Not only roselle tea (or sorrel tea) is popular in Thailand, but also across Africa, Italy and Egypt. In Latin America and the US, it is popularly known as Agua de Flor de Jamaica. It is believed that the pharaohs of the Egypt were served this tea. In Australia and some other parts of the world, rosella jam and the colourful roselle liquor are very famous.
Roselle: a healthy, floral tea
Roselle is not the same as rose. It is actually obtained from the hibiscus plant. Research has proved that the chemical anthocyanin found in hibiscus (e.g., roselle) reduces cholesterol and hypertension. It acts as a natural diuretic and acts effectively against body’s fluid retention or oedema. High in calcium, niacin, riboflavin and iron, roselle tea is a good alternative against your regular cup of tea. It may also help in preventing bladder infections and kidney and liver problems. Roselle tea relieves constipation and research has now proved that if taken regularly after the meals, a hot cup of roselle tea is very effective to reduce weight.
If you spot a roselle plant in your place, you can experiment with it in numerous ways:
- The fresh leaves and young stems are used directly in salads.
- Make your own cup of Jamaican-style roselle tea (popular as a traditional Christmas drink), which is made by putting roselle calyces into an earthenware pot with grated ginger, boiling water and sugar, and letting the mixture stand overnight. The resultant liquid is strained and served with a dash of rum, along with a few ice cubes!
- Thickened roselle sauce is found to substitute cranberry sauce effectively. This sauce is made by just boiling the tea longer, so that it acquires a syrupy consistency. This may be added to various desserts and salad dressings for the unique taste and a dash of colour, apart from being used as a sauce for pouring over pancakes, waffles and ice creams.
- Add a little of this tea to your drink for a beautiful colour and a different flavour!
In winters, people prefer a hot cup of roselle tea, but the cold version works its magic with equal effect in summers as well! Dried roselle calyces are generally obtained by letting the fruit dry naturally on the plant and then gently taking out just the calyces, discarding the inner fruit. The taste of the tea is a bit sour, which can be adjusted with a careful addition of sugar for that perfectly balanced sweet-n-sour taste. So when I spotted a jar of dry roselle in one of the supermarkets here, I could not stop myself to try out a healthy brew of roselle tea.
The tea is easy to make. Perhaps, this is the easiest recipe on my blog so far!
Thai roselle tea
Makes 4 cups
- Dried roselle calyces: 10–12
- Drinking water: 4.5 cups
- Sugar: 5 tsp
- Freshly crushed lemongrass (optional): 2 stems
- Crushed ginger (optional): ½ tsp
Add all the ingredients in a pot and boil for 10 min. Strain and serve hot.
On another note, thanks to Quatro for awarding Cosmopolitan Currymania with Cherry on Top Award. Quatro’s blog, Quatro Frommagio and other Disgraces on the Menu, is very interesting and will definitely tickle your tastebuds. I am really honoured, Quatro!