I am here today with a home-made rose syrup recipe, one that is rather close to my heart, an inextricable part of my summer-time memories.
Like I have said many times on my blog before, the hot days of summer bring back lots of foodie memories for me. Holidays spent at my maternal grandparents’ place in Hyderabad. Sitting amidst a circle of cousins, eating the cool curd rice that my grandmother would place in our mehendi-decked hands. Grandma’s wonderful, wonderful home-made grape squash. Grandpa holding huge, ripe Banganapally mangoes in one hand and expertly cutting them into cubes with his other hand. Eating ice lollies from the streetside carts. Visiting the market to buy the choicest of raw mangoes. Getting raw mangoes cut by the kilos, seed and all, for the neighbourhood Telugu Aunty to turn into a fiery pickle. Small newspaper parcels of chips and the most delicious of onion pakoras that my grandfather would sneak in for me. The gorgeous vattalkozhambu and more kozhambu that grandmom would expertly make for me, with loads and loads of love. Munching on honey loops. Rice flour painstakingly cooked and passed through a press to make sevai for breakfast, for a truckload of people. Rose-scented jangris that my grandmom would have specially prepared for me, by a halwai in the neighbourhood. Bottles and bottles of my aunt’s chilled rose milk that she prepared using her special home-made rose syrup. … the list is endless.
Over the course of several hot afternoons, I learnt from my aunt the technique of making her fragrant rose syrup. Made from sweet-smelling roses, called Panneer Roja in Tamil, this syrup is free of any artificial colours or preservatives. I do add a bit of rose essence to the syrup I make, as the roses available these days don’t seem to have as strong a fragrance as I remember them having, all those years ago. It keeps for a good while, but is best used in a week to 10 days’ time. This home-made rose syrup makes for some awesome, awesome rose milk, of course, and also goes beautifully in lassi, juices, mocktails, falooda, rose milk, cakes, ice creams and other desserts.
Come, now, let’s check out the summer-special home-made rose syrup recipe!
Ingredients (makes about 2 cups):
- 25-30 edible roses (panneer roja)
- 2 cups + 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons grated beetroot
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon rose essence
1. Separate the rose petals from the stem. Discard the stems and transfer the petals to a colander. You should get about 2 tightly-packed cups of rose petals.
2. Wash the rose petals thoroughly under running water, a couple of times. Drain out all the water.
3. Meanwhile, in a pan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Switch off the gas when the water comes to a rolling boil. Add the washed and drained rose petals to the boiled water. Cover the pan and let the petals rest in the water for 8-10 hours or overnight.
4. After 8-10 hours, the rose petals would have released their colour and scent into the water. The petals would have become white. Filter out the rose petals and retain the rose water.
5. Take 1 cup of water in a pan and add the sugar to it. Place the pan on high flame. Add in the grated beetroot. Cook on high heat till the sugar is completely dissolved in the water. Then, reduce flame to medium and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring intermittently.
6. Add the rose water we prepared earlier to the pan. Cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes or till the syrup comes to a rolling boil. Switch off the gas and allow to cool completely.
7. Filter the rose syrup and discard the beetroot. Mix in the rose essence to the syrup.
7. Transfer the rose syrup to a clean, dry, air-tight bottle. Store refrigerated. Use as needed.
1. Use only roses that are meant for culinary purposes.
2. Grow your own roses, buy organic ones or source them from reliable sources, so you are sure they have been grown hygienically and that they haven’t been given generous sprays of pesticide. Make sure they haven’t been sprayed with perfume too – that’s quite a common occurrence!
3. Make sure you wash the rose petals thoroughly before using them to make this syrup.
4. Adjust the quantity of sugar depending upon personal taste preferences.
5. Red food colour can be used in place of the grated beetroot. I prefer not doing so, though.
6. Often, the scent from organically grown or home-grown roses just isn’t strong enough. I therefore add a bit of rose essence to the syrup to balance out the fragrance. You may skip the essence if the roses you are using are fragrant enough.
7. Store the rose syrup in a clean, dry, air-tight bottle after it has fully cooled down. Keep refrigerated when not in use.
8. Make sure you use the syrup in a week to 10 days’ time, for best results. Refrigerated and used hygienically, it stays well for 15-20 days, though.
9. Some people add cloves, cardamom and/or lemon juice to the rose syrup. I haven’t.
Did you like this recipe? Do tell me, in your comments!