How to Make Sahlav: The Eggnog of the Middle East

December 7, 2012

Sahlav, meaning “orchid” in Hebrew and Arabic, is a thick Middle Eastern milk-based pudding that is drunk as the weather begins to get cold. In Israel, you will see vendors selling sahlav on the streets and in the markets. It’s an all-time winter favorite, and soon will be yours too!

Sahlav originally appeared in the Middle East during the Roman era. The original recipe calls for ground up orchid bulbs, which are used to thicken up the pudding. However, a more common approach to creating this drink is to use corn flour.

Part pudding, part drink- sahlav is sweet, comforting and believed to be an aphrodisiac. It’s the perfect holiday drink alternative to eggnog. Sahlav is typically topped off with chopped nuts, cinnamon and desiccated coconut, but you can add chocolate, caramel or even bananas- it’s up to you!

Adapted from “Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem Cookbook”

2 ½ cups whole milk
½ cup water
1/3 cup sugar
4 tablespoons corn flour

Mix ½ cup of milk and the corn flour until it becomes a paste. In a pan mix the remaining milk, water and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add in the corn flour paste and whisk continuously until the mixture begins to boil and thicken to custard.

Pour the hot mixture in 2-4 cups and garnish with desiccated coconut, chopped pistachios and almonds and cinnamon. Feel free to add other nuts, raisins or bananas here.

Sip and enjoy!

About our guest contributor
Anabelle Harari writes a local and organic food blog called Local Belle. She travels the world finding the best local cuisine. Anabelle believes healthy, wholesome food should be available to everyone and enjoys building community over good meals. You can connect with her on Twitter @thelocalbelle.