Amy Riolo: Hi! I am Amy Riolo and I am making Egyptian recipes. Next, I am going to make Hibiscus Punch. The ingredients which we will need are: 1 cup dried hibiscus leaves, sometimes these are also called Roselle leaves or flowers of Jamaica; they can be found in Middle-Eastern or Caribbean markets, cup sugar, which is also to taste or optional and a teaspoon of orange blossom water, which is also optional. The tools which we will need are a colander, a bowl, a large saucepan to hold a gallon of water and a spoon.
So to get started making our Hibiscus Punch, what I am going to do is bring about a gallon of water up to a boil on high heat. This recipe that we are going to make today is traditional Nubian recipe. These leaves that we are going to be cooking with are called dried Hibiscus leaves, but they are actually from the Roselle or the Red Sorrel plant which is in the same family as the Hibiscus. They are made and dried like this in and they are sold Mediterranean Middle-Eastern stores. Actually, these were imported into Souther Spain in the 9th century from Egypt. So when the Spaniards came into the new world, they brought this plant with them. These were some of the things that we use as culinary ingredients in the Caribbean. So you will find, its very interesting that you will find the same drink in Jamaica and in Mexico, as you do in Egypt and thats why. So now that our water is coming up to a boil, what we can do is add a cup of our dried hibiscus petals. These are also starting to become a gourmet item. You can find now in a lot of gourmet shops, they will have a little hibiscus blossom in a sweet syrup. They will sell it in the import area and its very, very expensive because as you can see, the red color that these hibiscus petals give off is really, really beautiful. You can do a lot of different things with this.
I like to make this, once its cooled -- and I've finished making it, I would like to turn this recipe into ice cubes and also into popsicles for kids, but it also makes a really nice shaved ice or a Granita kind of a dessert. I think that we will start seeing it more and more on the restaurant scene because its very addictive once you get used to the great flavor. Even though we are just using one ingredient, its very, very complex. There are fruity nodes, there are floral nodes and it tastes really delicious.
Now the hibiscus petals also have a lot of health benefits. They are full of Vitamin C and the Nubians traditional use them as a purifying tonic for the body. Also, if you drink the hibiscus in large quantities, its known to lower blood pressure. So be careful, if you dont want your blood pressure to be lowering too much, just drink about a cup at a time.
Whats interesting about making the hibiscus is as you can see we are making it just in the same manner that you would make loose tea. You can drink it hot or cold, depending upon the season and depending upon what you prefer. You could also serve it sweetened or unsweetened, just like the way that we do tea. So what I am doing now is I am just going to bring the entire mixture up to a boil. Once it boils, we will let it go for about 2-3 minutes and then we are going to drain our Hibiscus Punch and we will stir in sugar to taste. I have got about half of a cup here today, which is what I like, but you could leave it plain or you could add more sugar, if you prefer. Nubians tend to like things sweet, so they might add a little bit even more sugar. Then I am going to add something that is not traditional but I would like to add and that is orange blossom water. I am going to add about a teaspoon of the orange blossom water and stir it in at the very end, just to kind of perk up the flavor and give it even a little bit more of a fruity, floral kind of a taste. You dont have to do that, but thats what I am going to do at the end.
So here is our Hibiscus Punch. As we say in Egypt when we go to begin a meal, Bil hana wa shifa which means with pleasure and help.