Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Mehalabeya- Light and Silky Pudding


Mehalabeya is a light and silky Middle Eastern delicious pudding that is traditionally flavored with orange blossom and or rose waters. It has a unique perfumey, yet appealing taste that most find very appealing. The great part is that is gluten free and egg free, and can be made dairy free!

The first time I tasted Mehalabeya was at a party at my mother in law's house when I was a newlywed over 40 years ago. Middle Eastern cooking and flavors such as turmeric, cumin, coriander, rose water, and orange blossom water were totally new to me at the time. Although, I had a hard time developing a taste for cumin in some of her cooking, I embraced the orange blossom and rose water flavors in this recipe immediately.

Sweet and Creamy Pudding 
Fast forward to last week- I was invited to a decadent Middle Eastern luncheon made by our friend Vivi who is also a Jewish refugee from Egypt the same as my husband's family who came here legally over 50 years ago.  

Her luncheon spread was amazing and included homemade falafel, homemade babaganooj, homemade foul medemas, ratatouille, eggplant dishes, chick pea dishes, Israeli chopped salad, pickled beets, Do-ah spice blend (dukkah), feta cheese, kenafa, and this Mehalabeya for dessert!!

Middle Eastern pudding
Sweet and Creamy 

I hadn't eaten this wonderful dessert in many years, so her Mehalabeya brought back amazing memories. When I asked Vivi for her recipe, I was surprised how simple and easy it was to make. In fact, it was so easy to make, I made it the next day to bring to an American friend's party. Everyone who tried it, actually loved it and wanted the recipe!!

Mehalabeya is an easy to make light and delicate dessert that can be made for a crowd in a large container or it can be made in individual bowls, glasses, or cups. It is traditionally made with milk, cream and sugar. 

Fast forward over 40 years- I converted it to a vegan pudding substituting coconut milks for the milk and cream.. Guess what ! It came out great! 

Next time you are looking for a somewhat exotic dessert that can be made in advance, is easy, gluten free, parve and dairy free, Mehalabeya is it!! Your guests will love it and so will you!!

Author of the blog: Judee Algazi
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 8-10 portions 

3 cups coconut milk ( refrigerator case in the market )
1 cup coconut cream  (refrigerator case at Whole Foods)
1/2 cup warm water
Equivalent of 1 cup of sugar (I use 1 cup of coconut crystals or 1/2  cup of maple syrup + some stevia)
4 tablespoons non Gmo cornstarch 
2 tablespoons orange blossom water ( affiliate link)
1 teaspoon rosewater (affiliate link)
1/2 cup shelled pistachio nuts, chopped in food processor or blender

Pour coconut milk and coconut cream into a 3 quart pot. In a separate small bowl, combine cornstarch with the 1/2 cup warm water and mix well so there are no lumps. Add the cornstarch mixture and the monk fruit sugar ( or sugar) to the pot and turn on the heat to medium. Using a whisk or a large spoon, stir until the mixture begins to thicken and bubble. Remove from heat immediately. Mix in the orange blossom water and rose water. Pour into a large pyrex, Corning ware, or individual glass containers of your choice. When cool, refrigerate for 24 hours. Top with crushed unsalted pistachio nuts before serving. 

Vivi's original recipe
3 cups milk ( not lowfat)
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup water
4 tablespoons corn starch
1 cup sugar 
2 tablespoons orange blossom water 
1 tablespoon rose water

My Notes: 
1. If you are ok using sugar, you can use 1 cup of sugar in the recipe.
2. I bought the 50 calorie refrigerated coconut milk at Whole Foods 
3. I bought the coconut cream in the refrigerator case at Whole Foods (2 T is 15 calories)
4. If you don't mind it dairy, you can use regular milk ( not low fat) and half and half. 

5. Go easy on the rose water if you are not familiar with it or leave it out and just use the orange blossom water. 

I've made other recipes using orange blossom water.
Try my mango and orange blossom popsicles that make a beautiful presentation . I also use orange blossom water (Mahzar) in a special family recipe for Special  lemonade, a watermelon, mint, and orange blossom water fruit salad, and beet and pomegranate salad. 

Shared on Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking where anyone can share a food related blog post. Come join in . 

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  1. That looks so creamy and inviting! I have no problem with dairy, but coconut milk tastes so much better :-)) Thanks for sharing, Judee.

  2. I have never heard of Mehalabeya...but already loving it...creamy and so fragrant with orange blossom water and rose kind of dessert.
    Thanks for the recipe Judee...hope you are having a fabulous week!

    1. Yes, and I love that it is exotic but so easy to make

  3. This really does look easy. I've had this in restaurants but never made it. Thanks for both recipes -- dairy and non -- I appreciate that. I too have a few recipes that use orange and/or rose water, so I like having another way to incorporate it into my cooking.

  4. Your friend’s entire menu sounds fabulous. Thanks for the very interesting recipe!

    best... mae at

  5. This looks absolutely delicious. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  6. The pudding looks delicious and I love that you made it vegan too. ;-)

    1. I've tasted it both ways and it tasted good both ways. I prefer not to eat dairy so I make it vegan. Everyone seems to LOVE it..

  7. This sounds wonderful Judee, and I'm looking forward to making it!

  8. Love the subtle flavors of rose water and orange blossom -- I don't use them enough! This looks delicious!

  9. This sounds so interesting! Thanks for sharing!

  10. I've bookmarked this so I can come back to it later! My family of six is gluten free and one of my boys is also dairy free as well. Thank you for making this vegan so we call all enjoy it! ~Adrienne (I found you on the Blogger’s Pit Stop #207.)

  11. It is a great recipe! I prefer coconut milk :)

  12. I love love love Persian desserts. Your version with cobnut milk has gotten perfect texture.

  13. It looks delicious! I've never used rose water, etc and want to try this, it looks so creamy good!

  14. I think I may have had a desert like this once before. And if the one I had is like the one you're presenting here, then I know that I'll be excited to try it. I've never had Orange Blossom and Rose Water together. I'm very interested to see what that's like.

  15. Hi Judee,
    This recipe looks so delicious and very comforting! Hope you are having a really good week and thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday!
    Miz Helen

  16. Your hydrangeas are beautiful! I've never heard of Mehalabeya but it looks and sounds really good.

    I want to watch How Do You Know. I love Reese Witherspoon and Owen Wilson.


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