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muhallabia (fragrant arabic milk pudding)
Most toddlers and pre-schoolers go through what I call "food moods." Foods they previously loved are suddenly rejected. Experts say this is perfectly normal and to be expected. The important thing is not to give up introducing a variety of foods. Instilling in them a love of diverse ingredients and a habit of being open to new flavors is what leads to a less-picky eater.
Muhallabia is a nice way to sneak in a little more milk and calcium into your child's tummy if they are having an off week with dairy. Flavoring milk is always an easy way to change things up and introduce new tastes. A pinch of cinnamon or cardamom and you have a brand new drink. Muhallabia is a traditional Arabic dessert dish, served during celebrations and after long fasts. Children love it for its flavor and natural sweetness. It is seasoned with orange blossom water and rosewater, two typical ingredients of the Middle East.
1/4 cup rice flour
3 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons ground almonds
1 teaspoon orange blossom water or rosewater
1. In a small bowl, mix together the rice flour with 1/2 cup of the milk. Mix well to avoid lumps.
2. Bring the remainder of milk and the sugar to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan. Then, lower heat to medium and add rice flour and milk mixture from step 1 along with the ground almonds. Stir constantly on medium-high heat for 5 minutes until a thick consistency forms.
3. Add orange blossom or rosewater and remove from heat. Let cool and serve warm or place in separate cups for individual servings and chill. Pudding will thicken quite a bit as it cools. You can easily adjust the consistency of this dish by adding more milk to thin it out. Adjust according to your little one's tastes.
Makes about 3 cups
Suitable for babies twelve months and older.
I don't generally advocate adding a lot of sugar to your baby's diet. This is a dessert that is not eaten frequently so I give in and add a little sugar. Adult-versions of this dish actually call for much more sugar. You can omit the sugar entirely if you wish. Orange blossom water and rosewater can be found in most Asian or Middle Eastern grocery stores.
For more ways to spice up baby and toddler food, please visit me at www.masalababyfood.com or on Facebook, www.facebook.com/masalababyfood