Middle Eastern Rose Milk Pudding

 Mahallabia, Mahalabiyya, or other various spellings, is a simple milk pudding that is most often flavored with cardamom and rose water. The only ingredients needed are milk, sugar, cornstarch, and flavoring. No eggs or butter needed.
Middle Eastern Rose Milk Pudding, Mahalabiyya 
The rose flavored pudding is made with rose water, which is clear, and most often served in it's natural pristine white color, topped with coconut and/or pistachios. It may be served with a drizzle of bright red rose syrup, or for variation, some rose syrup may be added to tint it pink.

Rose Water
Other common flavorings are orange blossom water, saffron, and cocoa, but you can change the flavors to your own liking. You can even use chocolate milk and omit (or decrease) the sugar. You can add vanilla or other extracts, instant coffee or espresso powder, use brown sugar in place of white to make butterscotch, or stir in fruit puree towards the end of cooking. 

Rose Syrup
This is the basic recipe and method for the traditional rose and cardamom version.

Stove top
Medium saucepan
20 Minutes
Yield 4 Cups

4 C. Milk, any kind, divided
1/2 C. Sugar
2 Pods Cardamom
6 T. Cornstarch
2 T. Rose Water, Culinary Grade
2-4 T. Shredded Coconut, Optional
2-4 T. Pistachios, Chopped, Optional

  • Stir milk 3 1/2 C. milk and sugar together in a saucepan, add cardamom, and bring slowly to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir the remaining 1/2 C. milk into the cornstarch to make a slurry.
  • Add to the milk mixture and boil, stirring constantly, until pudding is very thick.
  • Remove from heat and stir in rose water. Remove cardamom pods.
  • Pour into a large serving dish or individual serving dishes and allow to set.
  • Sprinkle with coconut quickly before a skin forms.
  • Garnish with chopped pistachio if desired.
  • Serve warm or cold.

I like to use my pretty rose flan dish. 
1. Make it as light or as decadent as you'd like by varying the type of milk or cream used, it works well with any kind.

2. I sometimes just mix rose syrup with milk until it tastes good, and omit the sugar. This makes a pretty pink pudding, and looks beautiful topped with the greenish color of chopped pistachios.

3. This is only very lightly sweetened. You can increase the sugar as desired.


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  2. Anonymous3/26/2012

    I love the Rose Syrup! Lately I've been making lemonade with it using sparkling water and lemon juice. Also to confess I've "tasted" it straight off a spoon a few too many times. Obviously I know what it tastes like by now... haha

  3. I'm planning to do a whole post on my love of/obsession with rose syrup, lol. I put it in everything, I use it almost daily. I put it in a glass of milk, Yogurt Drink, Sprite, Cream Soda, Iced Tea, Hot Tea, Lemonade,and on really hot days, just some ice water. Sad, I know, lol.


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