Turkish Sahlep


  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon sahlep powder (also sold in supermarkets)

Mix sugar and sahlep powder (dried powdered roots of a mountain orchid - Orchis Latifolia or Orchis Anatolica in Latin) in a pan. Add the cold milk and some sugar stirring constantly. Heat the mixture until it boils again stirring constantly. Let it boil for 2-3 minutes and remove from heat. Serve it warm and garnished with powdered cinnamon.

The thicker the Sahlep is, the better it gets, it's a hot and creamy drink. Sometimes addition of a little bit of starch might help to get the desired consistency. It is a remedy for sore throats and colds, therefore it's mainly consumed in the winter months for cold climate. Because the real sahlep powder is expensive, on the streets they make it with more cornstarch than the real thing, that's why it would be better to do it at home or go to reputable pudding shops in Beyoglu district or along the Bosphorus for example.

Usually the mountain orchids have tuberous roots rich of starch-like substance. These tubers are gathered while the plant is in flower, then washed, boiled in water or milk and then dried. These dry tubers are grinded. This grinded powder is called sahlep.

Sahlep can also be added to ice-creams in the city of Kahramanmaras, it's the famous Maras Ice-Cream. In Maras ice-creams, sahlep gives its great taste and strong mixture with goat milk being the first and the most important element of Maras ice-cream, and the second one is real goat milk.