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.
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!
- 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
- Place the cold milk, sahlep powder and sugar in a small pan and bring to a gentle boil.
- Stir continuously for 2-3 over gentle heat, until it starts to thicken.
- Turn the heat off and pour the hot drink into two cups.
- Sprinkle the ground cinnamon and crushed pistachios (if using) over the top and serve immediately.