Cooking with rose water

A flavoured water made by steeping rose petals in water, rosewater has been used as a flavouring for centuries in Middle Eastern, Indian and Chinese cuisines.

A flavoured water made by steeping rose petals in water, rosewater has been used as a flavouring for centuries in Middle Eastern, Indian and Chinese cuisines.

If you’re planning a romantic dinner in on Valentine’s Day, consider the rose.

But go beyond a dozen on the table. Infuse your meal with their scent to create a gastronomic love letter.

The scent of rose is usually associated with jugs of perfumed lotions, prompting many of us avoid it in the kitchen.

It’s too bad that we’ve missed out. Used sparingly, rose can be a subtle addition to desserts, salads, sides, entrées and cocktails. Create dishes with a soft hint of the prized flower by adding no more than a few drops to your recipes.

Made by boiling rose petals in water then capturing and condensing the steam, rose water has roots in the cuisines of the Middle East, China and northern Africa and India. Many of us have tasted its delicate, transformative flavor in the likes of marzipan and Turkish delight. But you don’t have to make your own. Rosewater is inexpensive and easy to find at international food stores and in the specialty sections of some grocers.

Rose water can enhance nearly any milky drink or dessert. Try it in ice cream and pudding. Add a few drops to whipped cream or panna cotta. It’s also a fresh stand-in for vanilla extract in cakes and pastries.

Enhance your fruit preserves with a little rose water or experiment by adding to cocktails and lemonades. Add a touch to a salad made with melons and berries. Or try it at the center of the table, in a classic Indian rice dish or Moroccan lamb stew.

 

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