Ice Cream

Arabic ice cream has a unique stretchy texture from the sahlab powder and light flavor from the mastic gum and blossom water. Also, due to the fact that it’s made only with milk instead of cream and eggs like typical ice cream, it has a lightness to it. Before you go crazy trying to hunt it down, I should mention that real sahlab powder is extremely difficult to find, so you can replace it with corn starch. Don’t skip the mastic gum, though as it is responsible for most of the unique flavor.


Makes about two pints
  • Whole milk
    • 4 cups
  • Sugar
    • 1/2 cup to 1 1/4 cup sugar, depending on how sweet you like it
  • Sahlab (or corn starch)
    • 3 tablespoons
  • Mastic gum
    • 1 chip or about 1/8 teaspoon
  • Orange Blossom or Rose water
    • 1 tablespoon
  • Pistachios
    • 1/2 cup


  1. Before starting, crush the mastic gum and about 1/2 teaspoon of sugar together with the back of a spoon.
  2. In a saucepan, warm the milk then remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, dissolve the sahlab or corn starch with some cold water.
  4. Slowly add the mixture to the milk, mixing the whole time.
  5. Return the pan to the heat and bring to a boil while continuing to mix.
  6. Dissolve the sugar into the milk mixture, it should be pretty thick at this point.
  7. Remove it from the heat, add the ground mastic and orange blossom or rose water, and put it in the refrigerator to cool, covered.
  8. Once cool, transfer to an ice cream maker. Freeze it in an airtight container.
  9. Serve with crushed pistachios on top.