Until my son Aryeh showed me how I didn’t believe that Sahlab was something I could made at home. Let me correct that. I know that there are sahlab mixes on the market. I’ve used them to make the classic Middle Eastern sweet milk pudding, but how could I make sahlab without a mix?
“It’s easy and it costs a fraction of the price of that garbage mix, ” Aryeh said. He showed me and he was right.
Hanukah is the perfect time for sahlab. It’s a sweet dairy treat . Dairy products are eaten on Hanukah to recall the Yehudit the daughter of a High Priest whose bravery was instrumental in the Maccabean victory. Of all of their decrees the the harshest and most hated was the requirement for Jewish brides to cohabit with Greek soldiers before they could wed. Judaism considers human sexuality a vehicle for transcendence and this decree of forced rape was an abomination. To get around it, Jews took to marrying in secrecy but Yehudit was too well known to slip under the radar. Instead she devised a plan. Carrying a basket of wines and her own home made salty cheeses she visited the general Holofernes at the Greek army camp. He invited her to his tent where she fed him the cheeses and then slaked his thirst with plenty of wine. When he finally passed out dead drunk, Yehudit ,took out a knife and cut off his head. When the Greeks saw the head roll through their camp they ran away and this helped lead the Maccabees to victory.
Back to Sahlab here’s Aryeh’s recipe for one cup.
Pour one cup of milk into a small pan. Add three teaspoons of sugar and one and one half tablespoons of cornstarch (in the UK it’s called cornflour) . Stir every so often until the mixture thickens. Don’t let it boil over. When it’s thick garnish with a pinch of cinnamon, ground nuts and if you like dried coconut flakes. Our you can garnish with a tablespoon of granola. Eat right away. Delicious.