Tropical Cooking with Travel Man: Appetizer/Side Dish/Salad # 2 - Hibiscus Salad
Making a hibiscus salad is new to me. I already knew the French dressing but I doubt I can endure the taste of it, although it looks enticing.
I overheard from our Jamaican stevedores when were at Kingston port way back 2004 and 2008 (as a seafarer) that they have a special beverage called Agua de Flor de Jamaica or the roselle tea made from dried sepals and calyxes of hibiscus or gumamela flowers. Local manufacturers made a lot of it that it's one of the export products of the said Caribbean nation.
Typical hibiscus or gumamela (as we call it here in the Philippines) are just flowering plants in the garden, oftentimes eaten by dogs, cats or even other animals (carabao, goats, cow) than can cause adverse effects in their stomachs.
During my childhood hibiscus flowers cured my boils (pigsa in Filipino term) by pounding several of it and apply as poultice around the wound. We often played on its petals by plucking it or inserting it on notebook pages as science project.
Edible hibiscus are:
- Abelmoschus esculentus, Okra - lady finger with its edible green pod
- Abelmoschus manihot, Aibika - sunset hibiscus
- Hibiscus acetosella, False roselle - cranberry hibiscus; known for making hibiscus tea
- Hibiscus cannabinus, Kenaf - Java jute, known for kenaf paper; very popular in Telugu, India as Gongoora (even in the US and Korean markets); with almost 129 names around the world.
- Hibiscus diversifolius, Swamp hibiscus - a close relative of swap cabbage because of its flowers; abundant in the Philippines, New Zealand and other tropical countries
- Hibiscus heterophyllus, Native rosella - endemic to Australia with white, pale pink or yellow with purple at the center
- Hibiscus mutabilis, Cotton rosemallow -Confederate rose, flowers and leaves are used by midwives to facilitate delivery during labor; can also treat skin infection and swelling. It is the state flower of Hawaii where it can have double-petals and variety of colors like golden, pink, rose, yellow and orange.
- Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, Chinese hibiscus - often a red hibiscus or gumamela and the national flower of Malaysia
- Hibiscus sabdariffa, Roselle - very popular in the Carribean as roselle drink, usually iced tea.
- Hibiscus sinosyriacus, Hibiscus syriacus - Rose of Sharon - the flower petals are edible for making salad, leaves good for shampoo and flowers for organic hair dye depending on its colors
- Hibiscus trionum, Flower of an hour - native in the East side of Mediterranean as wild and garden plant
Homegrown ingredientsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Make the salad in less than 5 minutes!
1 piece hibiscus flower, petals cleaned and plucked ( I used a pink hibiscus flower or the confederate variety.)
French dressing (modified)
1 teaspoon fresh shredded dill weed
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon salad oil (I used vegetable oil instead.)
dash of salt and ground black pepper
Pour the mixed French dressing on the hibiscus sepals.
I sampled the salad right after the quick preparation. It's cottony but nutty to the taste. Thanks to its French dressing with the dill weed.
Nothing harmful that happened to me. I put the leftover in the fridge for my dinner appetizer.
I'm still looking for the variety of the Rose of Sharon. I might try making a salad out of it.
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