Mahalabia – Middle Eastern Dessert (Guest Post)

This is a guest post from my sister Yiew Lee, all the way from Kingston, South Australia. She’s a pharmacist by trade (and yes, we are a typical Asian family) and she shares the same cooking passion with me. However she is blessed with a sweet tooth and tends to make more desserts than Your truly. And I already have a few requests for a dessert post. Rather than waiting ages for me to finally crave for desserts (I’m more of a savoury person. Hah!) I figured it’s time to entrust this blog on my sister’s hands… well not quite since I still have editing rights. Although I don’t really approve of her fishing out my profile pic for a comparison….  But I’m willing to look past that because I’m apparently OLDER. Hmmrphh!

Hopefully you’ll see more posts from her since I believe her cooking effort is definitely worth sharing. You can take a look here for more of her delectable creations. 

So here goes: 

You know how some of the siblings – brothers with eyebrows that angle the same way when they laugh, sisters with the cherry lips that curve to the same degree when they smile – you could just tell from the resemblances that they are siblings. Put us two together though, most would agree that we look and act nothing like sisters.

The Siew Sisters

And don’t you DARE say I look older.

Cooking, however, is one and probably the only passion we share in common. I was invited (or rather, instructed) by my sister to share a recipe on her blog, so I might as well take the bully as a glory and write one. This dessert recipe was inspired from My Kitchen Rules Australia 2012 – Mixed berries mahalabia.

Mahalabia (editor’s note: the name never fails to make me laugh.. yes I know I have a dirty mind) is a traditional Middle Eastern pudding dessert with the base made of milk, corn starch and sugar, flavoured with different sorts of nuts, spices, essences or fruits. Think a cross between panna cotta and crème brulee. It’s probably the kind of dessert that every Egyptian family has their own little twists.

An example of traditional Mahalabia

The description and the look of it have fascinated me enough to ignore any physiological jokes that might incur from its name.

So the recipe:-

Mixed berries Mahalabia

60g frozen mixed berries
1/2 tbs honey
500mL milk
110g caster sugar
3 tbs corn flour
1 tbs water

Sugar syrup
125g punnet chopped strawberries and some whole strawberries for decorations
110g caster sugar
60ml water
60g frozen berries

Vanilla cream (optional)
60ml cream
1 tbs icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

For the mahalabia, stir the berries with honey in a small saucepan until smooth and sexy then set aside. Heat milk and sugar until just coming to boil. Mix the corn flour with water then add to the milk mixture until it thickens and boil. Stir in the berries, then divide into little glasses or ramekins (I used shot glasses) to be refrigerated until set.

For the syrup, simmer the chopped strawberries with water and sugar until it thickens.

The cream should be fairly self-explanatory – mix the ingredients and whip them to the consistency of, well, whipped cream!

To plate up, simply top the syrup on the mahalabia, and serve the whipped cream on the side

My mixed berries Mahalabia

And my not-so-successful attempt to plate it up with a little bit more finesse:-

Mixed berry mahalabia – Deconstructed version

This mahalabia screams and celebrates berries. I love how the hint of honey breaks the flavour away from tasting just entirely berries, and how the cream cuts through the sourness of the syrup.

Or in a corny way to say it – this is a BERRY nice dessert!

5 Comments Add yours

  1. clevermunkey says:

    It looks better than the traditional Mahalabia! Yumz! 😀

  2. missyblurkit says:

    it looks yummy. love the colours:D now to come to the day that i actually will try my hands on making dessert:P

    1. kellysiew says:

      Hehe you should! It’s a lot of fun!

  3. Ames says:

    Looks delightful and so pretty! Yay for sisters that you can share a love of cooking with :).

    Btw Kelly, I have awarded you the much deserved Lovely Blog Award 😀
    Check it out here:

    Cheers 🙂

    1. kellysiew says:

      Thank you so much!! I’ll work on it today 🙂

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