Turkish Sahlep is a hot creamy drink that warms you up in winter. Everyone’s all time favorite hot drink in Turkey. A drink you HAVE TO try before you die.
Turkish sahlep is one of the most fascinating drinks around the world. It’s flavor is unique, so it’s not very easy to describe it in the right way. It is so creamy and milky that both kids and adults LOVE it like crazy. It is served with cinnamon powder on the top. The best food couple ever! Am I being too assertive? That’s because everyone loves it at first sip.
On cold days of Winter, if I’m outside, the only thing I imagine is to have a cup of Turkish sahlep at home. It warms both your hands(while holding the cup) and your body. I love its aromatic scent spreading inside the home while cooking it. Let me introduce this yummy hot drink more before its recipe.
I was definitely surprised when I first learnt that sahlep is produced from the bulbs of some species of orchid family. You know that beautiful and fragile flower, have you ever thought that it has also a lot of benefits besides its majestic beauty? This orchid family includes 24 species and about 90 classes of orchids. Since the lands of Anatolia are so fertile, these species and classes grow themselves in different regions of our country. However, sahlep is produced from some certain species.
The orchids which are suitable for sahlep production have a unique structure. The root of those orchids consists of two bulbs side by side. They are in shape of an egg. The bigger bulb feeds the flower while the smaller one is the spare bulb which will take the responsibility of feeding the flower the following year. Although sahlep can be produced from both bulbs, producers pick up just the spare one not to cause the flower to become extinct. When the spare one is taken, the bigger bulb starts to generate a new small bulb, in this way the flower goes on living. Fascinating, isn’t it?
After the bulbs are picked, they are washed and boiled in water or milk. Then they are dried in open air. To have sahlep flour, these bulbs are pounded when they are totally dried. Sahlep includes starch, sugar, and mucilage, which has a sticky characteristic. This last substance helps the drink get thicker while boiling.
There are also packaged sahlep that you can find in supermarkets, you just mix it with hot milk and your best hot drink is ready. However, these are not genuine, companies add extra starch into it. So if you want to taste original sahlep, you should make a little search.
It is generally found in herb and spice shops. It must be a bit expensive, that way you can understand that it’s genuine. If a kilo of sahlep is cheaper than 250 Turkish Liras ($140), it’s not genuine. But don’t worry, you don’t need to buy a kilo. 10-20 grams will be enough for you because you’ll use just 3 tsp sahlep for 1 liter milk. You may find the time of making sahlep a bit long, but it’s absolutely worth it.
Besides its yummy taste and magical scent, Turkish Sahlep has also several benefits to health. The most well known benefit of it is that it has a curative effect on cough, bronchitis and cold, that’s why it’s mostly consumed in winter. In addition, it cures constipation and strengthens heart and mental powers.
Talking on this magical drink, I start to crave for sahlep. I’ll definitely run into the kitchen and prepare some after finishing this post.
A creamy hot Turkish drink with an amazing flavor.
2 minPrep Time
30 minCook Time
32 minTotal Time
- 3 teaspoons sahlep flour
- 1 teaspoon starch
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 liter milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Cinnamon for garnish
- Put the milk in a pot and boil it .?
- Mix sahlep, starch and sugar in a bowl. Add in some warm milk and emulsify it. The mixture should be like paste.
- After the milk boils, lower the heat and gradually add that sahlep mixture in the boiling milk and mix it continually. Mixing is very important here, you should keep mixing it otherwise it gets lumpy.
- Check its taste and if you like, add more sugar in it. It should be sweet.
- Boil this mixture on the lowest heat for half an hour, your house will get full of its wonderful scent.
- Towards the end of this time, add vanilla. Pour it in a cup and sprinkle some cinnamon on it.
- You can put the rest in a bottle or jug and keep it in refrigerator for some days. When you crave for sahlep again, you can heat some of it and feel that pleasure again.
Updated: I tried to make it without starch and it’s even better! I just increased the amount of sahlep flour. I added 1 tbsp sahlep flour into a liter of milk. Sahlep itself is enough to have the right consistency. Mix sahlep flour, milk and sugar. Boil it stirring continually. Add vanilla (optional) when it boils. It’s done! Don’t forget to garnish with cinnamon powder.