Went to the Kranji Countryside Farmer's Market recently and was introduced to a beautiful reddish pink drink by one of the stall vendors. Learnt that it was made from the roselle fruit which looked like a little red fireball. To make this refreshing drink, one had to remove the seed enclosed within the red sepals first. Then put a big handful of these red roselle sepals in a pot, add water and rock sugar and boil it on low fire for around 15-20 minutes. I love using the slow cooker for this purpose and after the mixture has cooled down, add ice for the perfect cool drink. It has a tart and slightly sourish taste, quite similar to the cranberry but what 's great about it is its anti-hypertensive qualities (for lowering cholesterol levels) as well as its rich Vitamin C content. As it is quite acidic in nature, it is best not to drink it on an empty stomach.
The roselle plant is a species of Hibiscus native to West Africa but around the world, different cultures use it for different purposes. The Senegalese and the Burmese use the leaves for their own vegetable dish while
the Europeans use the sepals for food coloring.
I couldn't find it at the supermarkets but thankfully, I found it at a wet market. Only one vegetable stall had it out of many so I suppose it is not that common. As Christmas is coming and there is a tendency to eat rich foods during this season, having a cool roselle tea to go along may be a good idea. The colour itself will also be in keeping with the Christmas festivity, don't you think ?