Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sahlab - Egyptian Hot Vanilla Drink

Have you ever been reading a book where a food or drink is mentioned that you've never heard of but, sounds so interesting you end up investigating it? Recently, I was reading Rick Riordan's The Red Pyramidand it mentioned a drink called Sahlab. It is described as a hot, sweet vanilla drink with hints of cinnamon and coconut. It sounded so good I had to see it if was real. What do you know it was. The next step, of course, was to make some.
Sahlab
Traditionally, sahlab is made with salep flour or powder which is made by grinding the roots of a particular orchid. Ok, I didn't have that on hand but, a lot of recipes used cornstarch as a thickener instead. It seems there are a lot of ways to flavor it, rose or orange water, pistachios or walnuts but I wanted the flavors mentioned in the book, vanilla, cinnamon and coconut. The end result was surprisingly good with a flavor that reminded both Matt and I of vanilla pudding. The coconut flakes were a little odd in it, a drink you can chew, but, added good flavor.

Sahlab
(I used this recipe and made the measurements more specific)

2 c milk
1/2 c water
2 T cornstarch
1 t vanilla
2 T sugar
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of coconut flakes (I used sweetened but you could use unsweetened too)

Put the milk in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk the water and cornstarch together and add to the milk. Add the vanilla and sugar. Turn the heat up to medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring the whole time. Let boil while stirring for 2 minutes, it should thicken slightly.

Divide between 2 mugs. Sprinkle cinnamon & coconut on top.

2 Servings.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://agoodappetite.blogspot.com OR at http://agoodappetite.com then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at katbaro AT yahoo DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author unless otherwise noted. © 2007-2011 Kathy Lewinski

30 comments:

vanillasugar said...

yes i have! funny. and then i go to the internet and try and find it. is that what you did? and it has coconut in it. YUM

Lori said...

Ahhh, pour me a cup and lets chat.

grace said...

i'm almost afraid the taste of cornstarch would power through, but with the cinnamon and coconut in there as well, i think i could deal. :)

Jenn @leftoverqueen said...

This looks good! I am going to have to try this one!

Foodycat said...

That looks lovely! I used to go to a cafe in Sydney that served sahlep. It was very comforting on rainy nights! I must make it myself next time I am feeling a bit droopy.

Lori said...

All the time! I'm always jotting down foods and drinks mentioned, so much so that I have a list going to research. This sounds amazing. New to me as well.

Elle said...

Oh, that looks good! I'm the same way. We have tuna salad all the time the way Hemingway described it in one of his books, whose name escapes me at the moment.

Amanda said...

So funny! I found this page because I'm currently reading The Red Pyramid and thought the same thing, ("that sounds so good, I want to try it"), so I started searching for a recipe. Can't wait to try this! Thanks! :-)

Mike C. said...

I was reading the 39 Clues, (A book series by several different authors, one being Rick Riordan) And I found this drink being mentioned while the main characters were in Egypt. I thought I had to try it. The book described it as a: "Smooth and creamy, milky drink." I haven't made it yet, but I have the ingredients for it. Going to make it in a bit. Thanks for the recipe!

Shannon { A Mom's Year } said...

This is fantastic! We're having Egypt Week and my daughter remembered reading about sahlab in Riordan's book. I did a search and found you. Thanks!

Forever said...

Hi, I am so happy you did this! I was trying so hard to find Sahlab after the book "The Red Pyramid". I found that it had an odd texture cause of the coconut but the flavour was right on! So I added creamed coconut in it instead of the flakes. Worked great! Thank you so much!

Mohamed Al Sayed said...

true man this is an oriental drink in both Syria and Egypt, am originally Egyptian and let me tell you, in winter this is a warm crazy ass drink it get u super warm in no time and here is a new ingredient to it take off the coconuts and cinnamon and add raisins and pistachio the recipe u have is the Syrian one one more thing you can also make pudding out of it. and if liked "sahlab" try this "mahalabiya" < another crazy sweet thing all the best mate.

Anonymous said...

Me too! I cooked this and loved it! I added a Teeny bit more corn starch for a thicker drink and about twice the sugar. Probably not the healthiest, but solo yummy. It looked like a lot of other recipes called for nuts. I don't like the idea of a chunky drink so I bought almond extract to try. Also. The coconut taste sounded delicious but I agree, too crunchy. I recommend trying a couple teaspoons of cream of coconut instead.

Anonymous said...

i love the 39 clues series and this drink. this is also in rick riordan's kane chronicles

Anonymous said...

For a very chewy drink, try the various pearl teas.

Anonymous said...

What a coincidence! I was also reading "The Red Pyramid" when I decided to look up sahlab. Coconut and vanilla...I must try this.

Anonymous said...

I read the Red Pyramid when it first came out and just NOW I bothered to look up the recipe for Sahlab, the drink that I have been curious about. As a fan of vanilla, I was quite interested in the drink. So thank you for putting how to make this drink! :)

Anonymous said...

I came across this recipe because I was reading The Red Pyramid and was curious about the drink mentioned (it sounded yummy). I will be giving it a try!

sabina said...

Thank you! I'm 25 weeks pregnant and was craving sahlab, which we used to drink when I was a kid in Jerusalem. I left out the coconut and added toasted almonds and raisins instead, and it was great.

Riquca Reynolds said...

Omg that looks good!! Is it okay to use coconut extract instead of coconut flakes?

Anonymous said...

yes this is exactly my situation- my mouth was watering when i read it, i mean hot vanilla? mm... so here i am looking for a recipe for it, definitely gonna try making this! thanksss:)

kat said...

Riquca - I think I would skip the coconut completely instead of using extract. The vanilla is the main flavor here & the coconut is just a garnish. Of course, you could try the coconut extract for a different variation, I would just try it sparingly at first.

Starr Preston said...

I... Yeah... I investigated this because of Riordan too... Damn how he influences us all, I read the book some time last year but... Sometimes things just trigger an unexplainable response... On that front... I thank you... (Thought I was the only one.)

Alexis Rodgers said...

I JUST read this part in the red pyramid and I HAD to look it up!

NCRA Young Authors said...

We made this tonight on a snowy sleety evening for a dessert drink, and it is really yummy! Thanks for sharing! My husband discovered the recipe while reading The Red Pyramid and doing some searching as well. . .

Anonymous said...

Help!. What can i use instead of cornstarch? Cant find it anywhere?

kat said...

From what I read you can just use flour instead of cornstarch. Use 2 T flour for each 1 of cornstarch. Make sure to whisk it well to remove any lumps.

I have not tried it myself, but that is the cornstarch substitute recommended online.

Anonymous said...

I read about this drink in the Kane Chronicles series and it just sounded so good, and now that I've made this recipe I know it is! Thanks so much for posting this, I'll be making it often!!!

~Maya:):

Ramon C. Angel, UAP said...

I was reading Rick Riordan's book too when I came across 'sahlab' and did some research. This is the simplest way I found and in the end it tasted really good. Thank you for sharing the information.

Anonymous said...

I was just looking for a recipe for this for the same reason! Thanks for posting it!

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