If you liked our Arabic rose pudding, we have another delicious Middle Eastern dessert for you: meghli. It's a light rice pudding packed with Lebanese spices and nuts — ready in a flash and perfect for a fancy dinner. Let's do it!
Meghli, also known as moghli or meghleh, is a simple Levantine dessert that consists of rice flour, cinnamon, caraway, and anise. The ingredients are cooked with water until thick and custard-like. Once cold, the puddings are topped with coconut flakes, pistachios, and other local nuts.
Unlike other custards, meghli doesn't include milk or eggs, meaning it's dairy-free and vegan by default. However, the classic recipe uses refined white sugar to sweeten the pudding. To make our version healthier, we swapped sugar with maple syrup, which weight-by-weight contains 40% fewer sugars. If you want, you can even make the recipe sugar-free using zero-sugar erythritol, a diabetic-friendly sweetener.
Meghli is also gluten-free as it's prepared with rice flour. Make sure you're using baking rice flour, which you should be able to find at the free-from section at the supermarket. If you use ground rice for this recipe, the pudding will be quite gritty and won't bind as well.
As for the spices, we couldn't find ground caraway and ground anise, so we used the whole seeds and pods instead. We packed them in a cheesecloth bag and let them steep in the boiling water. It's a great trick we've learned for our chai-spiced chocolate! But, if you can find the ground spices, then just add them right into the pot along with cinnamon.
You can prepare the puddings in less than 10 minutes and then let them cool down in the fridge. This is great if you need to make them in advance before your guests arrive. We're sure this Lebanese pudding will make everyone happy with its lovely combo of fresh coconut, crunchy nuts, warm cinnamon, and aromatic anise!