Mhalabia – Lebanese Dessert

During my recent trips to Abidjan, a friend had opened my eyes to the magic of Lebanese cuisine. For dessert I tried Mhalabia, a sweet and creamy almost panna cotta like textured middle-eastern milk dessert with the perfect complementary note of rose water, topped with honeyed pistachios. As a sweet treat, this was right up my alley and left me dreaming about it for days.

These daydreams left me with no choice but to try and recreate it, to satisfy my growing craving. To my pleasant surprise, it is incredibly quick and easy to make!

It’s the perfect treat for Ramadaan, Eid or any day really because of its minimal fuss and effort.



  • 4 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup maizena
  • 2 tsp rose water
  • pistachios or almonds to garnish


  • In a bowl, mix the sugar and maizena until well mixed. Add 1/4 cup of the milk and mix with the sugar and maizena until combined and no lumps.
  • In a saucepan, heat the remaining milk over medium heat until just before boiling point.
  • When the milk is nice and hot, add the maizena and sugar mixture, stirring continuously to ensure it does not stick to the bottom of the saucepan.
  • Allow to cook for 2-5 minutes until it thickens, stirring continuously.
  • Once it has thickened, remove from heat and add in the rose water, stirring until well combined.
  • Pour this mixture into individual serving bowls and allow to cool until it reaches room temperature then pop them into the fridge to set for 4-6 hours.
  • When ready to serve, garnish with crushed pistachios and nuts of your choice.
  • Delicious…enjoy!

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