Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Gulkand and Rose Sherbet/Cordial

Gulkand or candied rose preserve tastes like a hint of romance on a spoon the kind that makes up Keats and Wordsworth Poetry too heady sweet and delightful. I like it in a Paan (wrapped betel leaf) no not the ugly kind of images associated with addictive pans but the kind befitting elegant dinners taken out of a silver filigreed and ornate pandaan(betel leaf box)containing betel nut, cardamom, cloves, gulkand, rolled up in a silver foil and pinned with a glaced cherry.It tastes yummy and it is supposed to aid digestion.Well, my husband tells me that his grandmother almost always treated stuffy noses and simple colds with a paan containing all of the above ingredents and a dash of peppermint crystals.One peppermint paan at bedtime and the cold cleared up by morning.

Dried Roses are an integral part of Nizami, Mughlai and Avadhi cooking.Dried roses are used in Nihari, Paya,desserts and drinks in addition to Paan.The Persian spice powder advieh always contains dried rose petals.I cannot resist the urge of buying a box of organic dried roses and I use them a lot in my cooking.There is a special rose petal and nuts chikki (brittle) that is easy to make just add toasted rose petals.The rose petal preserve is good eaten on it's own and helps to impart a radiance to your complexion  Both the ancient traditions of  Ayurveda and Unani medicine extoll the health benefits of roses.You can add it to an almond and raisin smoothie or stuff it in gulab jamun for a fanciful dessert.Be creative in the kitchen with a handful of dried roses but always ensure to buy organic edible rose petals.Use a few rose petals to prep up your garam masala powder.

I cup rose petals/buds
1 cup sugar
1.5 cup water
1/4 cup rose water
a few walnuts crushed coarsely
a pinch of edible pink -red color(optional)

Clean the roses remove the sepals and stems or use only the petals put them in a wide pan on slow flame keep stirring with a wooden spatula and let the petals turn a little crisp but be careful not to scorch the petals.Discard the petals that have a pale yellow or white tinge to them Remove from the fire and let them cool.Meanwhile, heat the water and when it begins to boil add the sugar and let it cook until it is reduced by half its original quantity and has a good consistency.Now add the rose petals and rose water and cook further till it achieves a thick consistencyNow add the walnut pieces and mix well and then take it off the stove allow it to develop a flavor.Cool and preserve in a sterilized jar.I added a pinch of color to enhance its appearance for the picture but this is optional and without the color it is a little reddish brown in appearance.

Rose petal Sherbet

A summery drink that helps cool off the heat and great to carry for a picnic.In the picture I have used the Pandora sterling silver charms as background for my photo.If you come to Dubai just don't leave before buying some trust me they are beautiful and add a touch of glamour to your bangles and bracelets.

2 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 tsp rose water
2 tbs rose syrup
Juice of one lemon
1 cup organic rose petals
Ice cold sparkling or still water
crushed ice

Combine water and sugar and let it simmer on low heat until sugar dissolves completely.Now turn on the heat and let it boil for a further ten minutes.Take it off the stove and cool.when the syrup has cooled down add the rose water, rose syrup, lemon juice and rose petals.Stir well and keep refrigerated ina clean bottle.
To serve, add 3 tbs of the rose sherbet in a glass top it up with sparkling water, crushed ice and serve.

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