Bissap (aka sobolo or zobo) might be the most popular drink in Senegal. It’s the local drink of choice closely tailed by ginger juice and bouye. North of the country during Ramadan in the Fouta region, this refreshment flows from taps when it’s time to break fast. Bissap is a drink made from a variety of dried hibiscus flowers. There is really nothing more simple than making your own bissap. Everyone spices it up in their own little way (mint, pineapple juice, banana essence…).
Here’s a recipe from Fouta:
Wash the dried hibiscus flowers with cold water.
Transfer them to a container filled with water, add some fresh mint leaves and allow the flavour to be infused (overnight or at least for several hours). If time is of the essence, prepare your bissap by putting your dried hibiscus in boiling water for about twenty minutes before letting it cool down. Strain the juice and add sugar to taste.
Add a few drops of banana essence or squeezed lime for a final flourish. Some would even prefer a drop of pineapple juice. One thing is for sure: serve it FRESH!
Deliciousness aside, bissap is also known for its many health benefits. It’s rich in protein, lipids, vitamins C and minerals. It works wonders with stomach issues. Bissap is also used to lower blood pressure. Don’t leave Senegal without stocking up on your own hibiscus flowers from the market and drink your fill!
Translation from french by Sally Vusi. HERE french version