Malabi And Sütlaç: Two Exquisite Middle Eastern Rice Puddings

When talking about rich gastronomy, what immediately comes to mind is one of the most transcendent ones: Middle Eastern’s.

Middle Eastern cuisine is known all around the world for its wide range of flavors and seductive scents created by the combination of ingredients, some people would even call aphrodisiacs, such as dried fruits, cinnamon, cloves, and other spices.

This rich gastronomy is also distinguished by the wide variety of dishes and ingredients, as well as the combination of different styles that can be found throughout the Middle East.

Thanks to the fact that most of the countries in this region of the world speak the same language, Arabic, it is possible to find a lot of variations of the same dish according to the country you are in. However, those variations keep the essence of this cuisine style.

Rice Popularity In Middle Eastern Cuisine

Being such a popular and well-known food around the world, it is natural that white rice has been included in the long list of ingredients that Middle Eastern people love to use to prepare their delicious dishes and desserts. If we look around in history books, we will realize that it was the Arabs who were the first ones to bring rice from Asia, starting the spread of rice around the world.

Today, there is an almost endless list of rice variations and an even longer list of recipes that we can prepare with rice, for instance those you can find here:

In Middle Eastern cuisine, particularly in Israel and Turkey, rice flour is one of the most famous rice presentations. It is a type of flour obtained from grinding the raw rice without shell and can be used for the elaboration of many dishes, but in this part of the world, it is traditionally used to make a wide variety of desserts.

Among the many rice-based desserts you can find in Turkey and Israel there are two rice puddings quite popular:

  • Malabi
  • Sütlaç

You would probably want to try these desserts at home, so you can find a recipe for each one below:

Malabi Recipe

Famous for being sold at the Damascus Gate in the old part of Jerusalem, you can find it all over Israel. You should definitely give it a try on your Israel trip. See how to prepare it:

For the cream:

  • 1/5 cup of cornstarch.
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 cups of whole milk.
  • 1/3 cup of icing sugar.

For the syrup:

  • ¼ cup of icing sugar.
  • ¼ cup of water.
  • 3 or 4 dried, edible rosebuds.

Cream preparation:

  1. Thoroughly dilute the cornstarch in water with the sugar, taking good care no lumps form.
  2. Heat the milk and when it begins to boil, add the water/cornstarch mix.
  3. When it begins to thicken, divide it into different cups as a broulé crème.
  4. Use a piece of aluminum foil to cover and let it cool.

Syrup preparation:

  1. Mix the water with the rosebuds and the sugar.
  2. Heat and let boil for about ten minutes to concentrate a little.
  3. Remove from the heat and strain. Reserve.

To serve the malabi, pour some syrup over it and garnish with sliced or chopped walnuts or coconut if desired.

Sütlaç Recipe

Sütlaç is a well-known Turkish dessert. Even though it has only a few ingredients, it has become one of the most desirable rice puddings among the country’s residents and visitors.


  • 1 ½ cup of rice.
  • 6 cups of milk.
  • 2 cups of water.
  • 1 tbsp. of vanilla.
  • 1 tbsp. of cornstarch.
  • 1 egg yolk.
  • 1 ½ cup of sugar.
  • Cinnamon.


  1. First, take a pan and turn on the kitchen at medium-low temperature.
  2. Pour the rice into the saucepan and then the water.
  3. Add the sugar, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon to the rice over a lower heat, so they cook slowly for about 20 minutes.
  4. Take a cup and mix the cornstarch with some water. Stir well.
  5. Add the cornstarch mixture to the rice with the milk and let cook for 5 more minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Pour the rice into a bowl and put into the oven.
  8. Wait until the top of the preparation gets a brownish color and remove from the oven.
  9. After the preparation is at room temperature, put it to cool in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.
  10. Sprinkle cinnamon on top, and serve with a spoon.
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