Our family just got bigger. 2.9 kilograms bigger.
Just yesterday, my sister and her husband welcomed their second child into the world: a tiny, snoozy baby boy! Mom and babe are both healthy and beautiful. Of course, we aunties, uncles, grandparents and onlookers are over the moon and can’t wait to meet him. With the good news in tow, there was only one thing left to do: make moghli.
Moghli is a Middle Eastern spice pudding traditionally prepared when a new baby is born, and served to guests (or hungry family members) as they drop by to visit the little one. Built simply with rice flour, water and ground aromatics, the mixture is stirred and simmered, then topped with any mix of shredded coconut and nuts – usually almonds, walnuts or pine nuts – softened in water and orange blossom.
For a bit of fun, my sister and I decided to whip up a batch when her first son was born three years ago. As her due date approached this time, it was only right for Baby E to have some made in his honor, too.
For it to be truly authentic, moghli must be flavored with its three signature spices: ground cinnamon, aniseed and caraway, of which caraway is the most prominent.
On her blog Taste of Beirut, Joumana suggests that in addition to being served to guests, moghli was also given to the new mother to make her strong. Considering the health benefits of its three main spices, it seems this tradition is on to something: cinnamon is a powerful antioxidant, aniseed an effective antibacterial, and caraway a soothing digestive.
The “secret” is low heat and constant stirring. My test for doneness is for the pudding to coat the back of a spoon, like a thick porridge, and for it also not to budge when a small dot is placed on a cold plate and tilted (similarly to testing jam).
Makes 3-4 small bowls; Quantities adjusted from Taste of Beirut