Orchid-Root Drink


Preparation info

  • Serves


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Classic Turkish Cooking

By Ghillie Basan

Published 1995

  • About

This is a hot milk drink, delicately flavoured and thickened with finely ground orchid root. It is popular in the winter, and remarkably soothing for sore throats and tickly coughs. Traditionally, milk and sugar are simmered with a small amount of orchid root in a large copper urn until the mixture thickens. But orchid root is expensive, and an instant salep mix is now available.


  • ¾ pint/450 ml milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons orchid root, finely ground
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon, finely ground


  • Heat the milk in a pan and stir in the orchid root and sugar. Keep stirring, and reduce the heat as soon as the milk begins to boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes until the milk thickens. Pour it into cups, sprinkle with cinnamon and serve hot.