Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Nov 1, 2009 07:02 PM

Looking for salep (sahlep, salepi, wild orchid powder)

Hey everyone,

I have been on a wild goose chase for a traditional Turkish/Greek ingredient, salep (also spelled salepi, sahlep, sahlepi, salop). It is a powder made from wild orchid root, and is used most notably in the Greek kaimaki ice cream (see:, and the Turkish chewy ice cream, dondurma (see: Since I doubt that I have any chance to find kaimaki ice cream in the US, I am determined to make my own, but need salep. While I can use cornstarch as a substitute, but I'd really like to do this right.

If anyone knows of a Turkish or Greek grocer that stocks this ingredient, I'd forever be indebted! Kaimaki ice cream is one of my fondest childhood memories. Thanks so much!


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You might give this place a call, if they dont have might be able to tell you where to get.....

    1. Hi,
      I realize that this is going a bit far afield to get salepi, but I have picked it up a couple of times in Athens at an herb shop called "Elixir". It is a bit expensive but worth it. You might try contacting them through their website: I think I ended up buying my mastiha for kaimaki ice cream through the Mastiha Shop in NYC: I am hooked on mastiha-anything. And kaimaki ice cream with the recipe from "foodjunkie" comes out great. I think it is time to switch to a electric ice cream maker however, as I think I am the only one who likes sitting outside cranking my old fashioned ice cream maker.
      - RR

      1. The original comment has been removed
        1. With the economic situation in Greece, it is getting tougher and tougher to find ergolavi. Does anyone have a good recipe for this type of almond macaroon? Thanks!

          1. we are also very interested in the origin of the sahlep drink . Actually, the orchid powder which is translated as Sahlep in Greece or Sahlab in Arabic, it is an important ingredient in the preparation of Sahlab drink. A puding made of milk and starch is a popular made for children(one teaspoon of starch to a full cup of milk). As coffee shops learned to add orchid powder to the milk and starch, offered hot in cold weather, adding cinammon or ginger but the orchid gives the drink a very special flavor