Mahalabiya is a Arabic/Middle Eastern milk custard pudding that is very easy to make and often eaten as a dessert for iftar. In Malaysia, Mahalabiya often found in Arabic cuisine restaurants. And if you are an avid fan of Arabic cuisine (as I am), you'd probably come across 2 different version of Mahalabiya; one without rice (custard) and another with rice. Well, I did :-).
It requires very basic ingredients, ever ready in your kitchen. Milk, sugar and cornstarch. And rosewater for authentic taste. Very basic right? Now, how do we go about making the pudding? It's not rocket science I promise you. Pejam mata pun boleh buat. It took 20 minutes the most until the custard mixture thickens while you keep stirring. Pour into cups and leave in the fridge for an hour the most. A trick to share, if you need to serve the pudding cepat atau rasa tak sabar nak makan; just chill the cups/glass in the fridge before you pour the custards in to it. (^_*)
Mahalabiya that I made the other day topped with passion fruit juices. The tartiness from the passion fruit juices balanced the sweetness of the pudding. Tapi saya boleh je makan pudding begitu saja. Takde lah manis sangat. Barangkali bau wangi dari rosewater tu yang stimulate deria kita untuk rasa lebih manis.
The other version of Mahalabiya yang ada rice itu menyerupai a famous English traditional dessert iaitu rice pudding. Beras dimasak bersama susu hingga hancur. Diberi rasa manis gula dan rosewater. Sedikit berbeza dengan English rice pudding apabila ianya diperisakan dengan serbuk kayu manis dan dipekatkan dengan penambahan telur. I've made the English rice pudding many many years back. And I like both. The English version yang sangat lemak dan manis. Serta the lighter version of Arabic rice pudding (because it adds no egg, it is lighter in taste I can eat 2 bowl at a time!!!).
I made my Mahalabiya according to the recipe here. Kalau tak ada rosewater you can substitute with a small drop of rose essence. Ingat ye, just a small drop of rose essence sebab essence lebih pekat nanti flavour dia overwhelming terasa macam telan minyak wangi!!!