Friday, 15 March 2013

Sahlab سحلب

Sahlab is a warming winter drink topped with a generous sprinkling of cinnamon. Libyan sahlab is greenish-grey in colour and and has the distinctive nutty flavour of qsab flour (pearl millet/دخن).

In other Arab countries and the region Sahlab is thickened with powdered orchid tubers or (less traditionally) cornstarch. Like Mahalabia (milk pudding) the drink is flavoured with nuts and flower water.

Serves 3

4 tablespoons pearl millet flour
1 mug cold water
2 mugs boiling water
3 tablespoons sugar

 Mix the pearl millet flour with a mug of water and start stirring it on low heat in a saucepan.

Pour the boiling water over the mix, stirring vigorously, so that lumps do not form.  Stir in the sugar.  Cook over low heat, stirring continuously, until the mixture thickens (5-10 minutes). 

Pour out in a mug and sprinkle with cinnamon. Drink hot!


  1. Where can I get this powder, "Sahlab". I live in Australia and I really want to try this drink. Please reply soon.

    Finn Felton
    Kopi Luwak

    1. Hi Finn, I purchased some 'sahlab' powder in a Lebanese grocery store yesterday (I'm in Adelaide), and the Persian Grocery store a block away also had it. It should be easy to find if you go to a few middle-eastern grocery stores.

      It isn't the same as the Sahlab mentioned here, as it was an instant mix with several ingredients. It was very tasty and I got a couple of different kinds to try.

  2. You can buy the pearl millet flour we use in Indian grocery stores. The Sahlab powder made from orchid tubers is sold in Arabic, Turkish and Greek shops.

  3. I am attracted to it because it looks milky and I appreciate those type of flavors. Looks interesting and thick for a cold wintry night.