments. I would love to know how it was used.