Sahlab is a drink made of orchid bulbs, orange blossom water, and rose water. The orchid bulbs are then crushed and dissolved in milk to thicken the drink and flavored with either rose water or orange blossom water.
Some versions use vanilla extract to flavor and cinnamon to sweeten. The luxurious versions are topped with cinnamon, crushed pistachios, and a dash of sliced almonds.
It’s quick and easy to make, and it’s delicious! Sahlab will warm you up during the cold winter days.
What is Sahlab?
Sahlab is a milk pudding, usually served to warm you up on a cold day. In the same way that you might enjoy hot chocolate as a winter drink.
Sometimes nuts and raisins are incorporated along with rose water, or orange blossom water, giving it a rich complex flavor.
The powder sahlab is like magic, it turns your milk and cream into a yummy thick, and nutritious pudding.
This is all thanks to a flower that is a real beauty in itself; the wild orchid.
The powder comes from tubers of the orchid roots which are dried and ground into flour.
The Romans used to make a drink from grinding up orchid bulbs that they used as an aphrodisiac.
The drink became popular in the Ottoman times and then spread to Europe and the Middle East. It is served in the breakfast meal.
It is very similar to making pudding but even easier.
- Start by heating milk and cream over medium heat until warm.
- Combine the sugar and the sahlab, then add to the milk and cream.
- Using a whisk, stir constantly until it comes to a gentle boil.
- Turn down the heat, and add the rose water.
- Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool. (Depending on how much of the thickener you put in you will have either a thick custard drink or a lovely pudding.)
- Then, pour the mixture into small bowls, and chill in the fridge for an hour. Or pour it into cups and drink it warm. A nice twist on this dessert is to add coffee or chocolate into the mix to get a super flavored sweet snack.
And it doesn’t have to stop there. There are all kinds of options like putting fruit at the bottom or sprinkling it with raisins.
Slivered almonds also make a nice addition, or molasses, honey, or even peanut butter, pralines, or salted toffee.
This pudding is a great launching pad for your favorite flavors and tasty treats.
Tips For Making
- If making it as a drink, pour the custard into mugs, or glass cups for an authentic look.
- Sprinkle toppings, using as much or as little as you like.
- If making as a pudding, stir in whatever flavoring, fruit, chocolate chips, or pralines as you remove from the heat.
Be sure to recreate this incredible drink made of orchid bulbs, orange blossom water, and rose water. Enjoy!
- 4 cups Milk of choice whole milk tastes best but almond milk works great too for a vegan substitute
- 4 tbsp Corn starch
- 2 tbsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- Pinch of cinnamon optional
- Sprinkle of Spice Tribe Ground cinnamon
- Crushed Pistachios or Walnuts
- Coconut Flakes
- In a pot, add the milk, sugar, and corn starch. Mix together very well until there are no lumps.
- Place the pot over medium high heat and add the vanilla. Stir this mixture consistently until it starts to boil. This may take up to 15-20 min. Then, stir 2-3 minutes after boiling. It is important not to leave the stovetop or milk can burn easily.
- Then, ladle the mixture which should be lightly thickened and creamy into the desired glasses. Top off with garnishes and enjoy warm.
- You can place this in the fridge as well to enjoy cool. It will thicken more and be custard like!