Desserts + Sweets Featured Recipe Index

Spice Pudding


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
3 cups water
50g rice flour
1/2 cup sugar (I use raw)
1 tsp ground caraway seed
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground aniseed/star anise
In a medium-sized pot, bring 2 cups of the water to the boil. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining1 cup of water with the rice flour until smooth. Combine the sugar and spices in a separate bowl and set aside.
Add the rice flour mixture to the boiling water, stir, and reduce heat to medium. Pour in half of the sugar mixture, continuing to stir until combined, then add the remaining sugar and keep stirring.
Simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens (until it thickly coats the back of a spoon, and until a small drop placed on a cold plate stays put when tilted).Audio pairing: The Beatles, “From Me to You”

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  • Reply Yara 26/03/2017 at 5:03 am

    What do you recommend I substitute the sugar with for a sugar-free diet?

  • Reply saina bondana 19/10/2012 at 12:52 pm

    Excellent blog.I really likes your blog.It can help any information.
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  • Reply Gerry @ Foodness Gracious 16/08/2012 at 8:02 pm

    Congrats Auntie Yas..any excuse to make dessert, right 😉

    • Reply Yasmeen 17/08/2012 at 6:29 am

      Babies are the best excuse 🙂

  • Reply foodycatAlicia 15/08/2012 at 8:14 pm

    Congratulations to your family! This looks like a delicious way to welcome him.

    • Reply Yasmeen 17/08/2012 at 6:28 am

      Thanks, Alicia! We’re thrilled.

  • Reply adrianfoodrehab 15/08/2012 at 12:23 pm

    There’s nothing like welcoming a new family member than with something comforting and close to the heart.

    • Reply Yasmeen 15/08/2012 at 1:59 pm

      Agreed 100%, Adrian. 100%.

  • Reply Bryan 15/08/2012 at 1:44 am

    I love the traditions described here. And can see how that comforting spiced pudding would bring a smile to the families involved. 

    • Reply Yasmeen 15/08/2012 at 3:08 am

      Thanks, Bryan. It’s important and fun to preserve traditions like these, especially since I live far away from my family. Plus, what greater celebration is there than a new baby!

  • Reply Teresa 14/08/2012 at 9:33 pm

    Congratulations! Nothing like a new life arriving to make us feel blessed and I love that you kept the tradition with Baby E.
    The dessert looks wonderful and sugests to taste even better… not sure where to find the spices in my country but I’ll look and give it a try. You are from such a rich Culture.
    Thank you for sharing!

    • Reply Yasmeen 15/08/2012 at 1:59 pm

      Thanks Teresa! I agree – some traditions are fun to keep alive (especially those involving food). I’m happy to help you find a retailer that can send you the spices if they’re not readily available in stores near you. 

  • Reply theviewfromGreatIsland 14/08/2012 at 7:26 pm

    Congratulations on the new baby!   This pudding looks wonderful, what a sweet  gesture towards your sister.  I love the little flower on top.
    I made sfeeha yesterday and will put it up on my blog tomorrow, with a link to you!

    • Reply Yasmeen 15/08/2012 at 1:46 pm

      Thank you! We’re all elated that he’s here, safe and sound and of course very cute. So glad to hear about your sfeeha, and thank you for linking back. Can’t wait to see it!

  • Reply Hannah 14/08/2012 at 5:55 pm

    I can make this even if there’s no new baby in my world, right? Because it looks delicious. Except I also am not quite in a position to cook properly right now!

    • Reply Yasmeen 15/08/2012 at 1:45 pm

      You are only in the position to explore and have way too much fun right now. I’ve been meaning to write you about your grand adventures… our paths are incredibly similar so we have much to talk about 🙂 So happy for you!

      • Reply Hannah 15/08/2012 at 6:00 pm

        Aw, thank you! I’d love to chat sometime – Utah has decided to cut off the internet where I’m living at present so my access is a bit sporadic, but would love to hear from you 🙂 xo

  • Reply Rosa May 14/08/2012 at 5:06 pm

    A deliciously spicy pudding! That is a wonderful combination of flavors.



  • Reply leaf (the indolent cook) 14/08/2012 at 1:04 pm

    Congratulations to your family! My sister just welcomed a baby boy recently, too. 😀
    Very pretty photos… the pudding looks beautiful. 

    • Reply Yasmeen 15/08/2012 at 1:39 pm

      Congratulations, auntie Leaf! Isn’t it a wonderful feeling? Hope your sister and baby are doing well.

  • Reply Paula @ Vintage Kitchen Notes 14/08/2012 at 12:29 pm

    What a wonderful tradition! And a delectable sounding pudding!

    • Reply Yasmeen 15/08/2012 at 1:38 pm

      Thank you, Paula! It really has a unique flavor – caraway is something I almost never cook with unless it’s for this special dish.

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