Sahlab is the name of a popular drink in Lebanon. It was introduced here by the Ottomans who ruled the region for four centuries. That is why one can find it served at cafés in Istanbul as well as in Beirut. It is made by stirring milk with some sugar and a whitish powder (the actual sahlab), which is extracted from a flower and gives the drink its characteristic creaminess and fluffiness; the actual sahlab powder is not sold in the US (to my knowledge) but one can easily find at middle-eastern or mediterranean stores a sahlab mix in a box. The sahlab mix in the US is usually made of cornstarch instead of the real sahlab, as it is cheaper to produce.
To make the drink from a drink, simply follow the directions on the box. To make it from actual sahlab, mix the sahlab with sugar and add to the milk, stirring continuously till the drink thickens and gets very warm, which can take about 20 minutes.
4 cups milk
1 tablespoon sahlab (or cornstarch, use 4 tablespoons)
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon rose water
Cinnamon, ground, as a garnish on top
1. Place the milk in a saucepan and add the sahlab previously mixed with sugar. Stir and bring to a simmer, and keep stirring until thickened. Add the rose water and stir to mix. Transfer to cups and sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve with crackers or kaak.
NOTE: If the quantity of sahlab is not sufficient to thicken the mixture, add more, 1/2 tablespoon or up to one tablespoon. If unable to source the sahlab, substitute cornstarch and double the quantity (4 to 6 tablespoons cornstarch)
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