Mahalabia – a Middle Eastern Dessert



Mahalabia, also known as Mahalabi, is a Middle Eastern dessert of boiled milk, slightly sweetened and flavoured with rose or orange water. Very much like Blanc Mange, it is extremely easy to make, takes only a few minutes, then placed in the fridge to cool.

It’s found in many Middle Eastern countries, with each one claiming ownership; whatever the origin, suffice it to say, if you like milky puddings, this one’s just right for you! I like to use a mixture of fresh milk & evaporated milk, for a slightly creamier end, but feel free to use just milk or a mix of milk and single cream.

During the summer months, when my roses are in full bloom, I always have homemade rose syrup, and this is just one of the few desserts in which I use rose syrup, instead of rose water.

Mahalabia – a Middle Eastern Dessert

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 7 minutes

Serving Size: a generous 2

Mahalabia – a Middle Eastern Dessert


  • 200ml fresh whole milk
  • 200ml evaporated milk
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp cornflour, mixed into a paste with 1-2 tbsp milk
  • 1-2 tbsp rose water or orange water (to taste)
  • finely crushed seeds of 2 cardamoms
  • some crushed/flaked nuts (almonds & pistachios are good)
  • 2 tsp of rose syrup (optional)


  1. Combine both types of milk and the sugar in a saucepan or milk pan and stir to mix.
  2. Bring to boil on medium heat, stirring once or twice to help the sugar dissolve. Watch it carefully as boiling milk will suddenly rise up!
  3. Once it's just coming to boil, lower the heat completely and add the cornflour paste, stirring immediately.
  4. Keep stirring until it thickens to the consistency of thick/Greek yoghurt. Shouldn't take more than 2 minutes.
  5. Take it off the heat, add the rose/orange water & crushed cardamom and stir.
  6. Pour into serving dishes/cups & place in the fridge to cool for at least 3 hours. It will thicken when cool.
  7. To serve, drizzle a teaspoon of rose syrup over it (if using) and sprinkle with nuts.


Includes about 3 hours chilling time.

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Lin xx

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