From dear old Delhi comes the refreshing sharbat "Rooh Afza."
What's a sharbat you ask?
A sharbat is a sweet chilled drink flavored with flowers and fruit. Sharbats were popularized in the Indian Subcontinent by the Mughal empire founder Babur. Babur purportedly had ice sent from the high Himalayas to his court in Delhi expressly to prepare the cool and refreshing drink. To this day, sharbats are traditionally served at Iftar and Rosa during the Muslim celebration of Eid.
Rooh Afza is a brilliant pink syrup which can be used in it's concentrate form to flavor ice cream, lassis, milkshakes, faloodas, sweets, or diluted with water or milk to make a traditional sharbat. Formulated in 1907 by the Unani physician Hakim Abdul Majeed in Delhi of 22 cooling constituents which include kewra, mint, orange, lemon, vetiver, white sandalwood, white waterlily, blue waterlily, watermelon, spinach, endive, coriander, carrots, loofah, purslane, stone flowers, grapes, borage, pineappple, citron, and damask rose. Founded as an Unani herb shop in old Delhi, Hamdard Laboratories continues to make Rooh Afza to this day. There are also factories in Pakistan and Bangladesh.
|The damask roses used in Rooh Afza are grown in Kannauj, Uttar Pradesh.|
What does it taste like?
The bottle I had from Delhi kind of reminded me of grenadine syrup with a damask rose accent. I got the melon, orange, and pineapple with a hint of rose and a trace of sandalwood. It's not harsh or medicinal like some floral syrups can be. I recently bought a bottle from Pakistan that I found at a local store here in Nepal and it was just mild rose and a little kewra. Very disappointing. Because the formula was never patented there are lots of copies and knockoffs on the market.
|A ChaCha (uncle) & Aunty-ji enjoying Rooh Afza with Iftar in an ad for Rooh Afza.|
I need a cutlery tote like ChaCha & Auntyji's too.
Do not buy the Pakistani version of Rooh Afza, it's not the same as the Indian version. Or maybe I got a phony. As the Hamdard Laboratories' Bangladesh website for Rooh Afza states:
Yes, that is EXACTLY what it says. Just click on that link and scroll down to read it. Actually, I kind of think that should be my motto from now on!
Calmly currying on,
An interesting aside:
I have been notified that I have been nominated for the "Best Food Blog" AND "Best New Blog" awards on the nepaliaustralian blog so get on over there and vote for my blog if you choose at:
Be sure to check out all the other amazing blogs in all the different categories and vote for all your favorites!!! Winners will be announced in May.