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Malabi Dessert: A Timeless Sweet Staple

5 from 2 votes
Opal Oren – @opalester_oren
This malabi dessert is a timeless sweet staple, and we’ve added some plant based, sugar free and gluten free options for you to be able to adjust it to your liking.
Prep Time :10 minutes
Cook Time :10 minutes
Refrigeration Time :20 minutes
Total Time :40 minutes
Servings: 3


  • Small pot
  • Small saucepan


  • 830 milliliters milk / oat milk
  • 80 grams sugar / monk fruit sweetener
  • 85 grams butter / coconut butter or any other vegan butter you prefer
  • 85 grams flour / almond flour / coconut flour or all purpose gluten free flour
  • 3 tablespoons rose water

Malabi sauce:

  • 50 grams sugar / monk fruit sweetener
  • 100 grams water
  • 2 drops natural red food coloring / 1 teaspoon raspberry juice
  • 1 teaspoon rose water


  • Toasted coconut flakes
  • Salted or unsalted roasted pistachios, crushed


  • In a saucepan, heat the milk and sugar until it boils. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt the butter completely, then add all the flour and stir until smooth. Add the flour mixture to the boiling milk, along with the rose water, and stir until thickened, which should take about 7 minutes over medium heat. Pour into cups. Let it cool while you prepare the sauce.
  • For the sauce, combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and refrigerate. Serve the malabi with toasted coconut flakes and roasted pistachios on top.


malabi dessert recipe
Credit: Opal Oren

What is the origin of the Malabi dessert?

This beloved malabi dessert traces its origins to the Middle East and Mediterranean regions. It has a long and diverse history, with roots dating back to ancient times. Its name, “Malabi,” is derived from the Arabic word “malab,” which means “soft.” Historically, it was enjoyed by various cultures, including the Arabs, Persians, and Ottomans, who each contributed their unique twist to the recipe. Over the centuries, Malabi spread across the Middle East and Mediterranean, adapting to local tastes and ingredients. Its popularity transcended borders, and today, it is a cherished dessert in countries like Israel, Türkiye, Greece, and beyond, showcasing the rich culinary heritage of the region.

tips for achieving the perfect Malabi texture

To attain the ideal malabi texture, follow these essential tips. Firstly, ensure thorough stirring while cooking the flour mixture into the milk and sugar base. This prevents lumps and guarantees a smooth consistency. Secondly, simmer the mixture over medium heat, being patient as it thickens, usually taking around 7 minutes. Avoid high heat to prevent scorching. Once poured into cups, allow it to cool at room temperature before refrigerating. This gradual cooling helps the malabi set properly. Lastly, when serving, opt for fresh and high-quality rose water, as its fragrance enhances the dessert’s flavor. Attention to detail and patience are key to achieving the perfect malabi texture.

prepare rose water for your Malabi dessert at home

To prepare rose water for malabi, you’ll need fresh, fragrant rose petals free of pesticides. Begin by rinsing the petals to remove any impurities. In a heat-resistant bowl, place a heatproof saucer upside down at the bottom. Spread the rose petals evenly on the saucer. Add distilled water to the bowl, ensuring it covers the saucer, but doesn’t touch the petals. Place a heatproof lid or an inverted bowl on top of the main bowl. Then, simmer on low heat. As the water evaporates and condenses on the lid, it forms droplets of rose water, which collect and trickle down into a clean container placed below. This homemade rose water can infuse your Malabi with authentic floral essence.

malabi dessert recipe
Credit: Opal Oren

Can I make this Malabi in advance?

Yes, this is an excellent make-ahead dessert. Once it’s prepared and set in serving cups, cover them with plastic wrap or lids and refrigerate. Malabi can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days without losing its quality or texture. When ready to serve, you can add the toppings.

malabi dessert recipe
Credit: Opal Oren

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