This Community Recipe is Jessica’s Vegan Sachlav. Serve this thick, sweet creamy drink hot in mugs. It has been called “the hot chocolate of the Middle East” and is traditionally thickened with ground down orchid tubers. Jessica’s recipe uses ingredients which we all might have in the pantry at home, so you can enjoy this hot sweet drink any time!
Community Recipes is a recurring feature where we share your vegan recipes on the Jewish Food Hero blog. If you want to share a recipe in this series, pitch us your idea here. This series is all about sharing healthy plant-based and vegan recipes. We are creating a positive community around food and sharing.
All about Jessica Halfin
Jessica Halfin is a pastry chef, food and culture writer, and recipe developer, specializing in Israeli flavors. To see more of her recipes, take a look at her website. She lives in the beautiful Galilee with her husband Eli, and their 3 boys.
Jessica grew up in New Hampshire, and studied in Arizona, and has been living in Israel for the past 14 years. She spent many of those years in Haifa. Now, Jessica and her family have moved into a house with a beautiful garden in Afula, the capital of the Jezreel Valley. Their garden has concord grape vines, lemon, kumquat, and olive trees, lots of flowers, and herb bushes. Jessica’s husband is a medical intern at the nearby hospital. Meanwhile, Jessica is a freelance food and culture writer, cookbook reviewer, and recipe developer. She works from home – which has come in handy in 2020 with all the quarantines and such!
Jessica has three sabra boys (8, 6, and 4), and a lilac British shorthair cat named “Yochi” – short for Yocheved.
Looking for food inspiration
As a writer and recipe developer, Jessica is always looking for new ideas. Jessica is a big fan of the cooking channel and thumbing through her cookbook collection. Otherwise, she’s usually in her kitchen making homemade bread, yogurt, jam, pasta – you name it – from scratch.
Jessica specializes in Israeli food. But the way to her heart is through Ashkenazi classics, like the perfect matzoball soup. She recently discovered the magical properties of coconut milk and coconut cream as a dairy substitute. Since then, she’s been working on dairy-free recipes suitable for those who keep a kosher home, or who have a milk allergy.
Jessica’s Cooking Style
Even if she is short on time (which she usually is), Jessica gets lost in the rhythm of baking and slows down without having realized it. For example when she’s kneading dough, she forgets to rush, and just takes her time. This calms her. Jessica also typically takes time in the kitchen to listen to music and sing along, so it’s kind of like her “me” time in a busy household.
For recipe inspiration, two of Jessica’s favorites are:
he Complete DIY Cookbook for Young Chefs: 100+ Simple Recipes for Making Absolutely Everything from Scratch (Young Chefs Series)
The Book of New Israeli Food: A Culinary Journey: A Cookbook
How did Jessica create her Vegan Sachlav?
Jessica just loves recreating recipes at home that you’d typically buy outside of the house. She lives just a few minutes away from Nazareth, where you might buy sachlav from a street vendor on a cold wintery day. She likes to make her own sachlav in her own home because it’s cheaper, and you know exactly what goes into it. Once she realized how fast and simple it was, she no longer felt the need to venture out for sachlav. Again, being able to make your own from home is particularly handy in a time when Covid-19 lockdowns and closure are keeping most of the world at home. Having dairy-free variations of favorite recipes on hand is always good because you never know when it could come in handy. Some dairy-free desserts are actually better than the originals! For example, malabi made with coconut cream, is to die for.
The prep for Jessica’s Vegan Sachlav is extremely easy. It’s just a case of getting things out of the fridge and pantry, and chopping a few nuts.
Key ingredients you need to make this at home
Unsweetened Almond Milk
Cornstarch, organic and non-GMO
Sugar, raw and unrefined
Orange Blossom Water
Pure Vanilla ExtractPrint
4 ¼ cups almond milk
4 heaping tablespoons cornstarch
⅓ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt, to taste
½ teaspoon orange blossom water
2 tablespoons shelled walnuts, chopped
A few pinches ground cinnamon
Place all the ingredients into a small pan except the orange blossom water. Whisk to dissolve the cornstarch.
Turn on the heat and bring to a boil over a medium flame.
Turn down to a simmer and whisk constantly until thickened and frothy, about 3 minutes.
- Take off the heat, mix in the orange blossom water
Pour into cups and garnish with the chopped walnuts, a sprinkling of coconut, and ground cinnamon. Serve hot.
Keywords: vegan, sachlav, winter drinks, almond milk, spiced
More Community Recipes
Sometimes we all need a little inspiration to mix up our regular recipe rotation. Our Community Recipes feature is for just that – to share our favorites and hear from a variety of people in our community. Since you’ve read Jessica’s, do you feel inspired to share your own recipe? Don’t forget to get in touch to share your vegan recipe too!
Check out these other recipes from our community: