Meet malabi, the ever-present dessert proffered by most street hawkers and food vendors in Israel. Its fans liken the taste of malabi to a garden of roses, gently perfumed without being overpowering. Its defectors scrunch their noses and claim it tastes like dish soap. But whatever camp you have fallen into in the past, I urge you to give my vegan malabi with strawberry rose syrup and pomegranate arils a try – as a former malabi hater, I can state with confidence that its delicate flavour and sweet aroma will make a malabeliever out of ya (sorry, I just couldn’t help myself).
It’s hard to go a metre at a typical Israeli souk without hearing the calls proclaiming fresh, homemade malabi. Its ubiquitous combination of snow white custard and rosy syrup is a sight for sore eyes and overheated brows, who welcome this dessert’s cooling effect.
But traditional malabi is a deadly combination of heavy whole milk, cornstarch and obscene amounts of sugar. The rosy syrup floating on top is usually made with commercial food colouring, which no one needs, ever. Despite its misleading texture, it’s actually one of the heaviest desserts you can have on a hot summer’s day in Israel (except ice cream, but you gotta make exceptions). Most often, falling into temptation and purchasing said malabi from an Israeli street vendor will resort in stomach aches, blood sugar spikes and the need to take a long nap.
Thus enter my vegan malabi with strawberry rose syrup and pomegranate arils. Prepared on the basis of pure coconut milk, vegan malabi is much lighter in calories and flavour than its traditional dairy-laden cousin. In place of processed sugar, I sweeten my desert with coconut-flavoured stevia, thus highlighting its natural sweetness and lightness. For the syrup, I shun food colouring sugar and opt instead for strawberries and strawberry-flavoured stevia, which results in a beautiful and gently sweetened strawberry rose syrup.
And that, my friends, is how you get a dessert you can truly feel good about, on a hot summer’s day or otherwise.
This vegan malabi with strawberry rose syrup and pomegranate arils is another take away from my latest endeavour, the 5 O’clock at the Oasis Rosh Hashana celebration. Get the recipe for it on the Greeniche blog.
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I received monetary compensation in exchange for the recipe I developed for Greeniche. However, I am proud to only work with those companies whose products I truly love. And as always, all opinions expressed here are my own; you can always expect me to be honest with you guys!