In Israel it’s called malabi – in Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt, people call it Muhallibieh. It’s basically milk pudding, made in ten minutes, that is eaten in every setting, from the side of the road to fancy dinner parties.
Recipes vary from place to place. Some call for a combination of milk and cream; other recipes require ground almonds. Some people flavor their malabi with rosewater and others use orange flower water. The toppings vary too. You can find it with chopped pine nuts and walnuts, or with chopped pistachios. You can choose to sprinkle a little cinnamon or shredded coconut and peanuts over the top. To finish it off, pour syrup over everything – it can be silan (date honey) or home-made sugar syrup.
And by the way, you can also make malabi without dairy by substituting half water, half coconut milk or all rice milk for the milk. So simple to make and a great treat for all ages.
1 liter (4 ½ cups) milk
½ cup rice flour
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons rose water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Put the rice flour in a small bowl. Slowly, add ½ cup of the milk, stirring well to dissolve. Use a whisk, if you have one – lumps in malabi are not nice.
2. Bring the rest of the milk, plus the sugar, to the boil. Stir in the rice flour/milk. Stir well to distribute the rice flour, but don’t scrape up the thickened layer that will form at the bottom of the pot – it will simply form lumps.
3. Lower the heat to medium and cook the pudding for 5 minutes, stirring.
4. Add the vanilla and the rosewater; stir.
5. Pour the malabi into a big bowl, or ladle it into 6 dessert-size bowls. Cool it completely, and then refrigerate.
6. Garnish the top with chopped pistachios and a drizzle of your favorite sweet syrup.