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Milk Pudding with Mastic Gum; Damla sakizli muhallebi

Milk pudding with mastic gum; the rhubarb compote goes really well with it.

End of Ramadan is always celebrated with wonderful sweet treats at home.  My dear cousin, Nihal, made us this delicious milk pudding with mastic gum, as part of these festivities in Istanbul back in August. Delicious, light and fragrant, this milk pudding has been a favorite treat for us  all.

Chewy, fragrant mastic gum adds a wonderful flavor to the puddings.

In Turkey mastic gum is used in milky desserts, ice cream (a very delicious experience), and, naturally, chewing gum. Originally liquid, mastic gum is sold as hard small translucent lumps and melted in hot milk while making dessert. It can also be grounded with mortar and pestle. As it has a strong flavor, only one or two small lumps will be enough for your cooking.

Turkish ice cream with mastic gum is a delicious experience

Mastic is a resin obtained from the mastic tree. In pharmacies and Nature shops it is called “Arabic gum” and “Yemen gum”. In Greece it is known as the “tears of Chios,” being traditionally produced on that Greek island. When chewed, the resin softens and becomes a bright white and opaque gum. The flavor is bitter at first, but after chewing releases a refreshing, slightly piney or cedar flavor. It contains antioxidants, and also has antibacterial and antifungal properties, and apparently also good for your gums and teeth.  You can get mastic gum at TulumbaAmazon as well as at Middle Eastern Stores.

I got some lovely rhubarb from my veg&fruit box and made a rhubarb compost to go with the pudding. Rhubarb’s sweet and sour taste really complemented the pudding.  Any berry or plum compote would also go well with this pudding.

Have you ever used mastic gum in your cooking? I would love to hear your experience and hope you enjoy this one!


Serves 4                               Cooking time: 30 minutes

70gr /2.6oz unsalted butter

3 tbsp plain flour

3 tbsp sugar – you can add a little more if you like it sweeter-

700ml/1 ½ pints whole milk – you can use semi skimmed if you like, though it works best with whole milk-

2 small pieces of mastic gum

1 tbsp finely crushed pistachios to decorate


Stir well so that the mastic gum dissolves in hot milk.

Bring the milk to the boil in a heavy pan.  Reduce the heat, stir in the sugar and the mastic gum. Stir constantly until the mastic gum dissolves. Take it off the heat.

Stir the mixture constantly, always in the same direction, to avoid lumps forming.

Melt the butter in a heavy pan and stir in the flour, combine well.  Add a cup of hot milk mixture to the flour and stir constantly,  always in the same direction, to avoid lumps forming . When the mixture thickens add another cup of the hot milk mixture, stir until it thickens. Repeat this process until the hot milk is finished and the mixture thickened.

Pour the pudding into individual bowls and leave to cool. Once cool, place the bowls in the fridge to be chilled.

Rhubarb Compote

This is a very easy and versatile rhubarb compote. It is wonderful served with the milk pudding, ice cream or yoghurt. I must say, I even love eating the compote just alone too!

Trim and cut the rhubarbs into 2-3 cm chunks and mix with the sugar and water.

Simply mix your  rhubarb (6 sticks would serve generously for 4-6 people), trimmed and cut into 2-3cm chunks, with 1/2 cup of sugar and ¾ cup water in a heavy pan. Cook them over a medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, until they are soft. Leave a side to cool.

You can layer the rhubarb compote over the chilled milk pudding bowls. Sprinkle the crushed pistachio nuts over them, they are ready for your enjoyment.


Afiyet Olsun!




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19 Responses to Milk Pudding with Mastic Gum; Damla sakizli muhallebi

  1. Alida September 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm #

    this dessert looks really nice. Rhubarb is a very nice fruit. I still have some in the garden but it struggles to grow now. The season is nearly ending.
    Thank you for this beautiful post. Have a good Sunday.

    • Ozlem September 23, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

      Ciao Alida; rhubarb is so versatile isn’t it, love its sweet and sour taste. Hope you have better luck growing them next time – your veg garden looks lovely!

  2. Peri September 24, 2012 at 3:56 am #

    This pudding looks so good…and homely:) I must experiment more with rhubarb…thanks for giving me a great place to start!

    • Ozlem September 24, 2012 at 8:47 am #

      So glad it inspires Peri, and thanks a million to you again for teaching me how to add title to my photos : )! xx Ozlem

  3. Saei September 24, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

    Merhaba Ozlemcim,

    I love this recipe!
    And I love the way you share the information about the health benefits of the ingredients…
    I recently found out about the benefit of mastic gum for teeth, I had problems and I always love to use natural things or herbs so I chew it as gum 🙂
    That was good to read about it here too because I’m sure now…
    And rehubarb compote!…I love it soooo much but I’ve never eaten it with pudding…

    It’s delicious and has a nice view, saying: Hadi,yesene beni! 🙂
    Cok guzeldi, haftaya bekliyorum sabirsizla…

    My best regards
    Saei 🙂

    • Ozlem September 24, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

      Merhaba Saei 🙂
      That’s really kind of you, many thanks for your lovely comment! I am glad the health benefit info on mastic gum was useful; I love a delicious ingredient also being good for us! hope you can have a go at the recipe sometime, many thanks again!

  4. Phil in the Kitchen September 24, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

    I love the look of this – such a beautiful contrast of colours. I’ve never used mastic gum, but I did suggest to my wife that we might try some in a pudding a while ago. She really wasn’t keen and afterwards I realised that it’s because the word ‘mastic’ is used for a builder’s sealant and glue. Understandably, that could be a bit off-putting. I should have used a different word.

    • Ozlem September 25, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

      That’s a great story Phil, I don’t blame your wife, it would put me off too!: ) Joke a side, just a one or two little mastic does add a wonderful flavor to the puddings and transforms to a whole new level, I hope you get a chance to experiment sometime. I loved the contrast of colors too, and the tart & sweet rhubarb really complements the pudding.

  5. Peri September 25, 2012 at 2:13 pm #

    Hello dear Ozlem,
    You have received the ‘Very Inspiring Blogger’ and ‘Blog on Fire’ Award. Congratulations! Keep those posts coming…Love Peri.
    Read here:

    • Ozlem September 26, 2012 at 8:37 am #

      That’s very kind of you Peri, thank you so much : ) so impressed with all these wonderful awards for you, well done, well deserved : )

  6. artemis November 13, 2013 at 10:18 pm #

    Hello Ozlem,

    I love this recipe! And I also love how you talk about what each ingredient is…

    I wanted to make a note of something – the only “mastic” that is antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory with health benefits is Chios Mastiha which is protected by the EU. There is a cooperative protecting and regulating it’s trade and people should look for their seal when purchasing in order to ensure they are getting the authentic product. I notice you like to educate your readers so I thought this may be helpful…

    Thanks for the great recipe!


    • Ozlem Warren November 14, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by and for this info on mastic, a learning for me too. Best wishes, Ozlem

  7. Ana January 31, 2014 at 12:05 pm #

    This sounds delicious.
    I had a fantastic pekmez pudding at Imbat in Istanbul. I was wondering if you had a recipe for pekmez milk pudding by any chance? Thanks.

    • Ozlem Warren January 31, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

      Thank you Ana, I haven’t made pekmez milk pudding yet, though sounds delicious, must try sometime – thank you for stopping by!

  8. Sabin December 13, 2016 at 3:54 pm #

    I am from Romania and tried it. It is fabulous. I just have a question: can we use hojary frankincense, that is clear resin of The Boswellia Sacra? Thank you Ozlem!

    • Ozlem Warren December 13, 2016 at 10:07 pm #

      Merhaba Sabin, many thanks for your kind note, so glad you enjoyed it – I haven;t used the resin you mentioned I am afraid so not sure how it would turn out – you could try on a small partion to see perhaps? best wishes, Ozlem

  9. Ember October 9, 2017 at 4:09 am #

    I used a stick of butter hoping for the best because nobody uses ounces. We use tablespoons for measuring butter. I also had to look up the conversion from pints to cups because nobody uses that either. Please use standard measurements in your recipes.

    • Ozlem Warren October 9, 2017 at 4:09 pm #

      Merhaba, thank you for stopping by – actually, a big chunk of the world population uses the metric system, though i try to provide cup equivalent whenever I can too. Hope you enjoy the recipe, best wishes, Ozlem


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