“First morning of the New Year?
Let’s have Hot Sahlab for Breakfast!”
“Hot Sahlab for Breakfast” turns into a common enthusiastic invite at ending the Lebanese New Year Eve Celebrations. It is almost inevitable, unless your celebration was a festive dinner with desserts.
As I mentioned in my related article, many restaurants and pastry shops of Lebanese specialty welcome guests at dawn to indulge them with this tradition.
So, what’s all the fuss about?
It’s simpler than assumed, nicer than believed, and certainly regrettable to miss!
More teasingly than seriously, it is said that starting the first day of the year with a Sahlab dessert will sweeten one’s coming year. So, if you are in town, expect to be invited to sweeten your year with a morning dessert of Sahlab!
Indulging the palate, soothing the nerves
Sahlab is a simple dessert that is, not only palate-indulging, but also stomach-comforting for those who celebrated with extra booze, and soothing for those whose night’s excitement hasn’t cooled down yet.
Imagine a bowl of warm sweetened milk, flavored with rosewater and cedar-tasting mastic, and which taste has been sharpened with the strong fragrant of the Mahlab fine spice, and sprinkled with Cinnamon.
Can you envision how deliciously light your first breakfast of the year would be?
And here is the thing: The Sahlab is so good that we do not allow our New Year day to monopolize it for itself. We do indulge in it throughout the year. It is as good as to make it only a one-time annual matter.
The Culinary Secret is in the Spices
In small doses yet of vital importance, the Mastic and the Mahlab, coupled with the rosewater, make all the difference.
Don’t shy away from the mastic and its great medicinal properties, among which:
- Diuretic and ulcer’s antibacterial;
- Excellent oral health supporter and good breath:
- cleans, strengthens weak teeth, and whitens;
- Soothes down stomach ailments, chronic coughs, and internal bleeding;
- It is also said to help hair growth.
The Mahlab spice has been in the Lebanese cuisine for hundreds of years. The seed itself, known as Halub, goes as far back in recorded time as 5500 BC and 4000 BC, rooting from the Ancient Sumer cuisine of the Southern Mesopotamia.
An Easy 20-minute Recipe!
In as fast as 20 minutes, your Sahlab will be ready to serve with this very easy recipe. Creamy, it is deliciously consumed with crunchy sesame Kaaks, which recipe I will be sharing with you soon.
Sahlab Milk Breakfast
- 1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk large
- 3 tbsps Corn Flour
- 1/4 tsp Mahlab Fine Spice
- 3 tbsps Rose Water
- 1/4 tsp Mastic (Plant resin) finely grounded
For The Topping
- Ground Cinnamon
- Pistachio Nuts
To Consume the Sahlab
- 1 bag Sesame Kaak
1- In a large saucepan, on medium heat, mix the milk with the Mahlab, the corn flour, the mastic and the water.
2- Stir continuously while bringing it to a boil.
3- Lower the heat, and stir for 10 minutes.
4- Turn off the heat, add the rosewater, and stir well for all the Sahlab to absorb the rosewater aroma.
Serving and Consuming
1- Serve hot into bowls or cups.
2- Dust the cinnamon on the surface of each bowl.
3- Top each with 1 tablespoon of pistachios.
4- Serve with “Kaak” on the side.