Sahlab -or otherwise known as Salep- is a Middle eastern/ Turkish milk based hot drink. It is flavored with mastic or orange blossom water which are very well known flavor enhancers in the region. Mastic is a resin derived from the Pistacia Lentiscus tree, which dries into the droplets we know and use. These rock-like droplets are then ground to release their flavor. Nowadays however, you can find mastic essence. It is this pretty strong liquid of which 1 drop is equivalent to 5-6 droplets in flavor. I am using liquid mastic in todays recipe just because I have some. It is not available in all countries though so if you can’t find it just use normal mastic.
Sahlab is thickened with corn starch and a bit of cream which gives it the thick creamy texture it is famous for. It is then garnished with a dash of cinnamon and a sprinkle of ground pistachios for extravagance.
I am not a winter fan, I prefer summer and spring but once the skies start getting cloudy and there’s a chill to the air.. I announce the beginning of “Sahlab season”. A season we all await and welcome every year.
Ingredients (to make 4 cups):
- 3 cups whole milk - 3 كوب حليب
- 1 cup heavy cream - 1 كوب كريما
- 3 tablespoons corn starch - 3 ملاعق كبيره نشا
- 3 – 4 tablespoons sugar 3 او 4 ملاعق كبيره سكر
- 1 teaspoon vanilla - 1 ملعقه فانيلا
- 7-8 ground mastic droplets (or 2 liquid mastic drops) - 7 حبات مستكه
*Sahlab is so simple to make and is ready in a few minutes. It requires no prepping and therefor makes for the perfect drink to serve whenever you have guests over and are willing to impress.
*Use room temperature milk or you can use cold, just DO NOT use hot milk because the starch will not dissolve, it will form lumps and the Sahlab won’t thicken.
*In a steel pan (I prefer steel), pour in the whole milk and the cream and mix in the starch. Use a whisk to avoid any lumps.
* Bring it to a boil on medium low heat. Once it starts heating, add in the sugar and vanilla. We do not like our sahlab to be super sweet. So start with 3 tablespoons, taste and then add in more sugar if you prefer.
*When all is boiling, add in the ground mastic, or liquid if you have any and turn off the heat. Do not and I mean do not be tempted to add more than 2 drops, it is strong and any more will make it bitter.
*Pour in your cups, garnish with cinnamon or ground pistachios or both. It is LITERALLY the best Sahlab you will ever have!