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Tag Archives | cinnamon

Comforting Sahlep Drink with Cinnamon and Pistachio Nuts

 

Sahlep drink with cinnamon and ground pistachios.

Sahlep drink with cinnamon and ground pistachios.

Sahlep is a deliciously comforting hot milky drink, very popular in Turkey during the winter months. The genuine sahlep flour is made from the tubers of the orchid genius Orchis, found in the province of Kahramanmaraş in the south of Turkey, as well as in the Black Sea provinces especially in Kastamonu. The pure sahlep powder is very expensive and as this very precious wild orchid is in decline, the exportation of the genuine sahlep has been banned. The sahlep powder also has a lot of health benefits such as  curing digestive problems and gum disease as well as increasing resistance against coughs and colds.

I love the comforting, delicious taste of Sahlep in winter months. It’s great if you can enjoy the genuine sahlep in Turkey (I love it at the wonderful Sutis Pastaneleri –patisserie- in Istanbul or at Yavuz Bey Kurukahveci in Kadikoy, Istanbul as dear fellow blogger Claudia from A Seasonal Cook in Turkey experienced). Even if you may not be able to get genuine article if you’re living abroad like I do, some of the good quality sahlep flavored sachets sold abroad is still quite satisfactory and for me provide a great a dose of home & comfort. You can get a good quality sahlep flavored powder in sachets at Turkish and Middle Eastern Markets (like the Turkish market in North Cheam, England), as well as at Turkish online stores like Best Turkish Food.

Turkish sahlep drink with cinnamon

Turkish sahlep drink with cinnamon

Sahlep also used to be a popular street food in Turkey, though I don’t see them around as much as I used to. Here is a video of a Sahlep street stall holder in Turkey, kindly shared by Jim Clayter.

Here comes an easy recipe for the delicious Sahlep drink; we like to serve with some ground cinnamon over the top traditionally. This time, I also added some ground pistachio nuts over before serving, it added a lovely texture & taste to my Sahlep.

I hope you enjoy the new, improved look of Ozlem’s Turkish Table; you can now view my blog fully on smart phones and tablets. I am also delighted to add a new recipe format, that I hope will allow you to print the recipes easily and that it would add to your enjoyment – Afiyet Olsun!

5.0 from 3 reviews
Comforting Sahlep Drink with Cinnamon and Pistachio Nuts
 
Author:
Recipe type: Turkish Drinks
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 16 fl. oz./ 2 cups of cold whole milk
  • 10ml/ 1 tbsp. Sahlep powder
  • Sugar to your taste
  • 5ml / 1 tsp. ground cinnamon for garnish
  • 5 ml / 1 tsp. ground pistachios for garnish – optional
Instructions
  1. Place the cold milk, sahlep powder and sugar in a small pan and bring to a gentle boil.
  2. Stir continuously for 2-3 over gentle heat, until it starts to thicken.
  3. Turn the heat off and pour the hot drink into two cups.
  4. Sprinkle the ground cinnamon and crushed pistachios (if using) over the top and serve immediately.

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Baked Tahini Halva with Pine Nuts; Firinda Tahin Helvasi

Sweet and flaky tahini &and honey based halva or helva, a real treat

Sweet and flaky tahini &and honey based halva or helva, a real treat

Weather is turning cooler for most us and we look out for delicious, comfort food.  Tahini and honey based helva or halva, is a delicious treat enjoyed in Turkey; I especially love the baked tahini halva served in kebab houses and restaurants at home, such a heavenly taste.

Helva, the Turkish name, derives from the Arabic ‘halva’ meaning ‘sweet confection’. Halva is a very popular candy in Turkey, Armenia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East served in cafes and kebab houses. Halva is made primarily with honey and tahini and there are many variations of it.  In the old days they would grind oily sesame seeds into a paste (tahini) and then mix it with hot honey.  Nowadays prepared tahini is widely available in Middle Eastern stores abroad and at online stores like Best Turkish Food. Aside from the plain version of this sweet and flaky sesame based confection, there are many popular variations of Halva including chocolate and pistachio. The Turkish food store in North Cheam (address: 565-567 London Road, SM3 9AG, North Cheam) in the U.K. also carries Halva in packs.

This nut-butter-based Halva is made from tahini/tahin (sesame paste) or other nut butters e.g. sunflower seed butter with primary ingredients of nut butter, glucose and sugar or honey. This halva has a dry, crumbly texture and keeps in the fridge well for a long time. You can slice the halva and have with crackers or toasted slice of bread; the taste is just wonderful.

Baked tahini halva or helva with sauteed pine nuts, firinda tahin helvasi

Baked tahini halva or helva with sauteed pine nuts, firinda tahin helvasi

I was inspired by dear fellow blogger, Claudia for this delicious recipe and slightly adapted with the addition of pine nuts. Please check her wonderful blog, A Seasonal Cook in Turkey, where Claudia uses the seasonal produce in Turkey for her delicious recipes.

Here I chose to bake the tahini halva in the oven with sautéed pine nuts over the top. This dessert takes only minutes to make and it is so delicious; great for sharing with friends and family. The sautéed pine nuts add a lovely additional flavor and texture; I hope you enjoy it.

Serves 6

350g  precooked helva/halva– plain or with nuts

juice of half a lemon

100ml/4fl oz. whole milk

For sautéed pine nuts:

30ml/2 tbsp. pine nuts and drizzle of light olive oil

Ground cinnamon to serve

Plain crackers to serve

Preheat oven to 200C/400F

Mash the helva with a fork and then add the other ingredients, for a loose hummus consistency.

Mash the helva with a fork and then add the other ingredients, for a loose hummus consistency.

Mash the helva with a fork and then add the other ingredients. If you like, use an electric hand mixer to reach a smooth consistency which should become like ‘a loose hummus’. Pour into a large baking dish or 6 individual or small ovenproof dishes. Sprinkle with cinnamon and place in the hot oven for about 5 –  10 minutes, depending on how deep you filled the ramekins.

Sauteed pine nuts add a lovely texture and taste to the halva.

Sauteed pine nuts add a lovely texture and taste to the halva.

In the meantime, sauté the pine nuts in a drizzle of light olive oil for a few minutes in a pan, until they are golden.

Baked tahini helva with pine nuts, firinda tahin helvasi

Baked tahini helva with pine nuts, firinda tahin helvasi

Once the halva is baked, sprinkle the sautéed pine nuts over the halva and serve hot, with plain crackers by the side.

A heavenly taste of baked tahini halva with pine nuts, firinda tahin helvasi

A heavenly taste of baked tahini halva with pine nuts, firinda tahin helvasi

 

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

 

 

 

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Semolina Halva with Pine Nuts – Irmik Helvasi

The semolina halva, Irmik Helvasi, is amongst the foods  that is dear to my heart. I love the comforting Semolina (Irmik) halva and its inviting aroma takes me right back home. Semolina Halva is also the traditional dessert during religious occasions and Holy Nights in Islam, where it is customary to share the halva with family and friends.

Buttery semolina with crunchy pine nuts and cinnamon, delicious and comforting - takes me right back home

Buttery semolina with crunchy pine nuts and cinnamon, delicious and comforting – takes me right back home

Irmik Helvasi, Semolina halva is one of the most well known halvas in Turkey. Halva (helva) signifies good fortune and is made not only during religious festivals, but also events like moving houses. It is also traditional for a bereaved family to offer semolina halva to friends when a family member passes away.

Although Irmik helvasi, Semolina Halva, is made with such simple ingredients like semolina, butter, sugar and pine nuts, it requires skill to get it right and is regarded by some as a culinary masterpiece. The silky blend of buttery semolina with crunchy pine nuts offers such a wonderful blend of texture and taste; the dust of cinnamon over halva complements really well too.

Many versions of semolina halva are available in different cuisines; Turkish version of semolina halva uses coarse semolina, rather than the semolina flour. You can find coarse semolina in Turkish, Middle Eastern shops; even at shops specializing in Mediterranean cuisine. In the US, the online Turkish store Tulumba.com also carries coarse semolina.

I hope you enjoy this comforting, delicious semolina halva.

Adapted from Ghillie Basan’s The Complete Book of Turkish Cooking

Serves 6-8

110gr/4oz/1/2 cup butter

60ml/4 tbsp light olive oil

450gr/1 lb. /scant 2 ¾ cups coarse semolina – irmik –

45ml/3 tbsp pine nuts

900ml/1 ½ pints/ 3 ¾ cups milk – whole milk preferred-

335gr/12oz/1 ½ cup sugar

10 ml/ 2 tsp ground cinnamon to decorate

15ml/1 tbsp sautéed pine nuts to decorate – optional

 

Stir in the pine nuts and semolina to cook with the butter and olive oil.

Stir in the pine nuts and semolina to cook with the butter and olive oil.

Melt the butter and olive oil in a heavy pan, stir in the pine nuts and semolina and cook over a medium heat, stirring all the time, until lightly browned.

In the same time, warm the milk in a separate pan and stir in the sugar, mix well and let the sugar dissolve. Turn the heat off once the milk is hot (but not boiling) and sugar is dissolved.

Pour the milk & sugar mixture into semolina & pine nuts mixture and lover the heat. Mix well and cook over low heat until the milk has been absorbed; stirring continuously for about 10-15 minutes. Turn the heat off. Place a paper towel over the pan and cover with the lid, let the helva rest for about 10 minutes – the paper towel will absorb all the excess moisture-.

If you like, sauté 1 tablespoon pine nuts in a drizzle of olive oil for a few minutes. Spoon the semolina halva into individual bowls, and serve with a dust of cinnamon and a few sauteed pine nuts over them.

Coarse Semolina Halva - Irmik Helvasi

Coarse Semolina Halva – Irmik Helvasi

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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