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Friends, followers, and my best foodie tribe, I missed you SO MUCH!
It’s been five weeks since I last posted here! That is probably the longest silence this platform has slipped into, since its inception.
Admittedly, this silence wasn’t random but more of a decision that I made to focus on my family during summer break and also to honor some exciting professional endeavors that were all food related.
Amid the busy summer break, I managed to film 24 mediterranean recipes for the digital platform of a culinary institute in addition to developing recipes for Egyptian and Lebanese pop up dinners. Check my instagram feed @cheznermine for videos and photos of my summer creative projects.
Despite the long hours of work and the pressure that comes with juggling work and family responsibilities, I feel deeply grateful that the kids had a fulfilling summer break packed with playdates, sport classes, and summer camps, while I was able to focus on taking my food professional services to the next level.
In any event, summer break is over, the kids are back to school, and my blogging and writing is finally restored.
As I wanted to come back with something refreshing, I though of sharing with you my recipe of Hibiscus-Rose Granita.
Hibiscus-Rose Granita is inspired by the Egyptian iced tea, Karkadeh. Before I delve into this recipe that I created to beat the balmy weather, I would like to talk about the original Egyptian Karkadeh drink or Hibiscus Iced Tea.
Karkadeh is simply an iced tea that I grew up drinking on scorching hot summer days. This iced tea was made of dried hibiscus flowers and petals steeped in hot water for no more than 20 minutes, brought to room temperature, sweetened with caster sugar, and kept in the fridge to serve cold.
This same hibiscus iced tea is widely consumed in Central America under the name of ROSA DE JAMAICA .
What is Hibiscus-Rose Granita?
I make Hibiscus-Rose Granita with a simple infusion technique. I steep rose petals and dry hibiscus flower mixed together in hot water for 15-20 minutes. I prefer to sweeten my drink with honey to avoid white sugar, but the latter is an obvious option.
After the tea comes to room temperature, I discard the hibiscus and rose petals after they have imparted their delicate flavors. And this stage, I either keep the drink in the fridge to enjoy as an iced tea or I pour into a ziplock to turn it into a homemade granita.
Rose petals and hibiscus flowers are a match made in heaven. Both have delicate flavors with subtle floral notes that enhance one another. In case rose buds are hard to find, simply drizzle a spoonful of rose water along with the steeped hibiscus flower.
Where to Find Hibiscus Flowers
I vividly remember hibiscus being associated with upper Egypt or the South of Egypt where the best breed of hibiscus grow abundantly.
Serving cold hibiscus drinks during summer is something that I grew up with and I have adopted the same tradition in the nine cities where I’ve lived across the globe.
Finding good quality dried hibiscus petals is no longer an issue, even if you live in a non-tropical region as organic hibiscus flowers and hibiscus tea bags are available on Amazon.
Hibiscus is a Pantry Asset
Dried hibiscus flowers are right up my alley, as they is fairly versatile. In addition to serving them as a hot tea or a cooling summer ice tea drink, they is also the hero ingredient in an array of delicious recipes such as jelly, sorbet, and margaritas.
Hibiscus tea is a type of herbal tea associated with many health benefits.
According to health coach Sherie Sourial @ssourail, tests have shown that hibiscus may aid weight loss, improve heart and liver health, and even help fight cancer and bacteria.
A great way to integrate hibiscus into your lifestyle is in the form of tea (the traditional Middle Eastern way). Since it’s naturally sweet tasting, one doesn’t need to add sugar to this refreshing drink.
Hibiscus has many great nutritional properties such a Vitamin C and antioxidants. These nutrients have benefits in assisting the immune system, and reducing oxidative stress and inflammation.
Side Effects of Hibiscus
Some advise against consuming hibiscus tea when pregnant and for patients with low blood pressure. Check with your doctor first if you have any doubts before trying hibiscus tea.
Hibiscus’ tart and delicate flavor pairs well with lemon, lime, ginger, lavender, cinnamon, allspice, clove, and rose buds or rose water.
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Serves 4-6 people
¼ cup dried hibiscus flowers (petals)
- 6 cups filtered water
- 2 tablespoons rose buds or one tablespoon rose water
- 2 tablespoons honey or white sugar, or more to taste.
- Steep the hibiscus and rose buds: Place the hibiscus flowers in a heat resistant pot and cover with boiling water. Sweeten to taste and allow to cool. Strain and pour into a Ziplock bag and freeze.
- Make the granita: When the hibiscus-rose is all frozen, take the Ziplock out of the freezer and hammer with a meat mallet or a rolling pin until it disintegrates into crumbs. Put the granita back in the freezer, and transfer into a new Ziplock if the first one is broken. Repeat the hammering step one more time.
- Serve the granita: Chill 4 to 6 serving glasses in the freezer. Empty the Ziplock into the chilled serving glasses and serve immediately.