Mahalabia is a super quick, super easy, Middle Eastern dessert made with 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. Consider it the Middle East’s answer to panna cotta, minus the gelatine, which is a bonus, really!
Mahalabia is found in many Middle Eastern countries, with each one claiming ownership (of course); but whatever its origin, suffice it to say, if you like milky puddings, you’re going to love this one!
Muhallabia, as mentioned, is essentially a milk dessert, however, you can “play around” with the dairy that you use in the recipe. For example, some people like to add a little cream to the milk for a richer taste but if you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of evaporated milk, especially in my desserts.
Which means that our Mahalabia recipe gets the evaporated milk treatment too! I use a mixture of fresh whole milk and evaporated milk, for an indulgent, but surprisingly, still light dessert. I’ve made this with semi skimmed milk and semi skimmed evaporated milk with very good results too, if you don’t fancy all that fat!
Can you make Mahalabia with Condensed Milk?
Absolutely! But you need to reduce the amount of sugar, to compensate, or omit the sugar altogether. So, for our recipe here:
- 750 ml (3 cups) fresh whole (full fat) milk
- 250ml (1 cup) condensed milk instead of the evaporated milk
- No sugar
- ⇒ then follow the rest of the recipe
Muhallabia can also be made a day ahead, in fact, overnight chilling (covered) gives the best result.
How to serve Mahalabia
- Crushed pistachios and almonds are used as a light topping, as you can see from the pictures and provide a wonderful contrast in texture and temperature. Don’t fancy nuts? Leave them out.
- Crushed rose petals are another common topping but to me, these don’t really do anything in terms of flavour, they just provide a visual enhancement.
- Crushed hibiscus petals are tart and while not traditional, make a great flavour contrast.
- Remember I mentioned right at the start that we flavour it with either orange flower water or rose water? I always lean towards rose and if you have access to rose syrup, that makes a wonderful topping too, slightly diluted and drizzled over.
- If you can’t get rose syrup, think fresh berries, butterscotch, caramel (salted caramel would be good). Not traditional but always good!
- Chocolate is always good too! Whether you grate some chocolate onto the mahalebi, or spoon some chocolate ganache or chocolate sauce over it.
- And, how about some balsamic strawberries for a funky fusion garnish? The sharp, tangy and sweet balsamic strawberries go extremely well with the creamy muhallabia.
Balsamic Strawberries for our Mahalabia
- 12 strawberries, quartered
- 2 Tbsp balsamic strawberries
- 1 tsp white sugar
- dash of freshly ground black pepper
⇒ Mix everything up and leave to macerate for 30-60 minutes, stirring a couple of times.
Can’t get rose water or orange flower water?
Don’t flavour it or go with half a tsp of vanilla paste/extract in this recipe.
And here’s my latest Mahalabia recipe, Mango Mahalabia with a touch of Sumac.
For a long, long time, I’d wanted to do variations of Muhallabia, and this Mango Mahalabia with a touch of Sumac, is the first of a few that I have in mind.
⇒ Do you like this recipe? Let me know with a comment below and please give it a 5-star rating below! Shukran! ♥♥♥Print