Hot milk beverage (Sahlab)

December 11, 2009  •  Category: ,


When the weather changes and you feel the need for a warm and soothing beverage, sahlab is the answer! It is named after the salep, a powder extracted from orchids and harvested mainly in Turkey. I have not been able to find it in middle-eastern stores or even online and I even read somewhere that the Turkish government is banning it from export because it is getting very rare. I will find out soon when in Istanbul. So the alternative is to prepare it with a mix, which is available at all the middle-eastern stores under different brands. Super easy, just follow the package directions. Serve with a dusting of cinnamon and some nuts.

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NOTE: Sahlab or salep is also used as a thickener for ice-cream, making kind of chewy.

In following package directions, you can decrease the amount of milk to make it more like a pudding than a thick drink. As a beverage, sahlab is similar to a milk shake in consistency.


18 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. Angie@Angie's Recipe says:

    It looks like a pudding to me…and yep, definitely wonderful to have one in a cold rainy day!

  2. Rosa says:

    A gorgeous speciality! Very nourishing, I’m sure.



  3. SE(Denufood) says:

    Warm, soothing and delicious !!! Would need all of this in the cold winters..

  4. shayma says:

    real comfort food, joumana. btw i adore this terracotta dish, is it from Lebanon?

  5. Azita says:

    It looks soothing, delicious and lovely to me!

  6. Ivy says:

    Joumana although they sell salepi in Greece, I have never tasted it before, as you can get it only from street vendors, which are in any case very rare to find. The sahlab pudding sounds great.

  7. delices eyes says:

    Cette boisson m’a l’air délicieuse, je ne connaissais pas.
    Bonne journée

  8. Mona says:

    Sahlab is my favourite beverage and I wish I could prepare it at home.
    Thanks Joumana for sharing this nice post.

  9. Doria says:

    Une boisson chaude que tu me fais découvrir !
    Bisous, Doria

  10. Asmaa says:

    une belle découverte pour moi aussi, merci.

  11. tobias cooks! says:

    I love the cinnamon on top. Now that it is getting cold, even here, thats the right drink!

  12. cmiranda says:

    I’ve always had the curiosity to try this drink , maybe I should pre pare it before the sahlab becomes even harder to find.

  13. Kylie says:

    Hello there,

    I just discovered your blog and enjoy reading each and every post. This is the first one I felt the need to make a point.

    Finding elsewhere is between hard and impossible because supply is barely enough for local demand as mountain orchid is a very rare plant anyways. Before relating ability of finding salep in the US I wish an intelligent looking blogger like you reached the independent sources through internet and publish your findings. Also one of our posts inluded a picture for a desert with salep ice-cream that served in Beirut restaurant. Since Lebanon is also a producer and doesn’t export salep either can we say “Lebanese Govt doesn’t allow” ? Probably not.

    The point I would like to make is ” please a bit more sensitivity before posting something could be somewhat offensive”.

    • Joumana says:

      @Kylie: I am dumbfounded here as I am trying to understand where I was being offensive. I may be misinformed. I actually found salep in Istanbul at the Spice Bazaar and I also found it in Beirut at Goodie’s supermarket. When I asked at Goodie’s where the salep came from they said Turkey. Again, I was simply saying ” I had read it somewhere”. So I am misinformed and if I offended you, my sincerest apologies.

  14. Lanette says:

    At last! Someone who understands! Thanks for psnotig!

  15. Kay says:

    Most Sahlab in Lebanon comes from Turkey via Syria, but Lebanon does produce some, especially in the Akkar region.

    In Tripoli souks, particularly ‘Souk el Attarin’ which roughly translates to ‘Spice Market’ you can get loads of Sahlab for very cheap. And since you only need a little to make lots, it makes it a must buy. I always get some when I’m in Leb.

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