Cooking with Roses
While summer’s denouement may usher in relief or wistfulness, you can celebrate deliciously with a slightly exotic and cooling dish of Rose Petal Pudding. This vegan dessert fits my definition of the ultimate healthy comfort food. I promise it will elicit a chorus of ooohs and aaahs when you serve it to family or friends!
Consuming rose petals may seem exotic to those of us who grew up eating a standard American diet, but these beautiful flowers are a long-standing centerpiece in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines. Rosewater is also a staple in Indian and Middle Eastern sweets, from khir (Indian rice pudding) to Lebanese and Israeli baklava.
Ayurveda lauds cooking with rosewater and rose petals because both of these rose products cool the body’s constitution. In fact, you’ll find people in hot climates spraying rosewater on their faces to help cool themselves in the heat of the day. When you combine rose petals with coconut milk, which is also naturally cooling, this dessert becomes even more appealing for last days of summer. If you love the flavor of cardamom, its slight bit of heat will balance the coconut milk for vata and kapha types.
To ensure a healthy dessert, make sure you purchase organic rose petals unless you grow roses without using pesticides or chemical fertilizers. There is some controversy about whether coconut fat is healthy fat—or not. Ayurveda suggests that coconut products increase kapha, so if you gain weight easily or have kapha symptoms such as a cold or sinus problems, then it’s best to avoid coconut milk for some time. But coconut milk is excellent for pacifying pitta, and it’s good for vata. Finally, I use coconut sugar in this dish because I love the flavor and because it has a much lower glycemic index than granulated white sugar.
I can’t take much credit for the recipe that follows because it was born of my husband’s creativity, his oft-noted sweet tooth, and his love of cool gadgets. He first developed a rose petal ice cream recipe with his Ninja Creami ice cream maker. Since not everyone has an ice cream machine, I adapted his creation to make an equally delicious pudding (which is actually quicker to make and, thus, to get to the eating part). You may decide to try it both ways, like we did last week—a sweet indulgence for sure!
Make this Rose Petal Pudding, and your family will be begging for more!