And last month, there was another invite from Deepali, where she assured me of all safety measures, asking me to meet all our friends for a knowledge/experience sharing session. It was a fun meet over good food yesterday.
Deepali has always been an active participant. Within my WhatsApp groups, whenever I shared pictures of the storm cooked up by her, many participants instantly recognised her from ‘Quarantine Cuisine’ (my first e-book). We connected instantly because of the common love for millets and other healthy ingredients. She contributed to my 21 days live cooking campaign with many recipes and the one that has my heart was this drink made with freshly-plucked hibiscus flowers. It was a refreshing mocktail made with natural hibiscus flowers. And like a wonderful student, Deepali was too humble to prepare a millet feast where all dishes were part of the online 6-week millet journey. “I will be really happy if this recipe of hibiscus mocktail could reach maximum people,” Deepali told me.
So here it is: a beautiful and refreshing mocktail recipe by Deepali Batra. It is so simple that all you need is a flowering hibiscus plant and a big heart like hers to surprise your loved ones.
Refreshing hibiscus cocktail
For the concentrate:
- 15-20 hibiscus flowers
- 2 cups water
- 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp honey (or as per taste)
1. Wash and clean the petals of the flowers.
2. Boil these petals in 2 cups of water, till the water reduces to half. Strain it. Allow it to cool.
3. Add lemon juice and honey.
4. Transfer it to a glass jar and you can store it in the refrigerator for a week.
5. This makes a wonderful beverage when mixed with boiled water and an amazing mocktail when mixed with cold water or soda water. Try it and surprise your loved ones.
Health benefits of hibiscus
Mocktail with hibiscus flowers tastes delicious as it has a tart cranberry-like flavour. Consumption of hibiscus lowers blood pressure, reduces blood sugar level and keeps the liver healthy. Hibiscus is also good for hair and skin, is the best remedy for acid reflux, and also aids in weight loss.
Also read the recipe for the salad that many of my participants love to rustle up for their get-togethers.
Colourful millet salad (part of 6 weeks millets journey, week 1)
- 1 cup seasonal millet (soaked overnight and boiled)
- ¼ cup onions finely chopped
- ¼ cup bell peppers finely chopped
- ¼ cup kidney beans
- ¼ cup steamed corns
- ½ cup steamed broccoli
- ¼ cup cherry tomatoes
- Some fresh coriander
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp lemon Juice
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- A pinch of black pepper
- Rock salt to taste
- ½ tsp jaggery powder
1. Prepare the dressing by whisking olive oil, lemon juice, red chili flakes, black pepper, rock salt and jaggery powder.
2. Mix the rest of the ingredients.
3. Pour dressing right before serving.
4. Garnish with more coriander leaves.
5. You can even garnish with chunks of pineapple and pomegranate seeds.
(Shalini Rajani is the founder of Crazy Kadchi and holds innovative Millets Cooking Workshops for all age groups)