If you are looking for a cozy and delicious way to warm up this winter, you might want to try Sahleb. Sahlab is a creamy and fragrant drink made with milk, sugar, spices and a special ingredient that gives it a unique texture and flavor: sahlab powder.

Sahlab powder is derived from the dried roots of wild orchids that grow in Turkey and other parts of the former Ottoman Empire. The powder has a floral aroma and a thickening property that makes the drink smooth and velvety. However, sahlab powder is not easy to find nowadays, as the orchids are endangered and protected by law. Fortunately, you can still enjoy sahlab by using corn starch and rose water or orange blossom water as substitutes.

Sahlab is traditionally served in small cups or glasses, topped with chopped pistachios, shredded coconut and cinnamon. These toppings add crunch, sweetness and spice to the drink, making it a satisfying treat for any time of the day. Sahlab is especially popular during the winter months, as it warms you up from the inside out. Some people also enjoy sahlab as a dessert after a meal or as a snack in between.

Sahlab has a long history and cultural significance in the Middle East and beyond. It was introduced to the region by the Ottoman Empire, which ruled over most of the area for centuries. Sahlab was a common street food that was sold by vendors in carts or stalls, often near mosques or churches. People from different backgrounds and religions would enjoy sahlab together, especially during festive occasions like Christmas or Eid.

Today, sahlab is still widely consumed in countries like Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. It is also popular in Turkey, Greece and Cyprus, where it is known as salep. Sahlab is more than just a drink; it is a symbol of shared heritage, hospitality and comfort.

If you want to make your own sahlab at home, here is a simple recipe that you can follow:


  • 4 cups of milk (regular or dairy-free)
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon of rose water or orange blossom water
  • Chopped pistachios, shredded coconut and cinnamon for garnish


  • In a small bowl, whisk together the corn starch and 1/2 cup of milk until smooth. Set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the remaining milk and sugar to a boil, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.
  • Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the corn starch mixture. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent lumps from forming.
  • Stir in the rose water or orange blossom water and remove from heat.
  • Pour into small cups or glasses and sprinkle with pistachios, coconut and cinnamon.
  • Enjoy hot or cold.

Sahlab is a winter hot beverage that will delight your senses and warm your soul. Try it today and let me know what you think!