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Jun 18, 2009 06:26 PM

Karkadeeh or Jamaica? Ingredient at local Mexican market

I recently made the connection that the wonderful iced drink I had in Egypt last summer made from hibiscus flower calyces and called karkadeeh, is one and the same drink as the agua fresca in some Mexican restaurants called jamaica. Evidently this is made around the world under a variety of names. Found the raw ingredient - dried hibiscus flower calyces - at our local Napa Mexican Market called Mi Favorita on Old California Blvd. in bulk yesterday in their produce area. I made up a batch of this ruby colored beauty just in time for the hot day today and am drinking it over ice. Mi Favorita is a nice little shop to peruse - good offering of reasonably priced dried chiles, avocados, key limes, bulk beans, and a variety of other Mexican specialities along with a small meat market. Wade through the "convenience foods" to get to the good stuff.

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  1. Is karkadeeh made just like an agua fresca/

    Mi Favorita Market
    3385 Old California Way, Napa, CA

    4 Replies
    1. re: rworange

      It's made more like a tea - I think the mexican jamaica is made this way too. I simmered/steeped about one-half cup of the dried flowers in about 6 cups of water on the stove top for about 5 minutes, then covered and let sit off the heat for another 20 minutes or so. Next added sugar to taste when it cooled off a bit. Once cool, served over ice. Really refreshing like an agua fresca, but not made like one. It does sit with the other agua frescas at the Mexican places that serve it and they don't seem to differentiate it.

      1. re: vday

        Hibiscus drinks (hot and cold) are also very popular in Jamaica, wonder if that's where the Mexican name comes from?

        1. re: annabana

          Absolutely. In Spanish it is pronounced "ha- mic- a" The Hibiscus flowers were brought over from Jamaica thus the name.