Continuing on the weekend walks, this weekend entailed a lovely trip to Labagh. The ever famous gardens of Bangalore, lush and abundant with history and greenery, are always a delight to the senses. And this time, apart from the hilltop temple, the placid water-bodies, many varieties of birds and monkeys , one also had the chance to spot some very interesting varieties of roses. Red, blue, violet roses and many more, a garden well worth the visit.
But, the one to catch my attention, was the very fragrant and delicate, full-bodied pink rose (the gulabi one ) a species rarely seen in the neighborhood gardens. With a fragrance so powerful that it came across effortlessly, in whiffs with the breeze, every now and then. It is the variety of rose that is used, very innovatively, to make Gulkand and rose water. Rose water – a concoction made with gulabi rose petals, a refreshing, cooling mix of water and roses, usually splashed on the face.
And the Gulkand- A sticky blend of rose petals crushed and pounded with grains of sugar, to make a delectable sweet. Rarely have I come across sweets made of flower petals, except for the chocolate factory in Nice that had some unusual flower- filled chocolates. It is no surprise that the common Indian Gulkand (or the rose petal concoction), one of the most innovative ways of using flowers in food, originated in India, the country with perhaps the longest standing history of innovation in food . The best part – it is exotic, but not so much that you can’t buy it in the local shop. The best way to taste it though, is not on its own- it needs to be wrapped up in a pan (a betel –nut- leaf) and mixed with even more exotic combinations of fennel seeds, coconut shreds, betel nuts and coriander seeds. I say – a must for any connossieur.
But, for the other not- so- adventurous souls, who just want a flavor, there is a rather simple, must-try recipe. A generous dollop of vanilla ice-cream or plain yoghurt, and a spoonful of rose- petal mix, nicely churned, or stirred, and devoured slowly, while the tastebuds burst into rapture, can only be described as “sheer heaven”. A mix not to be missed, so what if it does not have a name? “A rose by any other name….”, or “ a heavenly no- name innovation” indeed!