When it comes to summer drinks, Rooh Afza is a class apart. Stir it in with lemonades, milkshakes and lassis or drizzle it on ice creams, kulfis and faloodas. Blame it on its dark pink hue, signature rose flavour and fragrance, kitschy packaging or its catchy Rooh…Rooh…Rooh Afza jingle. In most homes the arrival of a bottle of Rooh Afza means the arrival of summer.
This year is a very different Rooh Afza-drinking season from any we’ve
had in the past. But that doesn’t mean that we should write the drink off for
the springtime. We would argue that RoohAfza is exactly what we all need right
now, because it’s such a beautiful, delicious reminder that sunny days
absolutely do lie ahead. Take for instance Neelam Agarwal, a Bengaluru-based IT
professional, who has lately been finding solace in enjoying that bottle of
Rooh Afza at home.
If there’s anyone doing their summer quarantine right, Agarwal gets our vote. So far, she’s come up with 27 different ways to get more life out of her Rooh Afza bottle. “Quarantine has left me with enough time to cook, share recipes, and experiment with new and old ingredients and ideas, which led me to find joy in the flavours of RoohAfza and since then I’ve been mixing it around and discovering,” she says.
So far Agarwal has managed sneaking the
goodness of RoofAfza into her curd rasgulla, mawa bati, baked
yogurt, idiappam, churma bati, manda pitha, malpua,
firni and basundi. And plans to come up with more such non-traditional
ways of using up the rose syrup.
After asking around—home cooks, food bloggers and quarantine chefs—here are five RoohAfza recipes that we’re currently drooling over:
RoohAfza flavoured Haryanvi Churma Laddoo
Agarwal’s Haryanvi churma laddoo is made using six ingredients, probably lying around in our pantry, these laddoos are perfect for in-between snacking without any guilt. “I realised that the flavour of Rooh Afza goes very well with desserts, especially Indian mithais, as it gives them an amazing colour, aroma as well as flavour,” Agarwal says.
2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup ghee + 1/4 cup ghee
1/4 cup RoohAfza
Water, as required
1/2 cup ghee
1/4 cup Rooh Afza
1/4 cup regular sugar
1 tsp cardamom powder
1. To make the parathas, start by mixing the flour, one part of ghee and RoohAfza.
2. Add water and knead into a semi-stiff dough. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes before rolling into parathas. Roast these parathas on a hot griddle using rest of the ghee.
3. When hot, crush the parathas in mixture grinder. To that, add all the remaining ingredients and using the palms of your hands, roll into laddus.
4. Garnish with silver foil and serve with rabdi.
Bottles of RoohAfza are always a mainstay at Chennai-based Madhumita Ramachandran’s home. “My husband is a big RoohAfza fan,” she tells us. Often left with half-empty bottles lying for months at the back of her fridge was inspiration enough for her to start using the syrup as a secret ingredient in other recipes. That’s where the idea for a RoohAfza cake came from, she tells us. “Since the colour, when mixed with milk, reminded me of the rose milk that I grew up on, I decided to add a dash of this rosy syrup to the cake too.” This tried-and-tested recipe, she tells us, is always a hit on her table, especially around Diwali:
1 and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp each of baking powder and baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup unsweetened soy milk (or any other milk)
1 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp rose water
1 tbsp Rooh Afza (or as per taste)
Chopped nuts (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 180⁰C. Grease a baking tray and set aside.
2. In a large bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients.
3. In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.
4. Gradually pour the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix everything well until properly incorporated.
5. Pour the batter on to the greased baking dish, top with chopped nuts, if using and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
RoohAfza Chia Seed Pudding
Anamika Sharma’s fondest summer memories are that of her and her younger brother gulping down tall glasses of RoohAfza-flavoured kacchi lassi that their dad would help distribute on hot afternoons as part of community service. Even summers at her naani’s place meant being pampered with glasses of RoohAfza soda milk. No wonder why, to her, RoohAfza is not just a drink, but an emotion. Now as she spends her summers away from home in Singapore, reminiscing over these good ol’ memories, she decided to relive them by mixing things up a bit. Her experiments have led her to a rose-flavoured chia seed pudding and chia-oats-rose popsicles. She now intends to use up the rest of the RoohAfza bottle to whip up kheer and phirni, she tells us.
1 cup milk (use non-dairy milk for a vegan version)
2 cups water
3/4 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup RoohAfza (or as per taste)
1/2 tsp rose water
1 tbsp Gulkand (sweet rose petals preserve)
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
Edible dried rose petals and pistachios, for garnish
1. In a mixing bowl mix the chia seeds, RoohAfza, water, milk and also add in cardamom powder, Gulkand and rose water.
2. Cover it and keep it into the fridge to thicken. I prefer keeping it overnight and use it the next morning.
3. Just before serving, adjust the consistency of the pudding as per your taste by adding little more water or milk if needed.
4. Serve it chilled in small serving bowls or glasses, top the pudding with dried edible rose petals and sliced pistachios
With a three-year-old kid now full-time at home, lockdown has been all about making cooking fun and colourful for Delhi-based mommy Divya Malhotra. Reason why she decided to play with RoohAfza, and add a pop of colour to her childhood fave jalebis. “I remember my mom making kulfi and serving it with a not-so common pairing of jalebi instead of rabri and I decided to relive that food nostalgia by recreating her recipe,” she says. You can check out her recipe here:
Rooh Afza ice cream
For Nisha Garg, RoohAfza has been a summertime constant since childhood. Her love for the rosy sherbet led her on to experiment further and come up with her own unique creations ranging from ice creams to drinks. However, her RoohAfza-flavoured icecream is her fave. "It's a subtle twist on the homemade ice cream my Mami used to treat me with when I was 12 years old," she says. Taking her Mami's khoya and elaichi flavoured ice cream, she's given the summer delight a rosy twist:
1/2 cup malai (cream)
a few basil leaves
2 elaichi pods, crushed
2 tbsp sugar or 1 sachet stevia
10 ml rose water
4 tbsps Hamdard Rooh Afza
1 fresh rose petals (edible)
1. Boil the milk in a hollow pan and once it starts boiling, reduce the flame and let it simmer. Keep stirring it at intervals until it reduces into half its quantity.
2. Next, add in the elaichi, malai, basil leaves, sugar and rose water.
3. Keep stirring and let it get a little thicker.
4. When the milk reaches a thick consistency as much as a pudding, switch off the flame.
5. Let the mixture cool for a while.
6. After the mixture comes to room temperature, add in the Roohafza and chopped rose petals.
7. Mix it well and add in the moulds you want to freeze the ice cream in. You can also use ice-trays for this.
8. Deep freeze for about 4-6 hours or overnight. Serve when done,
Rooh Afza ice cream
Dalgona RoohAfza 1 tablespoon of Rooh Afza with 4 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream. Mix it until your arm is numb and serve over cold or hot milk.
For New York-based Sufi Malik, Ramzan under quarantine has been a balance of both fasting and feasting. Thanks to bae Anjali Chakra who has been whipping up delicious meals to help Malik break her fast with. Latest, being the Dalgona RoohAfza, a drink inspired from the Dalgona coffee trend. Made using three ingredients – whipping cream, milk and of course Rooh Afza, Chakra shows you how you can get onboard the Dalgona trend. All you've got to do is mix
1 tablespoon of Rooh Afza with 4 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream. Mix it until your arm is numb and serve over cold or hot milk.
Lead image: Anamika Sharma (Instagram: @veggiewok)