Red Hibiscus Stew/ Saaru

Hibiscus or Shoe flower is a group of flowering plants in the family mallows. The genus is very large having thousands of varieties of ornamental flower. These plants are best suited for tropical gardens as they call for warmer weather to grow.
I knew it as only show flower in gardens & its usage in poojas until a friend introduced the recipe of hibiscus juice to me. Still I could not prepare it due to various reasons. Recently, I came to know the health benefits of using hibiscus as food from my co-sister. She was consuming tea of it on regular basis in order to maintain haemoglobin level and it helped as well. It is not only healthy but has attractive color.
I also, heard from a neighbour that it makes a good remedy for constipation if consumed uncooked form as salad. 
I tried preparing the saaru/ rasam of red hibiscus at native place this summer vacation and it turned out to be very tasty. So please try this cooling saaru as a good combination with rice and veg fry.

Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 5 minutes
Serves - 2
Hibiscus flowers – 6-8, I used 5 petals red variety
Tamarind – ½ tsp
Jaggery – 1 tsp
Salt – to taste
Red chilli powder – ½ tsp
Turmeric powder – a pinch
Green chilli – 1 (optional)
Mustard – ½ tsp
Oil – 1 tsp, I prefer coconut oil
Garlic flakes – 4-6 (optional)
Curry leaves – 1 sprig


  • Pick fresh hibiscus flowers which are free of bugs and wash clean in running water.  Remove stem & green part associated with it. Remove stigma as well in order to avoid any minute insect. Keep the cleaned petals aside.
  • Chop above obtained flower petals roughly and keep aside.
  • In a vessel, take 2 cups of water. Add tamarind extract (soaked in water), jaggery, slit green chilli and bring to boil.
  • Add chopped flowers, salt, turmeric powder, chilli powder and boil well.
  • Switch off the stove.
  • Prepare regular seasoning (tadka) of mustard, crushed garlic in coconut oil. On spluttering add curry leaves too and season the rasam with it.
  • Enjoy with hot rice, veg fry and a spoon of ghee or drink as soup.

  1. It serves the daily requirement of iron, but it may worsen the case if the consumer is suffering from cold or prone to catch cold!
  2. It is better to avoid the intake of hibiscus if pregnant as it may cause adverse effect.