Mexico City is one of our favorite foodie destinations and also happens to be one of the easiest international cities to reach from the US. It’s a city rich in history and culture and with a real passion for their food. The food culture is driven by fresh, vibrant, local ingredients – a far cry from the insipid and drab Mexican food I (and I believe most of us in the US and abroad) grew up with.
One of the beautiful sites capturing the essence of this vibrant culture and cuisine is the Riviera Maya (Mexico) based Spicie Foodie blog from Mexican food writer Nancy Lopez-McHugh. We’re delighted to have Nancy joining us here at Vegan Miam to share a lovely example of the simple, fresh, delicious flavors of Mexican cuisine.
Just as the name Spicie Foodie suggests, Nancy has a passion for spicy food. Along with crafting healthy Mexican dishes she also draws inspiration from her travels to develop recipes. Nancy is not a vegan but she enjoys spicing up her kitchen with vegan-friendly recipes. Nancy is also a featured columnist for Honest Cooking, where her series Mexico on my Plate focuses on the cuisine of the Mexico.
Nancy is sharing her recipe for Agua de Jamaica just in time for summer. This refreshing agua fresca of hibiscus, known as jamaica in Mexico, brings back fond memories of one of our favorite dishes in Mexico City – Enchiladas de Jamaica Orgánica from Azul Condesa. I, for one, look forward to a long summer of cooking outside with some Agua de Jamaica in my hand!
Hello beautiful Vegan Miam readers! My name is Nancy (aka Spice Foodie) and it’s such a pleasure to be here with you today. A big thank you to Rika for inviting me to share a recipe with you all.
I do not call myself a vegan, but I can wholeheartedly tell you that vegan foods are among my most favourite things to eat. My husband and I try to enjoy vegan and vegetarian meals as often as possible. Sometimes when I’m craving a vegan meal I stop by to see what scrumptious treat Rika has shared with us. She’s a great source and inspiration for anyone looking for beautiful and delectable vegan recipes.
Today I would like to share with you a recipe for one of my favourite Mexican drinks that I think would pair wonderfully with so many of Rika’s recipes. In Mexico we call this agua de jamaica, which translates to hibiscus water. Basically, it’s as a tea made by steeping dried hibiscus flowers in hot water. The gorgeous tropical flowers create a deep burgundy coloured drink that is sweetened with either sugar or agave nectar. The taste is a little tart, a tad sweet, and it always hits the spot.
Though you could serve agua de jamaica hot, it is best when served in a tall glass with many ice cubes. You all know how hot the temperatures can get here in Mexico. In fact, where I live here in the Riviera Maya it isn’t technically summer yet but our temperature are already scorching. Needless to say, a big ice-cold pitcher of jamaica is a great way to beat this heat. This drink is delicious that it can actually be enjoyed all year round, simply adjust the ice cube amount.
Dried hibiscus flowers can be purchased in any Mexican food market or in the Latin food section of your grocery store —if you can’t find it there try Amazon.com. The process is quite easy and I promise you’re going to love the taste and colour. Lastly, if you have any agua de jamaica leftover you can make popsicles with it. As we say in Mexico, ¡Buen provecho!, or enjoy!
Nancy’s Mexican Hibiscus Tea (Agua de Jamaica)
Yield: 10 cups or 2.3 litres
- 100 grams or 3.53 oz dried hibiscus flowers (called flor de jamaica in Spanish)
- 10 cups or 2.37 litres filtered water
- ⅓ cup agave nectar or sugar or sweetener of choice, adjust to taste
- the juice of one small lime (optional)
Pour the water into a large pot and cover. Bring the water to a boil, once it reaches a rolling boil add the sweetener and the dried hibiscus flowers. Cover and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave to steep for 20 minutes.
Strain the tea into a large pitcher, and allow to come to room temperature. Once it’s cooled place in the refrigerator to continue to cool, or serve over a glass filled with ice cubes. The tea should have a little bit of tartness but not be sour, adjust the sweetener to your liking.
About Spicie Foodie
Nancy Lopez-McHugh is a professional freelance food writer, photographer, and all around spicy food aficionado with more than 5 years food blogging experience via her popular Spicie Foodie site. She is the author of two books, An Epiphany of the Senses, an eclectic collection of spicy recipes from around the world, and Yummy Pics, a popular how-to guidebook to the art of photographing food.