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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
Recipe type: Turkish Drinks
Serves: 2
  • 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
  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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16 Responses to Comforting Sahlep Drink with Cinnamon and Pistachio Nuts

  1. Seniordogsabroad March 5, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

    Ozlem, Ahhh, sahlep. The ultimate comfort drink! I wish for colder weather just to be able to enjoy it more. I’ve never made it at home, though. Maybe i’ll give it a try now – thanks! BTW, love the new look and the pic with you holding the dried patlicans. Take care, J

    • Ozlem Warren March 5, 2014 at 9:02 pm #

      Merhaba Jolee, many thanks for stopping by – so glad you liked the new look – i love that dried patlican photo too : ) Enjoy Sahlep for me in Istanbul, I can’t get enough of it too, so delicious and comforting. Cok Selamlar, Ozlem

  2. Peri's Spice Ladle March 6, 2014 at 3:20 am #

    Love the site layout and it looks so good on my phone, I’ve bookmarked your site for easy weeknight reference! Sahlep drink is perfect for our current weather, reminds me of saffron almond milk served during winter back in north India. And its got my favorite spice cinnamon in it! xxPeri.

    • Ozlem Warren March 6, 2014 at 2:25 pm #

      Dear Peri, many thanks for your kind words, so delighted to hear you enjoy the new look and viewing looking good, very much appreciated the feedback! Sahlep is a favorite drink with us for the winter months and yes, cinnamon is a perfect fit here. I also do love your saffron & almond milk; such wonderful flavors in one cup : ) Ozlem xx

  3. Naz March 6, 2014 at 9:16 am #

    Congrats on the new look 🙂 really love it. I was wondering is sahlep the same as sahlab which I found in middle eastern store. Whitish powder sold in small sachet?

    • Ozlem Warren March 6, 2014 at 2:22 pm #

      Merhaba Naz, many thanks, delighted to hear you liked the new look : ) Yes, Sahlep is the same as sahlab, usually sold in small sachets in a pack. Hope you enjoy it – afiyer olsun!

  4. Alan March 6, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

    Hi Özlem, Salep from wild orchids needs to be banned and not just discouraged! In order to save several species that were being decimated the Environment Ministry, before it was subsumed into the Orwellian ‘Urban Planning and Environment Ministry’, set up a series of large projects to supply the demand here in Turkey. I’d put it on a par with rhino horn and ivory – learn to love substitutes or give it up.
    That said, it is a lovely warmer!

    • Ozlem Warren March 6, 2014 at 3:20 pm #

      I am with you Alan, I am happy to drink and enjoy the Sahlep flavored sachets and save the wild orchids – even the good quality sahlep flavored sachets is a great dose of home and a lovely warmer as you say. Cok Selamlar, Ozlem

  5. BacktoBodrum March 6, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

    I love Sahlep because it tastes a bit like custard. I wonder if Kahve Dunyasi serves it in Piccadilly? They do in the Turkish branches.

    • Ozlem Warren March 6, 2014 at 5:53 pm #

      What a great idea! I need to investigate this, thanks a lot!:)

  6. Alida March 8, 2014 at 1:21 am #

    Oh I love the look of this drink. All the food you do is really good Ozlem!

    • Ozlem Warren March 8, 2014 at 11:49 am #

      Many thanks Alida!

  7. Claudia March 9, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

    Hi Ozlem! I especially love the new format for the recipes – that’s brilliant that you can print them out so easily from this! Super! I will probably be having sahlep tomorrow as am taking some friends round the çarşı in Kadıköy :))) . Thanks for the mention too xx

    • Ozlem Warren March 9, 2014 at 4:39 pm #

      Merhaba Claudia:) Many thanks for your sweet note, I am excited about the new recipe format too, glad you liked it. Enjoy the real thing in Kadikoy! Cok selamlar, Ozlem

  8. Ozlem Warren March 5, 2014 at 9:02 pm #

    thanks for the link!


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