Blood Red Hibiscus is the perfect meat replacement this season!

I love farmers markets. I can always find some interesting unique produce. I get to interact with the growers. I get to walk around and be inspired. Well since the pandemic started, I have not been going at all. Before all this craziness I would go twice a week.

Recently my husband and I went to one of my favorite farmers markets, for the first time in months. It was nice to see all the fresh produce and baked breads. I was lucky enough to find some fresh hibiscus roselles.

In Arizona this is the season they are harvested, and I always look forward to buying some. The bright blood red color is PERFECT for this time of year. When you remove the seeds like I do, you can cook them so they retain most of their beautiful shape too.

You can also peel the petals off, if you don’t want to do the extra work of popping the seed out. Not going to lie, it’s a bit of a chore, but I really think it’s worth it.

Hibiscus tacos are pretty popular here, but those are usually made with the dried flowers. Also tastes amazing, but the cooking method is a bit different. If enough people request it, I’ll post about how to use the dried flowers too.

Either way you get a really great meat alternative!

After I got home with the hibiscus, I knew I wanted to season this batch similar to a Puerto Rican mojo. Traditional mojo is made with Naranja Agria (sour orange) juice. Outside of that, the recipe will vary from family to family, town to town, island to island. But the essential components are the sour juice, garlic, and olive oil. In my family we also use oregano, salt, and black pepper. Sometimes cumin, though I didn’t use it this time.

Since hibiscus has a pretty tart/sour flavor, I decided to forego the naranja agria, and just let the sourness of the roselles play that part.

Now let’s discuss the removals of the seeds. I use a hard plastic funnel and press the bottom of the roselle against the pointy part of the funnel. This pushes the large seed up through the middle, while leaving the hibiscus intact, with a hole at the bottom. You can see me removing a seed at the beginning of the quick video below.

After it was all cooked, I served it on some toast. As you can see in the pictures. There is a video of me assembling the toast on my Instagram, Tiktok, and Pinterest. All the components are roasted eggplant, hibiscus, cucumber, capers.

Now let’s get to the recipe!

Hibiscus Mojo

  • 75g Hibiscus Roselles (weighed after seeds removed)
  • 1/2 medium Onion minced
  • 4 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Water
  1. Remove the seeds from the hibiscus as described above and set aside.
  2. In a pot heat the olive oil.
  3. Sauté the minced garlic and onion.
  4. Add the black pepper, salt, oregano, and mix.
  5. Now add the hibiscus and just enough water to cover the bottom.
  6. Simmer till it becomes thick. Stirring occasionally.
  7. Serve & enjoy!
  • If you want to maintain the shapes, try to be very gentle when mixing.
  • 75g is the amount I had after the seeds were removed. You can totally use more.
  • As always, feel free to adjust the seasonings. Try adding something else. Let your ancestors guide you to some new flavor combination.
Joseph Cuevas

thoughtful bear Joseph Cuevas

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