Muhalabia, a white custard-like dessert topped with pistachios, roasted almonds, peanuts, baby roses or cinnamon, is a light dish that Arabs enjoy eating after iftar during Ramadan.
It is believed that the cold dessert arrived in Saudi Arabia through Shami or Egyptian people who came to perform Hajj or Umrah, or to trade.
There are three stories of the origin of muhalabia.
The first says it is named after a man called Yazeed bin Al-Muhalab, who lived during the Umayyad dynasty. He is said to have asked his servants to invent a dessert that holds his name so that he would be remembered.
The second story says that muhalabia is derived from “haleeb,” which means milk, as the dish is mainly made from dairy. The last story says it is named after the mahaleb tree because the tree core was once used as an ingredient in the dish.
Muhalabia is popular across the Arab world, but with the rise of veganism and lactose intolerance, some people avoid eating the sweet dish for moral and health purposes.
Our recipe, however, is designed to allow everyone to enjoy the dessert worry-free.
To make vegan muhalabia, you need two and a half cups almond milk, three tablespoons sugar, four tablespoons corn starch, one teaspoon rose water, one teaspoon orange blossom water, one-quarter teaspoon mistika powder, and pistachios or rose petals to garnish.
First, mix the sugar, corn starch and mistika powder in a medium-sized pot, then add the almond milk, rose water and orange blossom water, and stir at low heat until thickened.
Pour the mixture into small bowls and refrigerate for 90 minutes.
After the custard sets, top it with pistachios or rose petals and serve it to your beloveds.