Dessert/ Puddings & Custards/ Recipes

Muhallabia Pudding

So, last week we had a friend who was celebrating Ramadan over for dinner.

I wanted to make something REALLY delicious because I knew how hungry he would be {after fasting all day}. Slow cooker chicken tikka masala was a no-brainer. Adam had been asking for it again forever, and it’s one of our very favorite dishes. It would be easy to toss in the slow cooker first thing in the morning then transfer over to Adam’s house that evening. Done.

I did some research for dessert. Again, I wanted to make something really delicious and special because Omar had recently gone home for a weekend and brought me back some of his mom’s special homemade basboosa {an Egyptian treat made with semolina and coconut} after he found out how much I love sweets. I don’t have much experience making Middle Eastern food, even though I really love it.

Muhallabia is a Middle Eastern pudding that {Omar said} can also be made using ground rice. This version is probably a little more Americanized, and is essentially just an easy milk pudding, thickened with cornstarch and eggs, and flavored with cinnamon and cardamom. To me, it tasted just like snickerdoodles!

If you’ve never made homemade pudding before, now is your chance. This is a great one to start with because it’s so easy to throw together.  I promise, after you make homemade pudding once and realize how simple it is, you’ll never buy the packaged stuff again.

Unless you are making pistachio pudding cupcakes. In that case—totally acceptable.

We all loved this muhallabia pudding! It was perfectly creamy and tasted very comforting with all the vanilla and spices. I would love to experiment with this next time and use this pudding as a pastry cream piped inside chocolate cupcakes or something. Clearly I have ho-hos on my mind.

Go make this pudding!!! It’s be a perfectly lovely dessert after a falafel burger or two.

Muhallabia Pudding

slightly adapted from Moosewood Celebrates

serves 4

Print this Recipe!


1 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cardamom

4 cups milk

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tbsp butter

2 tsp vanilla extract


Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and cardamom in a large bowl. Add just enough of the milk to make a paste.

Pour the rest of the milk in a medium saucepot and turn the heat to medium. Add the sugar “paste” and the eggs. Mix well so that the sugar dissolves and there are no lumps. With the heat on medium, whisk constantly for 8-10 minutes until the mixture gets very thick. Remove from the stove and stir in the butter and vanilla. Mix until smooth.

Pour into glasses and place pudding in the fridge for about 3 hours, or until cold and thick. Serve with freshly whipped cream, blueberries or as is.


active time–15 minutes

total time–4 hours

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  • Michelle @ Eat Move Balance
    August 13, 2012 at 4:16 am

    I’ve never heard of this type of pudding, but the spices sound like something I’d really like. Reminds me of chai–which I love. 🙂

  • Anne
    August 13, 2012 at 4:26 am

    I. Love. Middle. Eastern. Food!
    I’ve never had a Middle Eastern Dessert before, I can’t wait to try this!

  • Molly @ RDexposed
    August 13, 2012 at 4:59 am

    Oooh. The mention of falafel. I am going to need a fix soon now.

  • rachel
    August 13, 2012 at 5:17 am

    thanks for reminding me of the slow cooker chicken tikka masala- i am SO excited for slow cooker season!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    August 13, 2012 at 5:30 am

    Mmm this sounds great! I used to live in the Middle East and always saw this on menus, but because I’m more of a savoury person rather than a dessert lover, I never tried it. Now I can make my own!

  • joelle (on a pink typewriter)
    August 13, 2012 at 5:45 am

    Looks good to me!

  • Kelly
    August 13, 2012 at 5:51 am

    Awesome!!! I think it is so cool that you are so willing to embrace other cultures, That makes me so happy.

  • Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots
    August 13, 2012 at 5:55 am

    I have never heard of this but it sounds good! I wish I had a slow cooker so I could make the chicken tika masal, soo good!

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks
    August 13, 2012 at 6:16 am

    I can’t pronounce it but I sure want it. I need the Moosewood Cookbook – every recipe I see adapted from it makes me hungry!

  • Heather Michelle
    August 13, 2012 at 6:18 am

    Gorgeous photos!!! Looks amazing.

  • amy walters, aDESIGNdock
    August 13, 2012 at 6:22 am

    This looks delightful Jenna. Your friends are the luckiest!

  • Beth
    August 13, 2012 at 6:34 am

    Creamy snicker doodles!!! – I’m in. Making that TODAY.

  • Em
    August 13, 2012 at 7:03 am

    I am definitely going to try this! My mom and I are going to visit friends on the last day of Ramadan as they close their fast. This would be a great dish to share! Thank you, Jenna.

  • jenna
    August 13, 2012 at 7:03 am

    this looks really interesting. such a different refreshing dessert.

  • Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray
    August 13, 2012 at 7:23 am

    Ooh, I’d love to try this! My boyfriend brought me back a bunch of cool spices from Turkey, and I think one of ’em might be cardamom. Intrigue!

  • Em (Wine and Butter)
    August 13, 2012 at 7:43 am

    I absolutely love that you tried to make something extra special for someone fasting during ramadan. This post really made me want to go out and cook something special for someone I love! xo

  • Lindsay @ Pinch of Yum
    August 13, 2012 at 7:49 am

    Love that you mix things up, Jenna! 🙂 I would make this just to say the name 100 times.

  • Keely (Sky Blue)
    August 13, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Oh this looks great!! I lived in Israel and Turkey for a few months so I always get excited about Middle Eastern recipes. Their food is incredible!!

  • Moni Meals
    August 13, 2012 at 8:15 am

    Interesting, I have not tried this before… Gasp! Thanks for the encouragement, I hope to make this as it looks scrumptious!

  • kitchen heiress
    August 13, 2012 at 8:24 am

    I would definitely have this for breakfast!
    will try it soon! 🙂

  • kim@hungryhealthygirl
    August 13, 2012 at 8:26 am

    Yum…if this pudding reminds you of snickerdoodles, I’m there!!

  • Caroline L.
    August 13, 2012 at 10:16 am

    This seems like a distant cousin of a chai in pudding form! It sounds so tasty, and the blueberries look wonderful!

    • jenna
      August 13, 2012 at 5:12 pm

      It is sort of like chai! I’m a huge fan of anything with cinnamon and vanilla in it, and this pudding fits the bill perfectly 🙂

  • Sonal
    August 13, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Oh my gosh this looks so refreshing and delicious 🙂 Yum!

  • Olviya
    August 13, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    This might be a silly question but could I sub 4 cups of fresh crushed tomatoes instead of canned for the tikka masala? I have an abundance of fresh tomatoes & it doesn’t feel right to buy canned (yet)..

    • jenna
      August 13, 2012 at 12:15 pm

      of course!

  • gia
    August 13, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    I def. crave pudding sometimes! Had no idea how easy it was to make- you are right! Thanks–

  • Roz
    August 13, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    YUMMMM! This looks absolutely delicious! You should post your creation on the In The Raw Au Natural food image app on Facebook. It just launched and is a fun little way to share delicious food photos with your family and friends. Check it out!

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    August 13, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    I absolutely love when you post fun, new, recipes like this! This is so unique and I’m sooooo going to try it!

    • jenna
      August 13, 2012 at 5:11 pm

      Thank you, Katrina!

  • Sandy @ RE
    August 13, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Hi, Jenna.

    This looks fabulous. I’d love to try it!

    Can you email me? I want to invite you to something fun!

    Sandy 🙂

  • Alli
    August 13, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    That looks great! Do you think almond milk would work?

    • jenna
      August 13, 2012 at 5:09 pm

      I do think almond milk would work, but be sure to use unsweetened almond milk or you’ll need to reduce the amount of sugar in the pudding recipe.

      • Beth
        August 14, 2012 at 10:59 am

        I used sweetened almond milk and decreased the sugar a bit. I also halved the recipe since I was just making it for myself. It turned out well, the texture is probably not as good/creamy as with milk and I have to say the color is not a good one, kind of gray/tan. Still tasted good though.

  • Emily @ Life on Food
    August 13, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    This does look easy! Pudding snickerdoodles. Yum, yum!

  • Gabby (Quest for Delicious)
    August 13, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    Awesome! I love learning about cuisine from other cultures. 🙂

  • Laura
    August 13, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    this looks incredibly simple, i’m surprised.
    i think this is a winner.

  • Yasmine
    August 13, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    I’m a fellow Bay Area-er who just happens to be Muslim, too, and have been following your blog for the past year. It was such a pleasant surprise to click over this morning to find a post referencing Ramadan! Thankyou for that, Jenna =) I haven’t made many Middle Eastern foods before, either, and am now wondering about all the different variations of this pudding. I think it would be so amazing with the addition of sliced almonds, and even some chopped-up dates!

    Dates are traditionally eaten at iftar, the breaking of the fast, and in the morning meal just before starting the fast as well. Medjool dates are my favorite — so big and juicy! I lovelovelove stuffing medjool dates with cream cheese, then adding pecans (or walnuts) on top. Delicious!

  • sahrish
    August 13, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Hi Jenna! I am also fasting during Ramadan. It is a very kind gesture for you to feed someone who is fasting. I really appreciate that you try all kinds of foods and learn about other cultures. I am a big fan of your blog for that reason! Hope you can make it out to Seattle for your book tour.

  • Beth
    August 14, 2012 at 5:57 am

    I made the pudding yesterday. I decided to use almond milk and it turned out great. It was sweetened so I decreased the sugar a bit.

  • Skylor @sprouthealthlifestyle
    August 15, 2012 at 6:54 am

    Awesome recipe! What do you think about making it with coconut milk? I can’t eat dairy but would love to try!

    • Pam
      August 19, 2012 at 6:51 pm

      I was just about to comment about coconut milk instead. I can’t eat dairy either. A friend told me the other day you can swap out regular dairy and use coconut milk for any recipe! I am eager to try this one too.