Salep and tahini-pekmez bread spread

Today I’ll have a bit different post for you. I wanted to show you a typical beverage and sweet treat for breakfast straight from Turkey (oh yeah I know, I’ve promised to write a bit more about Turkish food after my travel to Istanbul and well, better now than never 😉 ). There will be two recipes here as well as a very short description of three commonly used products. Hope you’ll find it interesting 🙂

I have already once mentioned salep in my post about Turkish sweets, where it was used as a thickening agent in chewy ice creams. This property is widely used in many desserts and comes from the starch. Salep is a powder obtained from ground orchid roots and is used as a flavoring and thickening agent also in beverages and ice cream. As orchid roots have pretty suggestive shape they have been from centuries used as aphrodisiacs and infertility curatives. In fact it is thought that the name itself originated from Arabic expression that means “fox testicles”. The most common usage of salep is in a mildly flavoured winter beverage and the recipe for it you can find below.

As salep is so much liked and widely used in Turkey the population of wild orchids declined what resulted in a ban to export the powder out of the country. That’s why you may buy original salep only once you’re in Turkey, otherwise only the synthetic versions are available elsewhere. Once you get a grip on salep here is a really easy method how to prepare your morning drink.


4 tsp salep powder

500ml milk

sugar to taste


To prepare the beverage simply mix the salep powder in half a glass of milk till dissolved. Heat the rest of the milk till it’s boiling and slowly add the dissolved salep. Decrease the heat, add sugar and slowly boil till it starts to thicken. Once you pour it to the cup, sprinkle it generously with cinnamon.

Pekmez is a kind of molasses obtained from condensing grape juice together with some coagulant agents. It’s been said to have more nutritional value than honey and apart from being a great source of energy it is rich in organic acids, calcium, potassium, iron and group B vitamins. It is also known to have some curative effects on anaemia and enhances bone development. Pekmez is often mixed together with tahini to form a delicious spread for breakfast. I guess nowadays everyone knows what tahini is. This sesame paste is available in every bigger supermarket and every health shop has it as well. Why? Well apart from the same nutritional values that pekmez has, tahini is additionally known to boost the rate of metabolism, enhance immune system and help to maintain healthy skin and muscle tone. And so mixing those two products makes a real nutritious bomb for breakfast. Both of those ingredients you may easily buy from your nearby middle-eastern shop. It’s really worth a try as it definitely is an original no-guilt sweet bread spread.

To prepare the spread you need to mix tahini and pekmez in 1:1 ratio (eg 1 tbsp tahini and 1 tbsp pekmez). However, the amounts are really flexible, you may want to increase the ratio of pekmez in your mixture if you want the spread to be sweeter or if you have pretty watery tahini paste.


4 thoughts on “Salep and tahini-pekmez bread spread

    • Hi, I’m really glad you liked it 🙂 I’m pretty sure you won’t have any problems with finding pekmez. Moreover, they usually sell also molasses produced from other fruits eg dates and mulberries. Those are highly nutritious and healthy as well.

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