Since it is winter here in the lovely Kingdom of Lochac, warm comforting drinks are much needed. The drink sahlab or salep was used throughout the Greek & Roman world, then picked up by Muslim scholars later. It is made of the powdered root of the orchid Orchis mascula or Early Purple Orchid. It was mentioned by Maimonides to “revive the spirits and sexual desire”. Some recipes have rose water, orange blossom, cinnamon, coconut or pistachios in it, depending on the region where it is made. Before the rise of tea and coffee as daily drinks, the drink known as saloop or Turkish Delight (before describing lokum) was popular in Europe. Due to the popularity of the drink today, the orchid is threatened, leading to bans on export from Turkey. The packets that are available in some shops are mostly corn flour.
Let me know if you have tried Sahlab!
Sahlib, another wonderful winter drink on Dianabuja’s Blog.
Sachlav: The Hot Chocolate of the Middle East by Devra Ferst. On The Jew and the Carrot.
RECIPE: Sahlab, Creamy Hot Drink From the Middle East by Miriam Kresh.
Practical Materia Medica of the Medieval Eastern Mediterranean According to the Cairo Geniza by Efraim Lev and Zohar Amar. Viz Google Books.
Encyclopedia of Jewish Food by Gil Marks. Via Google Books.