Walk into any house with a newborn in the Middle East and you are guaranteed to get a taste of this caraway pudding. It’s a comfort dessert food that has been traditionally served in celebration of the new baby, and it’s thought to help increase the milk supply for nursing women.
The pudding is simply called karaw-ya, the Arabic name for caraway, and it can be referred to as mughli.
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I’m not sure if caraway seeds alone, or the addition of rice and nuts, are the magic behind this pudding. While all three ingredients are listed on numerous breastfeeding support websites as foods to help boost breast milk supply, I haven’t been able to find scholarly articles–serious research–that support this claim.
Even if the dietitian in me can’t find the science behind this pudding, I don’t see why I can’t enjoy–and share–a delicious recipe that won’t do harm. Caraway seeds, as many other spices, are antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory effects. Topping a pudding with raw nuts is an excellent way to add some healthy fats–in moderation–to anyone’s diet.
The thickening starch in this pudding is the powdered rice. You can find it in Middle Eastern ethnic stores. Other alternative is infant rice cereal. Or, you can place some uncooked rice in a spice or coffee grinder.
- 4 c (8-oz) water
- 1/2 c powdered rice (use the same measuring cup you used for the water)
- 3 tbsp ground caraway seeds
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 4 tbsp sugar (more or less according to taste)
- Choose all or some of these for toppings: coconut flakes, raw pistachios, raw sliced almonds, raw chopped walnuts, or raw pine nuts
Combine all ingredients, except for the topping, in a pot on medium heat and stir continuously until the pudding thickens. When it does, lower the temperature and let it cook for another 10 minutes. Taste to adjust sweetness. You may want to add some water if it’s too thick for your preference.
Serve warm. Pour some of the pudding in a coffee or parfait cup. Sprinkle some coconut flakes, pistachios, almonds, walnuts, and/or pine nuts.
To eat: I like to stir my cup and mix the nuts so I get a crunch with every spoonful I eat.
To store: store in the refrigerator for up to one week. To reheat, pour caraway pudding in a microwave-safe cup and heat for about 1 minute until warm. Top with your favorite nuts.
To increase breast milk supply, I’ve been told to have at least one cup a day. Some ‘experienced’ women in my family even recommend few cups a day. One person said she thins the pudding a little and drinks it like tea without nuts several times a day. If you like it and want to eat more than a cup a day, limit the nuts so the fat calories don’t add up.
This pudding is not exclusively for nursing moms! Everyone can enjoy it. Would love to hear what you think if you try it!
Do you know of any foods that are touted to help increase breast milk supply? Write me a comment whether it’s something scientifically researched or a food that women in your family or culture have been using for generations.