A staple in Persian and Middle Eastern cuisine, rose buds are popularly used in both savoury and sweet dishes. You wouldn’t miss a jar of dried rose petals or rosebuds when you visit a Persian cook’s pantry. It is important to note, however, that only certain variants of roses and rose buds are edible. Make sure that you stick with pesticide and chemical-free roses and specify that you’re looking for rose buds for cooking purposes. Check out the following recipes to see why you make rose buds a staple in your pantry:
Hot and Iced Rose Tea
With its distinct floral aroma and sweet flavour, infusing rose buds have been known to elevate your mood and relieve stress. Drinking rose tea offers many health benefits that are good for your overall well-being. It is rich in antioxidants which help you fight off free radicals that contribute to diseases.
To make hot rose tea, steep 1 tablespoon of loose cut dried rose buds in 1 cup of hot water for 5 minutes. It is ideal to chop the dried rose buds for the water to extract the flavour easily. To make iced rose tea, roughly chop dried rose buds and add them to a pitcher filled with cold or room temperature water. Cover the pitcher and store it in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours.
Persian Rose Ice Cream
Persian ice cream is popular because of its stretchy texture and soft mouthfeel. To add that unique rose flavour to your ice cream, add rosewater to the mixture of icing sugar and whipped chilled cream. Gently fold the whipped cream infused with rosewater in the vanilla custard and mix thoroughly. Freeze the ice cream mixture for an hour. You can also add sugar-coated fresh rose petals (that have just bloomed) to decorate. Rinse the petals under cold water then make a heavy syrup consisting of 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water and bring to a boil until the syrup thickens. Remove from heat and add 1 tablespoon of rosewater and mix well. Use chopsticks to pick rose petals and coat them in syrup. Dredge them in fine sugar one at a time and air dry on a mesh sieve.
Persian Spiced Rice with Chicken and Green Beans
This Persian rice dish is a simplified version of lubia polo and substitutes chicken for lamb. For layering with the rice and chicken and green beans mixture, mix cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, nutmeg and toasted dried rose petals in a small bowl. Make sure that you don’t burn your rose petals while toasting it in a pan and keep a close eye on it. Once you can smell the aroma, remove the rose petals from the heat. Crush the petals by rubbing between your palms after letting it cool down for a few minutes. Toasting intensifies the aroma and gives dried rose petals its delicious, smoky edge perfect for this spiced rice recipe. To finish it off, layer 1/3 of the rice in a pot, spread a third of the chicken and beans mixture and spice mix respectively. Repeat steps until all the rice, chicken and green beans, and spices are used up.