Before their was coffee and tea sahlab or salep as called in Turkey was quite popular. This drink spread all over the Middle East, North Africa and Europe throughout the 17th and 18th century. Sahlab is a flour made from grinding the dried tubers of Orchis mascula, Orchis militaris and related species of orchids, which contain a nutritious starch-like polysaccharide called glucomannan.
Many people in the West are unknown to this mysterious drink. I have seen several recipes online which uses cornstarch instead of sahlab and if you are in a country where you can not find sahlab then you could do this as well. However, check your local Turkish, Greek or Egyptian markets out and you may be able to. This delicious drink reminds me of flower fields as I drink it, as the taste just rushes you there. In Saudi they make this drink with cardamom and ginger instead of orange blossom water and cinnamon. A lot of you have contacted me on where you can get this powder in the states. I have personally never seen it there but I did find one place you can order pure sahlab from at a good price right here.
5 cups milk
1 tablespoon sahlab
1-3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon orange blossom water
Ground cinnamon for garnish
1. Dissolve sahlab into 1 cup cold milk.
2. In a 2-quart pan add remaining milk and sugar. Bring to a full boil then reduce to medium. Pour the cold milk and sahlab into the pan. Whisk continuously until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and add orange blossom water.
3. Pour into serving cups and sprinkle with ground cinnamon
Yields: 6-8 servings.