In Lebanon, sahlab is prepared as a thick sweet drink (somewhere between a pudding and a soup) and is served warm during the cold wet winter. March isn’t the coldest month of the year, but today I feel a little cold and sick, so I made myself a warm cup of sahlab with cinnamon on top and crackers on the side. Yummy!
Sahlab refers to the the plant (Early Purple Orchid or Orchis mascula) and to the drink. I know that sahlab is also part of Turkish and Greek cuisines, but after a modest research, I came to know that sahlab is also used in Albania, Serbia and Bosnia. In Lebanon, flour is made from the plant, which is then mixed with milk and sugar, brought to boil (to thicken) and a few drops of rose water and orange blossom are added at the end. A beautiful thick drink that can warm any sick and crampy body like mine!
Sahlab is sold as a powdered mix that can be bought in packets in supermarkets anywhere in Lebanon. Try to find some where you live, it’s a very delightful drink!
Ingredients (for 2)
– 2 cups milk
– 1 Tbsp of sahlab powder
– 3 Tbsp sugar
– 1 tsp rose water
– 1 tsp orange blossom
– Cinnamon powder for garnish
1. Mix the first three ingredients in a saucepan before placing it on medium heat.
2. On medium heat and while continuously whisking, bring the mixture to the brink of boiling. You will see that it will thicken almost as thick as a pudding.
3. Turn off the heat, add the rose water and orange blossom, give it one last stir and pour in cups or bowls and sprinkle cinnamon powder on top. Serve hot.
To eat/drink sahlab like a Lebanese, crack a few crackers – ka’ek (in photo below) – in your drink.