Sahlab is the name of a popular drink in Lebanon. It was introduced here by the Ottomans who ruled the region for four centuries. That is why one can find it served at cafés in Istanbul as well as in Beirut. It is made by stirring milk with some sugar and a whitish powder (the actual sahlab), which is extracted from a flower and gives the drink its characteristic creaminess and fluffiness.
To make the drink from a drink, simply follow the directions on the box. To make it from actual sahlab, mix the sahlab with sugar and add to the milk, stirring continuously till the drink thickens and gets very warm, which can take about 20 minutes.
This is a quick and easy to prepare dessert. There are boxed versions of this pudding, but it is traditionally prepared at home. You can add more or less cornstarch if preferred. This dessert is so versatile that it can be served warm or chilled.
SERVINGS 3-5 UNITS US
4 cups milk
1⁄2 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
sugar (to taste)
ground cinnamon (to taste)
unsweetened dried shredded coconut (to taste)
chopped pistachios (to taste)
Combine cornstarch and water in a small cup and stir well.
Add milk to a soup pan or dutch oven pot.
Stir in cornstarch mixture in milk before it gets warm.
Add in vanilla and sugar.
Must stir constantly until it comes to a boil.
Let boil for 2 minutes, meanwhile still stirring.
Serve in dessert bowls.
Top with cinnamon and coconut or just chopped pistachios.
It’s traditionally eaten hot, but I like it cold too, once it cooled off and firmed up.