Stopped by the wet market today and found this weird looking thing. Of course my first thought was, wooo I want to try it! My regular veggie lady is very sweet, she’s really good at teaching me how to prepare odd looking plants I buy from her. When I held this strange looking flower on my hand, I assumed you throw away the red petals and boil the inside. On the contrary! She peeled the petals off and told me to boil them. Interesting! Of course when I went home, I googled “Chinese red flower drink” and learned that these are fresh hibiscus flowers aka rose mallows. I’ve tried hibiscus drinks before in NY. They’re usually found in Jamaican restaurants but are infused with other ingredients. Here’s a good recipe for Agua de Jamaica. You can buy the dried leaves online or at specialty shops.
Hibiscus are loaded with phytochemicals and are known to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. I peeled off the petals and boiled approximately a cup of petals with 4 cups of water. You can add honey or rock sugar to the drink and serve it hot or cold. I like it plain and simple.