Sunday, July 29, 2012

Muhallabiya | مهلبية

Is there anything better than a dessert that calls for just 4 ingredients? I think the simpler any recipe is, the better. I've never been a fan of over-complicated recipes which call for ingredients that you've never heard of that come from some point on Earth. The best desserts are the ones that focus on 2-3 ingredients and have maximum flavor!

I grew up eating desserts that weren't fussy like Muhallabiya and rice pudding - in Arabic: Riz b haleeb | رز بحليب - and always loved the pudding-like texture. In fact, it's the reason why my favorite dessert is chocolate pudding! But anyway, I wanted to sort of recreate a small part of my childhood by trying to make Muhallabiya on my own. So you can imagine the joy I felt when my mother told me what Muhallabiya consists of: milk, sugar, corn flour and whatever topping you desire which, in this case, was pistachios for me. Just a few steps and you get a lovely milk pudding which isn't too sweet nor is it too heavy.
Thanks to bad lighting during iftar time (sunset), photo quality wasn't so great. Sorry!
I can only imagine the different combinations that people come up with to add into this dessert or to top it off with; the variations are endless!

Muhallabiya - My mother's recipe
makes 4 large bowls

1 liter full fat milk, cold
3 tablespoons corn flour*
1/2 cup sugar (100 g) - you can add more or less sugar, it's a matter of personal taste
A generous handful of peeled, unsalted pistachio; chopped

  • In a separate glass, mix in 1/2 cup of milk with the 3 tablespoons of corn flour. Set aside.
  • In a large pot on medium heat, pour the rest of the milk in and whisk in the sugar.
  • When the milk starts to heat up, add the corn flour & milk mix into the pot. Continue whisking.
  • Once the mixture starts coming to a boil, the consistency of the milk should start to get thicker.
    * If you feel that it hasn't thickened even after it's been boiling for about a minute, go ahead and mix in another tablespoon of corn flour in 1/4 cup of milk and plop that right in. Repeat again if the same happens, but that is unlikely :)
  • Continue whisking until you reach a pudding-like texture (it should coat the back of a spoon quite well). Be careful not to boil too much as it can curdle!
  • Remove the pot from the heat and, using a fine sieve, filter the Muhallabiya into a large bowl. This is to leave out any bits of burnt milk from the bottom of the pot (which is inevitable).
  • Scoop the Muhallabiya into desired serving bowls. Cover with a sheet of cling wrap, allowing the cling wrap to touch the surface of the Muhallabiya, so as not to create a skin.
  • Refrigerate for 4 hours (or until it's cold enough to your liking).
  • When ready to serve, peel off cling wrap and decorate with pistachios
  • Enjoy!

Ramadan Mubarak & Happy Baking!


  1. Yasmin, this looks delicious!

    My mom makes delicious Muhallibiya too!

    I'm trying to learn all her recipes!

    1. Thank you Arwa! I just love any mother's recipes, they're always authentic and made with endless love :)

  2. mmm...never knew that these were the ingredients for muhallabiya! What's the meaning of the word, do you know?

  3. Love muhallabiya! Mom made some for me last week after my surgical wisdom tooth extraction because I couldn't chew anything.
    Btw those photographs are gorgeous!

  4. There are different ways to make it, some even add ground rice and a pinch of cinnamon; it all depends on preference!
    It's funny you ask Arva, I was actually wondering that myself and asked my mom about it too. She too doesn't know the origin. But my take on it is that maybe it's derived from the word haleeb, meaning milk? Muhallab can mean, 'flavored with milk'. That's just me bouncing off ideas really, don't take my word for it! ;)

  5. Ah yes must be awesome for when you're not feeling well and can't chew! Hope that went well and you're feeling better now!

    Thank you so much :)

  6. Yasmin, does Muhalabiya unmold easily? Judging by the texture in the photograph, I'm guessing I could but don't want to take the risk :) Do let me know.

  7. Hi Sayana,
    I can't speak from experience as I usually add enough corn flour to make it into a pudding. Though, I've seen recipes where they add more cornstarch so as to unmold it once it sets. Sorry not to be able to give you a direct answer, don't want to advise on something I'm not 100% sure of. But anyway, I would go ahead and give it a shot, you can always still eat it if it doesn't work out. Let me know! :)

  8. Hey...

    This recipe luks delicious.... the way you have described the prepartion...i cant stop myself from preparing dis and eating.. also its sooo easy.... i guess you have good cooking spirits... :) .. i think you should participate in nestle's ramadan contest @

    It’s a great place to share your passion for cooking and win loads
    of gifts.

    Ramadan Kareem.....