In Arab culture, they believe in warming the body from the inside out, so drinking or eating hot food is the key to staying warm in the winter. Sahlab is one popular drink for those cold winter nights. Traditionally, sahlab is made with a sahlab powder, or orchid root flour, but cornstarch is a common substitute due to rising costs and the declining orchid population.

Sahlab can be described as a sweet, creamy, milk pudding infused with flavors such as cinnamon, rose water, and pistachio. Each person has their own recipe, but each one is warm and comforting for cold nights. If you prefer to have your sahlab a little thicker, like a custard, add in more cornstarch to your liking.


  • 4 cups milk
  • 4 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. rose water
  • Ground cinnamon, for garnish
  • Chopped pistachios, optional for garnish
  • Raisins, optional for garnish


  1. Mix the sugar and cornstarch together in a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Heat the milk in a saucepan on medium heat.
  3. Once the milk is warm, stir in the sugar mixture. Stir constantly until the milk has reached a simmer.
  4. When the milk has thickened, turn down the heat and add in the rose water. Stir well to mix.
  5. Pour the sahlab into cups and sprinkle with cinnamon and toppings such as chopped pistachios or raisins.

*Original recipe from Taste of Beirut and Chef Tariq.

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