I was waiting at the Fujairah Hilton yesterday and I was served my first taste of karkady.
Mohammed at the desk is from Egypt and he told me that karkady/karkdhi is a very popular beverage in his country.
It is made from dried, dark red petals of the Hibicus flower and according to Mary Kay Radnich, the best karkady comes from Upper Egypt. Tourists are encouraged to bring home their petals from Aswan or Luxor.
Mary Kay Radnich’s Recipe from the above link:
1 cup hibiscus petals
2 cups sugar
Pick over the dried petals, removing any stems or leaves. Soak the hibiscus petals in cold water to cover for 1-2 hours. Transfer the petals and water to a pot and bring to a boil. Remove the pot immediately and strain the liquid through filter paper. Return the petals to the pot, add fresh cold water to cover, and repeat as above. Repeat the process until the karkady loses its reddish hue. Then, discard the petals and sweeten the juice while it is still hot. Serve cold, although it is a pleasant drink when served warm in the wintertime.
She says: “It is possible to purchase hibiscus tea bags from other lands as a substitute, but the intensity of flavor will not be the same.”
Mohammed says that Fujairah residents can buy these petals from the Lulu Hypermarket in the dried fruit and nuts section.
Cheers! What a refreshing drink for any time of the day.
Dr Geoff Pound
Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at)gmail.com on Facebook and Twitter.
Image: A half-drained glass of karkady at the Fujairah Hilton.