Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Recipe request: Agua de Jamaica

When Mom-in-Law Ilana was visiting, we braised a pork shoulder with tomatillos and made yummy tacos with all the fixings. To drink, we brewed a Mexican tea, agua de Jamaica -- a strong infusion of hibiscus calices with a brilliant magenta color. It has a light, tart, tangy, yet earthy, flavor that makes a really refreshing iced tea.

Ilana asked for the recipe, so I'm sharing it here. You can find the hibiscus "flowers" in large cellophane bags sold in the spice sections of Latin grocery stores and with the Mexican ingredients in other supermarkets. Look for the label "flor de jamiaca."

To make the tea: Add 1/2 cup sugar and 8 cups water to a non-reactive pot. Stir to dissolve sugar. Bring to a boil. Add 2 cups of the hibiscus calices. Return to a boil and stir for one minute. Cover and remove from heat to steep from one to two hours. Strain the tea into a pitcher or jars, squeezing the remaining liquid from the "flowers." Serve as a strong tea over ice or dilute by half for a lovely lighter tea.

Worth noting: Hibiscus is a mild diuretic and is high in vitamin C.