DRINK RECIPE: Turkish Salep

People & Culture

Cup of Turkish Salep, Turkey cropped

Good news for those who don’t like winter… we’ve made it through the halfway point! Weather wise, it’s been a tough season so far for most of North America. While some take advantage of the winter activities on offer, others desperately upload gorgeous beach images as their desktop wallpaper to help get themselves through it all. Either way, nothing helps beat the cold like a warm and creamy drink. Instead of the usual hot chocolate, how about trying a cup of Turkish salep.

Salep is a flour derived from orchid tubers. These exotic orchids grow wild in Turkey, and their tubers are harvested and prepped into a powdery consistency, ready for use. As the tubers are what house the flowers’ nutrients, salep has a lot of health benefits.

With its unique taste and healing properties, salep is a popular winter drink enjoyed in Turkey. Not only does it provide warmth, but it’s known to help relieve chest congestion and colds, strengthen your heart and mind, and increase energy levels.

Salep can be purchased in any Middle-Eastern grocery store and can also be used to make desserts such as salep pudding.

This easy-to-make hot beverage recipe will help provide lots of warmth, comfort, and nutrition needed to make it to spring and beyond.

Istanbul, the capital of Turkey
Istanbul, the capital of Turkey

Servings: 4 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon salep powder
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar (or to taste)
  • 4 cups milk (ideally, whole or 2%)
  • Ground cinnamon for garnish

Directions:

  1. Add milk in a medium saucepan and bring to boil.
  2. Once boiling, lower the heat to medium low and let it simmer.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the salep powder and sugar. Add 2-3 tablespoons of the simmering hot milk to thin the mixture.
  4. Once thoroughly blended, gradually add the salep mixture in the saucepan of milk. Keep stirring until it thickens, for about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Pour into cups and sprinkle with cinnamon powder.

NOTE: You can make enough Turkish salep for a few days. Once cooled, empty into a bottle and keep refrigerated for up to 2-3 days. Simply reheat to enjoy.