Sahleb, the Perfect Winter Drink

Cup of Sahleb topped with rose pistachio

I go out of my way to prioritize those few minutes on the curled on the couch with a fuzzy blanket, some cookies, and a warm drink-- even when I’m sleepy and would rather just collapse into bed. Why? Well because that late night sip is what helps me wind down before bed, reflect on the day, and take a moment for myself. It’s a much-needed pause for all working moms.  

Having a drink at the end of a long day is also really nostalgic to me. It brings to mind those late night shay (mint tea) sessions of our parents, and those sesame biscuits we used to dip in the hot tea. Truly, the comfort food of first-generation kids everywhere. 

The possibilities of bedtime wind-down drinks are endless! There’s hot cocoa, tea, coffee (if you wanna risk that blast of caffeine, that is), or even just warm milk. Given the fact that we’re officially in mid-December now, I’ve been really building a craving for the classic wintery warm drink: sahleb. 

Sahleb, or sahlep, is a traditional Winter drink in the Levant area. It was especially popular in the Ottoman Empire and has existed far before coffee and tea became popularized. Sahlep is traditionally made by thickening milk with a flour derived from orchids. Today, any flour or starch can be used and you can often find pre-prepped instant sahleb packets at arab grocery stores.  

I’m going to be showing you how to make it from scratch. This is the kind of recipe I've memorized just from seeing it made so many times throughout my childhood so making it myself is a sort of sentimental experience. 

Making it from scratch has also allowed me to customize ingredients. For example, I swapped out the usual whole milk for non-dairy oat milk instead! 

While making this sahleb is usually a relaxing process, I made mine in my unfinished new kitchen with construction happening all around me. I’ll look back at this fondly once my home renovation is complete, right?  

You might also notice a new color way of our Acrylic Trays, keep an eye out for its release with our 2021 collection! 

Door Decor next to two cups of sahleb

Oat Milk Sahleb - #Daysofeidstyle


  • Sweetened Oat milk: 2 cups 
  • Starch: 1-2 tablespoon* 
  • Alcohol vanilla extract 
  • Rose water 
  • Cinnamon 
  • Sugar**
  • Optional Toppings: Pistachio, Honey, Rose Petals, Coconut


*If you want the milk thicker or lighter, adjust starch measurements accordingly. 

**If the milk is unsweetened, add a little bit of sugar with the starch.

1. Mix oat milk and starch in a pot while the milk is still cold. *

2. Set the stove to medium-high. Keep stirring to avoid it sticking to the pot.

3.  Once you begin to see the mixture bubble slightly, add a few drops of vanilla extract and rose water.  You can also add sugar at this point if you are using unsweetened milk.**

4. When the milk has boiled, turn off heat. The milk should be a bit thick at this point which means it is ready.  

5. To make this drink extra delicious, I dipped the edges of the cup in honey, coconut and crushed pistachio. I then topped the drink with pistachio, coconut, dried rose petals and cinnamon. You can customize these toppings as you like, but the cinnamon is essential!

To make your own sahleb, USE the recipe ABOVE and check out the video on @daysofeid. DoN'T forget to tag us and share how it turned out!

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