Sunday, June 5, 2011

Day 137! Burkina Faso - Hibiscus Tea Sorbet - Up Next, Cameroon

Taste of Africa Dish #3 : Hibiscus Tea Sorbet ~ A cooking collaboration with Taste of Africa, which will help more than 20 West African companies connect to buyers across the U.S. in this year's Fancy Food Show in Washington, DC - July 10-12. Funded through USAID's West Africa Trade Hub and Southern Africa Global Competitiveness Hub, the Association Africa Agro-Export and other partners.

Many people know of the hibiscus flower, but few know of the exotic hibiscus flower's edible properties. Sold candied, dried in bulk or as tea, this flower is quite versatile and rich in vitamin C and curative properties. Known as Bissap in West Africa, hibiscus is served hot, cold or sweetened. With very little effort, this dried flower produces a beautiful crimson color and delicate flavor - and, with the addition of sugar, a pinch of salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon and lime, it becomes a delicious, elegant sorbet, perfect for a hot summer day or as the finishing touch to a special meal.

A landlocked country in West Africa, Burkina Faso is surrounded by Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, Ghana and Cote  d'Ivoire. Formerly the Republic of Upper Volta, the country was renamed in 1984, and translates to "land of the upright people" in Moore and Dioula, the county's two major languages. Burkina Faso's climate is largely tropical, with distinctive rainy and dry seasons. The country's regions consist of the dry tropical savanna, the Sahel, and the fertile region to the south. Some of Burkina Faso's natural resources include, but are not limited to:  limestone, marble, phosphates, pumice, salt and some gold.

Cuisine in Burkina Faso is representative of traditional West African cooking and is based around such staple foods as sorghum, millet, rice, maize, peanuts, potatoes, beans, yams and okra. Chicken, eggs, and fresh water fish provide the main source of protein. Export items currently being produced include, dried fruits, dry and roasted sesame seeds and cashew nuts, hibiscus, dried ginger and beeswax.

Hibiscus Tea Sorbet
Ste. Nouvelle Ranch Du Koba BF: Exporter of dried mangoes and banana, sesame, cashew nuts, hibiscus, ginger and bees wax

2 cups water
1 cup unsprayed dried hibiscus flowers
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

Bring water to a boil in a small non-reactive sauce pan.
Stir in hibiscus flowers and remove from heat, then let steep 15 minutes.
Pour hibiscus tea through a fine mesh sieve into a metal bowl, pressing hard on the flowers with a the back of a spoon, then discarding the flowers once pressed.
Return tea to the sauce pan and bring to a boil with sugar and a pinch of salt, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
Transfer mixture to a metal bowl, then set bowl in larger bowl of ice water and stir until cold, 10-15 minutes.
Stir in lemon and lime juices and freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer directions.
Transfer sorbet to an airtight container and freeze to harden, at least 2 hours.
This sorbet is fairly soft due to the high sugar-water ratio.

 (C) 2010-2011, What's Cooking in your World/Sarah Commerford/All Rights Reserved


Traci said...

OMG this looks amazing! My mouth is watering! Would it work with roses and other flowers or herbs also?

sadie said...

Thanks, Traci! I haven't tried to make sorbet with other flowers or herbs, but I'll bet you could! Try it and let me know :) Thanks for visiting!

Anonymous said...

Where can I find dried hibiscus flowers for sale? ...and is it the same a sorrel?

sadie said...

Oooh, I should have included the link...So, many tropical markets have them, under the name of "Jamaica" - but if you can't find them there, they're available at or you can go through Amazon. Let me know if you still can't find them!