One of my New Year's resolutions was clearing out my kitchen cupboards so I've had a good sort out today (Pierre was poorly so I got a bonus day off !) and gone back through all my old Kitchen Trotter and Kitchen Nomad recipe cards to see which ones still need trying or which ones need to be made again to use up the remaining exotic ingredients that are cluttering up my kitchen space. First up was this recipe for Sahlab from the Jordanian-themed box. I've already tried most of the recipes - the Maftoul Couscous, Mansaf and Sfeha were all lovely - but I was yet to try the dessert.
I went for a rummage and unearthed the box of preparation for Sahlab (or Salep, which made the bilingual Madhouse kids laugh because it sounds like a swearword in French !). It's described as a Mediterranean Starch Pudding & Hot Drink, which doesn't sound all that appealing (which is why it got relegated to the back of the cupboard !).
The recipe on the Kitchen Trotter card is for the drink version and uses one and a half tablespoons of the preparation with 1 litre of milk, plus added sugar, orange blossom water and cinnamon. I opened the pack and discovered a white powder that already smells quite strongly of orange blossom water. I checked the ingredients and it is Vanilla and Orange Blossom Flavour so I decided it didn't need any more.
I also checked the nutritional information and it contains nearly 50% sugar (with the rest being pretty much all corn starch) so I definitely didn't want/need to add any more of that either.
I decided to make this as a chilled dessert rather than a hot drink so I thought I'd need to increase the powder to milk ratio. The instructions on the box suggest adding the whole box to 800ml of milk but I used about half with 800ml and it still came out thick, pretty much like custard.
The recipe card suggests sprinkling crushed pistachios, cinnamon or cocoa powder on top. Given the orange blossom flavour, I thought my WeightWatchers Jaffa Cake flavoured hot chocolate would work rather well and that was a stroke of genius !
It's an interesting flavour and much nicer than I expected. I think this is what they served on the dessert counter in our hotel in Turkey last year, coloured pink and green. According to the blurb on the box, salep is a heritage drink that has been around since ancient Roman and Egyptian times and it was apparently very popular in England before the rise of tea and coffee. It is still widely consumed in Mediterranean countries.
As a dessert, it makes for a very refreshing way to end a meal.
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