Rose: ASG Flavor Profile
Rose as a flavoring for street food has roots tracing to a far and illustrious past. Extant recipes can be found between the Persians, Greeks and Romans. Rose's unique flavor profile, and its hints of natural sweetness, lend itself across a variety of dishes, sweets and drinks. Of course, rose's beautiful and delicate look likewise have beautified tables for millenia.
This use of rose lingers in spice mixes, teas and Turkish Delight. The Victorian Age formalized and curated rose into their gastronomic lexicon. As the rise of the printed page ran in parallel, rose remains, albeit not as prominent as a vanilla, or an almond.
Common descriptions for rose include - delicate, floral, fruity, perfume-like, pine-like and sweet. Its within this palette of flavors that give rose drinks, sweets and entrees a unique profile.
In street food, you'll find rose in many Middle Eastern or Indian offerings. The former infuses rose in many savory spice mixes, like harisa, or harasa, an Arabic blend thought to have originated in Tunisia. Rose is used in jams, and rose water (a by-product of rose essential oils), is said to have its roots from 3 AD. In India, lassi, a mixture of yogurt, water and spice includes rosewater and as popular there as chai tea is internationally. Rose teas in many corners is familiar by its pink hue. Kulfi, a sugared milk with fruits, nuts and spice is quite popular in rose flavor.
At All Streets Gourmand, we've been interested in the savory side of rose. The obvious beauty of the dried petals, in a variety of flavors, can make any meal stand out without being overpowering. Rose will not typically be adverse to the flavor profile you are cooking toward, which makes decoration ideal. As for flavor, we've researched that the delicate flavor is described as floral, sweet, fresh and bready - the rose could be described as a floral 'honey'.
Savory recipes, like this epicurious page have all sorts of recipes for rose - either through rose spice, rose water or rose petals.
For the traditional Moroccan pastry, chebakia, it is not uncommon to use rosewater for flavoring of this sweet and flower-shaped treat.
In Dali Old Town, China - they literally fill pastries with a mixture of rose petals and sugar. Yunnan has an in-depth background on it here
For savory dishes, we enjoy crushed rose in its subtlety, enhancing the peppers, chilies and other hot profiles. Like parsley, which we really like to enhance without altering, rose gives a slight edge in a dish that you cannot find otherwise. If used correctly, like in well established harissa, you may edge out a dish and elevate it. We see rose play more prominently in the future of street dishes and drinks.
Check out ASG's Rose Harissa Chicken Thigh recipe:
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