All Dressed In White A Mahalabia Tale - Eats and Treats by Tania Rebello | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

All Dressed In White A Mahalabia Tale - Eats and Treats by Tania Rebello

TDT | Manama                                        

The Daily Tribune –   

Concealed within its unassuming appearance is the unpretentious Middle Eastern dessert - Mahalabia. Renowned for its velvety texture and comforting essence of orange blossom, Mahalabia has captured the hearts of many.

Upon my first taste of this dessert, I was pleasantly surprised by its distinctive flavour. Infused with a subtle hint of orange blossom, the new floral profile was gentle and soothing, piquing my curiosity to learn more about this delightful pudding.

Also known as Muhallebi, Mahalabia’s name may be derived from the fact that it is a milk pudding, and ‘haleeb’ means milk. The history of this dessert, however, is quite fascinating.


Mahalabia originates from Persia, and in the 7th century, an Arab General named Al-Muhallab Ibn Abi Sufra had a Persian cook who served him the most delicious Persian milk pudding.

The general loved it so much that he named it after himself and called it Muhallabia. How remarkable to have a dessert named after you! Today, Mahalabia is a well-revered dessert that graces dinner tables during Ramadan, garnished with dried fruits.

It requires minimal ingredients and is quite effortless to prepare. While I am most familiar with the orange blossom-flavoured Mahalabia, I find a few other variations equally delectable.


Additional components are added to enrich the flavour of the milk-based pudding, with cornflour serving as a thickening agent, although some recipes use rice flour.

I highly recommend trying the classic orange blossom Mahalabia and a mango variation, as mangoes are currently in season. Other delightful flavours include cardamom and rose water.

So, are you team orange blossom, mango, rose, or cardamom? Give Mahalabia a try, and let your taste buds decide!