A wonderful new product just hit the shelves around here.
Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup can be found in a local liquor store. No, they are not alcoholic, they are displayed as an accompaniment to drinks, desserts and salads. Funny thing about this, as Jilly was given an hibiscus rootling by a neighbour one time and the plant grew to a tree in the living room, and with lots of sunshine and water, poured out a huge profusion of blossoms for months. Had we only known they might have become of commercial value – ha!
Hibiscus flowers have no scent, and really don’t last very long, but are so pretty and delicate to behold, and can come in a wide variety of colours. Now, the interesting back story to this is that one day Jilly found an hibiscus in a discount store and while heading to her car, happened to get into a conversation with a young gentleman who saw the plant and commented that they grew in his home country, the Philippines. And thus, Jilly learned the Philippino word for an hibiscus, which is gumamela.
Now, the beautiful hibiscus is found to be adorning simple drinks, like adding it to a glass of champagne, or more complex recipes, like adding it to cheesecake recipes – or, even better yet, what might happen in the kitchen over the weekend here, with some guests coming over to Jilly’s kitchen, is to create a simple but very attractive & creative grilled chicken with hibiscus skewer, as follows:
1 jar ~ 8 oz Wild Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup
1 Tbsp or so of grated ginger
1 tsp hot sauce of your choice
3 green onions/scallions, trimmed and cut into 4 pieces
2-4 chicken breasts cut into ~ 1″ pieces, depending on your guest number
olive oil as needed
salt and pepper
bit of honey
Metal or wood/bamboo skewers (4)
Drain the hibiscus flowers, reserving the syrup in a small bowl.
Make the dipping sauce: Mix the ginger, honey and the hot sauce into the reserved syrup.
Trim and cut the green onions into 4 pieces.
Thread each skewer as follows:
2 pieces of chicken, a piece of green onion, an hibiscus flower, then 2 more pieces of chicken. Repeat for each skewer. Lightly brush the skewer with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and minced garlic. Add any favourite vegetables you might like to this skewer, such as red onion, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, or whatever your preference.
Pre-heat an indoor grill or outdoor BBQ and cook skewers until chicken is cooked thoroughly, about 4-5 mins each side. Drizzle skewers with additional sauce and then serve warm. Add a salad with a variety of Japanese vegetables, such as Daikon and cucumber with a sake dressing.
From Jilly’s kitchen to yours - Enjoy!