Sahlab is a Middle Eastern sweet milk pudding. It’s quick and easy to make, and it’s absolutely delicious! Sahlab will definitely warm you up during the cold winter days.
During cold rainy or snowy days, we would resort to having hot drinks to keep us warm. Coffee, tea, hot chocolate are traditional options. But have you tried homemade “Sahlab” drink? This Middle Eastern winter-hot-silky-drink is an easy option that is loved by kids and adults alike! It is very common to find “Sahlab” available in the coffee shops in the Middle East, especially in Levant.
In Turkey, Sahlab is also quite popular but it’s known as “Salep” it was originally made with orchid roots flour but the popularity of the drink led to decline in the population of the orchids, so now you probably would only find artificial mixes with salep powder flavorings sold in stores. I visited Turkey last winter, and was very excited about the fact that I could find Sahlab sold in the streets there but with a new name “Salep”. In some coffee shops in Istanbul, you might even find Salep served with coffee.
Sahlab Drink – an Ammani Tradition
Every time we visit Amman during the winter, we make sure that we go for a drive in the rain to get Sahlab. Although it is really easy to make at home, but when Amman is rainy, we just pick up some Sahlab from our favorite cafe in Sweifieh, it’s like a tradition! My sister, Natalia posted a picture on her Instagram some time back of a cup of Sahlab that we got together from a small cafe in Amman.
When it snows in Jordan, people tend to stock up of a lot of bread and just spend the snow days at home with all the family gathered around the TV. Snow days mean that schools are off, and you won’t have to go to work either! So you end up curling up on the couch with a blanket, and a cup of Sahlab to warm you up.
Silky Smooth Middle Eastern Drinks
Sahlab is one of the most popular Middle Eastern drinks. It is such a comforting drink that works well for a winter dessert or an afternoon drink, it is healthy and not too sweet. Preparing sahlab from scratch tastes much better than the powdered mixture that you can purchase from the supermarket. Follow the recipe below, I promise you will love it!
How to Make Sahlab Drink
It only takes 10 minutes to prepare this milky warm drink (it is also extremely easy!). The base is made with milk and corn or potato starch, vegan milk can also work! You can sweeten it with sugar, or honey. And add vanilla extract or rose water if you like. The toppings are my favorite part, adding some chopped dried apricots along with the shredded coconut, pistachios, walnuts, and cinnamon to the topping is always a great idea!
When you’re boiling the milk with the starch do not step away from the hob for a second if you don’t want things to get messy, and make sure that you’re stirring all the time as milk can get burnt easily!
Middle Eastern Flavors
Middle Eastern flavors are fascinating. Especially when it comes to desserts, you will notice some ingredients being used quite often such as pistachios, rose water, orange blossom, cream, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and many more. All of these ingredients have very distinctive flavors, and the pistachios with its bright green color can always help identify a Middle Eastern dessert. There many variations of this milk pudding drink; Sahlab. Of course, the simplest version is made with milk, cornstarch, and sweetened with sugar. Everything else is an extra. But I believe that everything else is also very necessary.
If you want to make this with minimal toppings, I’d say go for ground cinnamon and desiccated coconut. And if you happen to have some crushed pistachios and walnuts in your cupboard, then why not add them too (sorry I can’t help it!).
If you follow the exact recipe that I’ve written below, there are as little as 222 calories per serving. Imagine all of that deliciousness without the guilt!
Sahlab Powder Recipe
Sahlab powder is sold in most Middle Eastern stores, it is usually flavoured with rose water. However, I like to make my own mix at the beginning of the winter to prepare Sahlab quickly on these cold winter evenings.
Simply, combine powdered milk with vanilla extract and starch (take amounts from the recipe card below), then I just add water and let it boil until it’s bubbly. Remove from heat and let it slightly set.
The kids in our house always ask for a refill right away after finishing the first cup! And we usually serve warm sahlab drink with these yummy Aniseed Biscuits. Trust me, it’s a match made in heaven!
Also, make sure to check out this simple Middle Eastern dessert Burbara, it’s really good!
- 4 cups (1 litre) whole milk
- 3 and ½ tablespoons (25g) cornstarch
- 6 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon desiccated coconut
- ¼ cup chopped nuts walnuts or pistachios
- 2 tablespoons raisins optional
- Combine milk, cornstarch, sugar, and vanilla extract and beat with a whisk over medium heat, bring to boil and let the mixture boil for 2 minutes while stirring. (Or until thick and creamy)
- Serve hot in mugs and top with a sprinkle of cinnamon, desiccated coconut, and pistachios or walnuts on each serving.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
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