Mahalabia – a Middle Eastern Dessert



Mahalabia, also known as Mahalabi, is a Middle Eastern dessert of boiled milk, slightly sweetened & 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 country, 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 & single cream.

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

Ingredients for Mahalabia (serves 2 generous portion)

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)

Method for Mahalabia

1. Bring both types of milk to boil in a small saucepan or milk pan. Watch it carefully as boiling milk will suddenly rise up!

2. Lower the heat completely and add the cornflour paste, stirring immediately.

3. Keep stirring until it thickens to the consistency of thick/Greek yoghurt. Shouldn’t take more than 2 minutes.

4. Take it off the heat, add the rose/orange water & crushed cardamom & stir.

5. Pour into serving dishes/cups & place in the fridge to cool for at least 3 hours. It will thicken when cool.

6. To serve, drizzle a teaspoon of rose syrup over it (if using) and sprinkle with nuts.



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