Monday, September 5, 2016

Bibi's Labaniah (Saudi Milk and Pistachio Candy)

Hi, I'm Bibi and I'm honored to do a recipe guest post on Alex's blog today! 
If you'd like to learn more about me please check out my interview here or visit my blog Keep Calm & Curry On.

From Saudi Arabia comes this sweet treat. Indian Muslims on Hajj brought milky mithai with them on their pilgrimage to Mecca. The Saudis liked the traditional Indian sweets so much they made their own version! Humble milk powder is transformed into delectable morsels with the rich flavors of saffron, cardamom, and pistachios in this recipe.

When I first tasted labaniah as a gift from a friend who had visited Saudi Arabia I thought they tasted a lot like doodh peda or kalakand (the traditional Indian fudge like milk sweets.) A little research proved I was right! Labaniah was most certainly inspired by milk sweets brought by Indian Hajj pilgrims on their visit to Mecca. I found the original recipe for this candy on Nestle's Saudi Arabian website. I thought it was a bit too sweet so I halved the sugar. I also wanted to make it a bit luxe and a tad more Indian so I added some Kashmiri saffron. The result was scrumptious! So simple to make but elegant enough to serve with afternoon tea, as dessert at a posh dinner party, or for Eid al-Adha this month.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp lemon/nimbu juice
Seeds of 5 green cardamoms/elaichi, ground finely
8 to 10 strands of saffron (optional)
1/4 cup pistachio nuts, chopped finely
4 cups full cream milk powder (I used Verka)
Extra whole pistachios for garnishing

Here's what to do:
1) Place sugar, water, lemon juice, cardamom, and saffron in a medium saucepan. Stir and bring to a simmer over medium heat low heat for 4 minutes or until it turns into a thick syrup. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

2) Add 2 cups of milk powder and chopped pistachios to cooled syrup and stir until well combined. (I used an electric stand mixer).

3) Gradually add the rest of the milk powder and stir until a stiff dough forms. Add more milk powder if necessary.

4) Form the dough into small smooth balls. (I used a tablespoon sized scoop as you can see in the photo to get uniform amounts of dough.) Garnish by pressing one whole shelled pistachio into each ball. Keeps well in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer for up to one week.

Helpful Hints:
Labaniah tastes like doodh peda but has a slight chewy texture, not fudgy like kalakand or malai burfi. 

To make the labaniah taste even more Indian and add a bit of intrigue - try wetting your hands with a few drops of kewra or rose water when rolling the dough.

And here's me all glammed up Arabian style! I think Alex and I could pass for sisters. What do you think? Ya Habbibi!

I hope you enjoy this recipe and do come visit me at Keep Calm & Curry On for more culinary fun!

Calmly currying on,



  1. Ohh this seems simple enough to try. The pics look very tempting.

    And Bibi, I must add, you are gorgeous! That make up is very well done too :)

    1. Thank you Pepper!
      It is a very easy recipe & sooo yummy.
      My niece in Srinagar did my all my makeup in this photo for Eid al Fitr. I think she did a wonderful job!


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