Mango Mahalabia (Muhalabia) with a touch of Sumac

Mango mahalabia recipe, my fruity and slightly tangy twist o the original Middle Eastern milk pudding.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Mango Mahalabia

What is Mahalabia?

Mahalabia, also known as Mahalabi and Muhallabia is a Middle Eastern dessert of slightly sweetened cooked milk that is 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.

One of the most popular recipes on this site is my old, traditional Mahalabia recipe. It regularly gets picked up or featured on Middle Eastern and North African websites and publications, especially during Ramadan.

Mango Mahalabia

For a long, long time now, I’ve wanted to do variations of it, and this Mango Mahalabia with a touch of Sumac, is the first of a few that I have in mind.

Why Sumac? When I first settled on mango for this mahalabia, I started thinking of spices and other flavours that would go with it. Cardamom is traditional but I decided to leave that out as I wanted to deviate a little from the traditional flavour.

Sumac came to mind as it’s one of my favourite spices and I figured that its spicy, lemony aroma would certainly go well with the mango.

Sumac is usually a spice used in savoury dishes. Click here to read more about it and its substitute. On this site, there are many, many recipes that use sumac, like Musakhan (Palestinian Chicken and Bread recipe), Turkish Shepherd Salad and the Lavender and Sumac Roast Chicken.

I don’t think I’ve come across it being used in sweet recipes, other than in my kitchen. But I’m sure when this recipe hits the stands, it’s going to start a trend! But you know what they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

Mango Mahalabia, a Middle Eastern Dessert

Mango Mahalabia Recipe

This Mango Mahalabia is super easy to make, this is what we’ll be doing:

  1. chop and puree some fresh mango ( you can also used canned mango puree).
  2. Place everything into a saucepan and heat until slightly thickened.
  3. Pour into serving glasses and chill.

f you love creamy desserts like panna cotta (click for recipe), you’ll love this!

The first time I made this, I held off on the sumac, until the end, just to see if the recipe needed it. While the mango mahalabia was delicious, there was definitely something missing from it. So, in went the sumac, a pinch at a time, until I was satisfied.

You can’t taste the tang from the sumac but what you do get is a more well rounded creamy, fruity flavour. If you can’t get sumac, just substitute it with 1 Tbsp of fresh lemon juice, mixed into the cornflour (cornstarch) paste.

What does it Taste Like?

It’s creamy and fruity with a wonderful hint of lemon from the sumac.

And as I tasted the final chilled product, I was reminded of an old forgotten but favourite childhood dessert by an aunt in Singapore. She used to make custard with evaporated milk and peaches, and this definitely shared similar notes, especially the evaporated milk.

That’s Auntie Rehana, in the picture below, second from the left, with her siblings, cousin and mum (my granny). My mum is to the extreme right. This picture was taken sometime around 1960, give or take, judging by my youngest aunt’s age (the baby). Incidentally, my granny made all those dresses worn by the young ladies.

Nasi Goreng Gila
the ladies in my mum’s family

More Mahalabia Recipes

Mahalabia Recipe – Middle Eastern Milk Pudding
Mahalabia recipe, quick and easy, chilled, make ahead Middle Eastern milk pudding, flavoured with rose water or orange blossom water.
Updated March 2023.
Get the Recipe!
mahalabia Middle eastern milk pudding in champagne saucer topped with crushed pistachios and rose buds
Pandan Mahalabia (with Gula Melaka and Coconut)
Pandan mahalabia is a creamy, milky milk based pudding full of the aromas of South East Asia in a glass.
Get the Recipe!

If you enjoy the recipe, drop me a comment and let me know. And if you are feeling like a star, don’t forget that 5-star rating!

If you make this recipe, post it on Instagram and tag me @azlinbloor and hashtag it #linsfood.

Lin xx

Mango Mahalabia

Mango Mahalabia with a touch of Sumac

Mango Mahalabia recipe, a tropical twist on the traditional Middle Eastern Mahalabia recipe.
5 from 114 votes
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Keyword: dessert
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 235kcal
Author: Azlin Bloor


  • 2 ripe mangoes
  • 250 ml (1 cup) fresh milk, full fat
  • 250 ml (1 cup) evaporated milk
  • 2 Tbsp cornflour (cornstarch in the US)
  • 3 Tbsp white sugar
  • ¼ tsp sumac (or 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice


  • Crushed pistachios or nuts of your choice
  • Slices of mango
  • Other fruit like strawberries raspberries, chopped up dates, etc


  • Peel and chop the mangoes up roughly and place them in a blender along with half the fresh milk. Blend to a smooth paste.
  • Make a paste with the cornflour and about 3 Tbsp of the fresh milk.
  • Combine this cornflour paste, the mango puree, both types of milk and the sugar in a heavy based saucepan or milk pan and stir to mix.
  • Bring to boil on medium heat, stirring it occasionally.
  • After about 5 minutes, you’ll notice the milk mixture begin to thicken slowly.
  • Lower the heat down slightly to medium-low and continue cooking and stirring for another 5 minutes until the mahalabia resembles thick custard. Now you need to be careful here as the milk can catch if your heat is not low enough, or if the pan doesn’t have a thick enough base. You don’t want burnt milk or bits in your mahalabia! Just in case, do not scrape the bottom of the pan as you are stirring and a non stick pan is also always best, mainly for cleaning!
  • When the mahalabia is as thick as custard, turn the heat off and sprinkle the sumac all over and stir for about 5 seconds to disperse it thoroughly.
  • Pour into serving dishes/cups and place in the fridge to cool for at least 3 hours. It will thicken when cold. If you are going to chill it overnight, cover the cups/dishes with cling film or saucers to prevent the Mahalabia from absorbing any smells but also to stop the surface from becoming dry.
  • Just before serving top with your garnish of choice, whether nuts or slices of mango or other fruit.


The total time does not include chilling time.


Calories: 235kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 95mg | Potassium: 446mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 1370IU | Vitamin C: 39mg | Calcium: 245mg | Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @azlinbloor and tag #linsfood!
Made it? Upload your photosMention @azlinbloor and tag #linsfood!

52 thoughts on “Mango Mahalabia (Muhalabia) with a touch of Sumac”

  1. Yasmina Khan

    This is simply amazing too! I love the combination of mango and the use of sumac is so cool! Thank you! PS: Love the family pic, that’s a beautiful group of ladies!

  2. I purchased Sumac at a Pakistani? market. It turned out it was mixed
    with a LOT of salt. Is this normal? I would prefer no salt at all in the Sumac.

    1. You can get both types and yes, unfortunately, it’s cheaper when there’s a whole lot of salt in it. Ideally, you definitely want one without salt.

  3. What a lovely dessert. Custard-type desserts are my favorite. I’ve never cooked with sumac and I’ve never seen it for sale. The only sumac I’m familiar with is the kind that grows in the woods and causes an allergic reaction if you touch it. Lovely photo of your family.

  4. Lin! I’m so excited to try this! It is, indeed, easy and my mouth is watering now thinking of the flavors! What a special photo of your Mom and family…I love seeing the gorgeous women who have shaped you into the star you are today!! Hugs!! xoxo ~ally

  5. Looks delicious and I think it’s genius adding sumac with MANGO. I just did a post on Mahlabia and then saw your post alert in my inbox.. Yes.. it’s a time for this craving indeed! And such a beautiful photo you have shared!

  6. Anything that contains sumac is a big win for me. I love middle Eastern food. Pistachios are so tasty, too. Never tried them in a dessert before, I don’t think.

  7. So I just got this in my inbox, and I am so excited that I’ve forwarded your email to all the women in my family! We all love your Muhalabia recipe, as I mentioned on that page. This one is going to be made this weekend, and I can’t wait for your others! Make it this month, please, so we can do it for Ramadan!

  8. Zainab Abbas

    This look very delicious! I’ve been a long time fan of your mahalabia recipe and am so happy to see this mango one too!

  9. Michelle Kohn

    What beautiful pictures! I saw this post on Twitter and had to come and see the recipe for myself! Only 12 minutes – I have to try it. Thank you!

  10. Rosmawati NR

    Oh Azlin, you are so clever. I saw your mahalabia post last year during Ramadan when I was looking for ideas, and my whole family loves it! Now this mango one, that’s really wonderful. I always make a lot, that way, we have iftar treats for 2 days! Selamat berpuasa dan terima kasih!

  11. Soufian Alam

    Hi Azlin, I have just come over from your old Mahalabia recipe and my wife has asked me to leave a comment for you. We have been using your Mahalabia recipe for about 4 years now, especially during Ramadan because we just love it! We are in Tehran and this Mango Mahalabia is now going to be the dessert for Iftar tomorrow, my wife has just made it, it is in the fridge now. Thank you, and Ramadan Mubarak!

      1. Soufian Alam

        Ah, Azlin, the mango mahalabia was simply amazing! We would never have thought of it, so thank you for introducing a new flavour for one of our favourite desserts! Everybody who had it wanted more!

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