Recipe: bissap

Ready to say goodbye to the summer heat? Well, maybe we can’t say goodbye quite yet, but that gives us an excuse to pull out this recipe for bissap, or hibiscus tea.

I first fell in love with this drink in Mexico where it came under the label “jamaica.” Now in Spain, the recipe has a bit of an African flair. Do you have access to dried hibiscus? Have you even looked for it? This recipe will make it worth your while…

Note: Bissap is meant to be a powerful burst of flavor, but you can water it down to taste.

  • 50 g (about 1 c.) dried red bissap (hibiscus)
  • 1 1/2 liter or quarts of water (Some will evaporate and you’ll end up with a little more than 1 liter)
  • 125 g (heaping 1/2 c.) sugar
  • 1 8g packet of vanilla sugar
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp. orange blossom water (Orange blossom water adds a distinct taste. If you’re not sure you’ll like it, start with 1/2 tsp. or mix with fresh squeezed orange juice instead.)

Rinse bissap flowers in cold water and drain. Bring water to a boil then add flowers. Cover and boil for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and steep for another 10 minutes. Stir in sugar and vanilla sugar. When cooled, strain and add orange blossom water. Serve chilled.

Recipe: chai

Looking for a warm drink to carry you through winter? This is still one of my favorite drink recipes, although it’s more American than Asian. (I am still learning how to make the real stuff.)

sieve with chai and cardamom seeds
  • 2 c. water
  • 2 chai or black tea bags , or 2 Tbsp. (4 g) if using loose leaf tea
  • 1 cinnamon stick (or 1/4 tsp. ground)
  • 6 cardamom seeds, crushed (or 1/2 tsp. ground)
  • 1 whole clove (or 1/8 tsp. ground)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 1⁄2 c. milk
  • 1/4 – 1/3 c. (50-67 g) sugar

Combine everything except milk and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in milk, return to a boil for 1 minute. Stir in sugar (to taste) and strain before serving. Garnish with whipped cream, if desired.