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Maldivian Recipes: Sweet Celebrations; Rosy Sarubath from Guraidhoo

It is never a bad time to take a leap of faith and try your hand at a new dish, and in time for Eid this year, The Edition brings its readers beloved and familiar tastes from Maldives and around the region.

04 June 2019, MVT 11:15
Malaafaiy Ep5 - Sweet Celebrations with Rosy Sarubath from Guraidhoo.. VIDEO: HAWWA AMANY ABDULLA / THE EDITION
04 June 2019, MVT 11:15

‘Eidu aiee lava kiyamun, 
Maa malugaa, nala kula jassamun!”

(Loosely translates as '
Eid arrived, bursting in song, 
flowers awash in vibrant colour')

For years now, these lyrics evoked such nostalgia among Maldivians, tying the seasonal festivities with the brilliance of the flora and cheery melodies alike

How fitting then, to enjoy a glass of profusely pink ‘Sarubath’ with its floral notes, marking the occasion and truly sate one’s sweet tooth.

All we want for Eid is - A tall glass of pink Sarubath! PHOTO: HAWWA AMAANY ABDULLA / THE EDITION

The name, most certainly a mispronunciation of Sherbet, akin to its origin is a sweet, flavoured drink made from diluting a thick syrup. The recipe is known across all regions of Maldives, tracing its origins to India and Sri Lanka, but arguably first popularized by the central atolls.

Yes, this is most certainly not a refreshment intended for the faint-hearted - or the diabetic-ally inclined!

However, if the occasional decadent indulgence is just what you’re looking for, then a chilled pitcher of ’Sarubath’ on a tropical beach might be just the holiday mood you need.

Straining the 'blushing' syrup. PHOTO: HAWWA AMAANY ABDULLA / THE EDITION

The drink is a treat all on its own, but more interestingly, serves as a base for the wonderful ‘Faloodhaa’. So, if you should fancy a try, perhaps add a handful of soaked (and drained) basil seeds or chia seeds along with strawberry jello (or rose jello) chopped into miniature cubes to the drink, and top it all of with a scoop of your favourite vanilla ice-cream.


Preparation time: 30-40 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes


For the Syrup:

5 cups Sugar

1 Litre Water

To concoct the 'Sarubath':

110 ML Banana Essence

2 tablespoons Rose Essence

3 tablespoons of pink food colouring (liquid works best!) 

Condensed Milk to taste


* These measurements should make about 1.5 Litres, so mix equal parts sugar and water for syrup, and you may adjust the remaining flavouring/colouring additives to preference.


Boil the sugar and water until it becomes a thick, viscous liquid.

Take off heat and cool the mixture.

Add rose syrup, food colouring, vanilla essence.

The 'Sarubath' syrup base is now ready.

Just add condensed milk, right before serving.

Two teaspoons of condensed milk and approximately 1/5 glass of syrup, topped off with water is the recommended serving.

Adjust to taste. 

Garnish with Maldivian rose petals (optional but admittedly, very pretty).

Serve immediately. 

Makes about 20 glasses - calls for a party!

Feeling spontaneous?

Here’s the Faloodha variant: 

If desired, add a small handful of presoaked (1 hour) basil seeds, a similar amount of pre-prepared and set rose or strawberry jelly cut into 1-1.5 cm cubes. Some people like to swap rose essence with vanilla, and replace half of the liquid in the syrup to rose, to shake things up a bit more.

Top off with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream and a drizzle of the flavoured syrup.

Hot Tip: There's a lot of variations that can be incorporated into this recipe, like foregoing banana essence entirely and topping off with coconut ice cream for a more tropical vibe! There's no set way to make this drink and it is definitely not recommended for faint hearted (or sugar sensitive types) - the key is to have fun with it. On that note, for a somewhat Dumbedore-inspired twist, perhaps try using lemon essence for the syrup and top off your drink with fizzy water instead!

This Eid, have a sip of this pink drink and let your taste buds take a little sensory trip right back to your childhood and wonderful memories of colourful celebrations!

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