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Monday, 3 February 2014

Thai Roselle Sorbet (No Churn)

In Thailand, Roselle (known in Thai as 'Kra-Jeab' กระเจี๊ยบ) is not uncommon for its various health benefits and is widely used for making tea (or Cha Kra-Jeab ชากระเจี๊ยบ) and refreshing drink (or Nam Kra-Jeab น้ำกระเจี๊ยบ). Roselle drink is usually served chilled, over ice, with adding a thin sugar syrup to sweeten it. Without adding sugar syrup, it tastes slightly sour, depending on Roselle concentrate juice.

Thailand produces much of the world's crop of Roselle and is also known for having one of the best quality crops of the plant - a fact Thais are rightfully proud of. Mix that with its many health benefits and that's why you'll find Roselle products all over Thailand.

When I was a child, I often saw my grandmother, preparing Roselle leaves for my grandfather's favourite fish soup. Roselle young shoots can be eaten when cooked and usually served as accompaniment to local dipping sauce, made of shrimp paste, chili, lime juice or young Sala fruits, a bit of sugar, garlic and topped with crispy roasted shrimp. A local lady whom I met at the market told me that Roselle calyx can also be eaten fresh, with sugar, salt & chili powder mix, Thai style (or known in Thai as "Prig Kleuh" พริกเกลือ). She added it will arouse your palate to the nines!!! 
For generations, Thais have grown Roselle and used it to make tea. Roselle fruit contains high vitamin C and anti-hypertensives which is commonly used to treat high blood pressure and heart disease. In Thailand, Roselle is also believed to lower cholesterol, is a diuretic, is loaded with antioxidants and, in some instances, is even used to help treat cancer. In other Asian countries, Roselle is used to help promote weight loss and to help with circulation problems. (source:http://voices.yahoo.com/health-benefits-thai-roselle-tea-lower-cholesterol-7484958.html
What I created, is none of the above...:) Well, I had two tough choices between Roselle and Rosebud...and Roselle was selected as a contribution to the month of Friendship & Love. It was decided in one chilly morning... as I came across my long lost friend in town...one of my close friends since kindergarten, who moved to the USA after our secondary school. Funnily enough, she said she was thinking a lot about me but she was too busy making arrangements & preparations for her grandmother's funeral ceremony at the temple and that she was scheduled to leave the next day. So we had a quick yet lovely catch-up, filled with tears of joy. She is now a happy wife and  a good, devoted mom of 3 adorable fruits of love, in the Big Apple. Her nickname is "Jeab", which apparently relates to Roselle (or "Kra-Jeab" in Thai). Sweet story, huh? ;)
Ingredients:
500 g caster sugar
500 ml water
100 g fresh Roselle calyx 
juice of 1-2 lime(s),
1 teaspoon salt
  • Wash fresh Roselle calyx quickly under running tap water. 
  • In a saucepan, bring water to boil, and then add in the calyx.
  • Continue simmer for 10 - 15 minutes or until they are soft. Add in the salt. *The longer you boil it, the more concentrated the liquid will be.
  • Pour the Roselle liquid into sieve to discard the fruits. Then pour the liquid back into the saucepan. Alternatively, use a spoon strainer ladle to separate the fruits from the liquid. Reduce to low heat and gently stir in sugar until it has completely dissolved. Then boil for 2-3 minutes. Stir in lime juice and remove from the heat. Set aside to cool completely.
  • Pour into a plastic freezer box, cover and freeze. Stir every 30 minutes with a whisk during freezing to break up the ice crystals and give a better texture. 
  • Freeze overnight with a layer of plastic wrap over the surface and the lid on the container. Keep in the freezer until ready to serve.
  • Serve with pineapple slices. Decorate with homemade meshed dark chocolate circle, a sprig of wild mint and sifted icing sugar. Enjoy! :-)

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