Malabi, Milk Jelly in Rose Syrop

This favorite cold and wobbly Israeli or Middle Eastern dessert is sold from vending carts in small aluminum containers cooled over ice cubes. Traveling Malabi vendors can be found all over Israel-on the beaches, at soccer games, and in the main bus station in every town. It has become so popular that today it is sold in the supermarket in modern plastic packages; it is even served in luxurious restaurants, the jelly swimming in a rose-scented red syrup. In the Ottoman’s time people were already eating Malabi.


There are three ways of preparing Malabi: with water, with milk, or with sweet cream. This version uses cream.


For the jelly:

  • 3 cups (750 ml) whole milk
  • 1 cup (250 ml) cream
  • 2/3 cup (100 g) cornstarch

For the syrup:

  • 2 cups (400 g) sugar
  • 1 cup (250 ml) water
  • ½ teaspoon red food coloring
  • Juice of ½ 1emon
  • 2 drops rose water extract
  • 2- 3 tablespoons pistachio nuts, peanuts, or roasted salted almonds, coarsely chopped
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt

  1. Put the milk, sweet cream, and cornstarch into a pot and bring to the boil.
  2. Lower the heat and simmer, stirring continuously, until the mixture thickens.
  3. Pour into individual souffle dishes or bowls.
  4. After it cools, place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or until it jells and chills.
  5. Put the water and sugar into a saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolves.
  6. When it boils, lower the heat and cook for another 20 minutes, stirring all the while.
  7. Toward the end of the cooking, add the food coloring.
  8. Allow to cool, add the lemon juice and rose water extract, and mix.
  9. To serve, tum each jellied Malabi out on a plate and pour a generous serving of the red syrup over it.
  10. Sprinkle over the nuts and serve.

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