Rose Pudding with Cardamom Syrup and Rhodiola & Pistachio Crumble

rose cardamom rhodiola pudding

Photo: Sulin Sze 2022               

Making a sweet, dreamy and healthy treat with loving intention is what this recipe is all about. Let’s find our way to our collective heart with Rose, and build our inner resilient warrior with Rhodiola.  The perfume of Roses, Cardamom and Rhodiola will fill the sacred air around you, and you’ll find your heart opening, as you move step by step through the recipe. This is my favourite place people, my kitchen is my garden today and I’m ready to smell the flowers. So read on to find out how to make the ultimate herb-lovers dessert, with Rose, Cardamom and Rhodiola.

I have to first acknowledge the inspiration for this recipe. The creamy pudding is based on ‘malabi’, a centuries-old Israeli dessert enjoyed throughout the Middle East, Turkey and the Mediterranean.(1) . Its also known as Muhalabia in Arabic culture.(2) Often  its simply a matter of cooking flour into almond milk, and you can really adapt this to suit your own taste. You’ll find original recipes incredibly sweet, using cream, sometimes condensed milk and white sugar. I prefer a milder sweetness, it’s just as dreamy and delicious. Perhaps you like a creamier milk, or you want to go nut-free, or you just want to use what’s in the pantry. The milk I used wasn’t a creamy almond, it was one that I wanted to use up. You know the feeling! But I was keen to try this again using my all-time favourite Califia Farms oat barista blend.

How the precious Rosa spp (Rose) can bring us back into our hearts


In Ayurveda roses are a devotional Puja (ritual) flower, the flowers of love, resonating with the heart chakra.(4) Known as Shatapatri, they’re used for their cooling and haemostatic (prevents bleeding) qualities.(3) This means that rose petals can assist with heaty and inflamed conditions and have a soothing and calming effect on tissues. The aroma of rose petals is also cooling and calming on the mind, in the subtle realm with rose being used as a nervine (herb for treating nervous system conditions).(4) This is why I love rose petals in calming, convalescence herb mixes. I made one just today, with herbs like Licorice and Ashwagandha, with rose petals and Blue Cornflowers thrown in. This cooling effect has the benefit of dampening down any anxiety, hysteria, irritability and angst, and these are the things that wear us down when we’re under stress.  

Rose petals are particularly well suited to the female reproductive system, helping with conditions of excess bleeding with their combination of tonifying and astringent actions. Fresh petals are boiled in water, and the steam is captured in a second vessel, making rose water.(4) This is what we’re using the in the pudding mix today.

In this pudding recipe, rose water infuses into a base of milk. Whatever milk you choose you’ll get a nourishing and revitalizing effect, because of the qualities of milk as a medicine – sweet, rebuilding the body, nourishing the essence of the body.(4)

Some of the therapeutic uses of rose petals are:

  • To assist in fever management with rose water sprinkled over the head and face
  • Menstrual issues to relieve congestion and dry heat
  • Eye diseases as an eye wash
  • To nourish the heart and calm anxiety

A 2016 literature review found numerous recorded benefits of rose petals for everything from reducing pain, to improving sexual dysfunction, to relieving anxiety and even as an anti-depressant.(5) These relate to the Ayurvedic applications of rosewater, rose oil and rose petal infusions to nourish the heart, lift the emotions and calm anxiety.(4)

A 2021 systematic review looking at the Rosa damascena Mill. species for anxiety found that rose had a significant effect on situational anxiety reduction, but may be less effective in trait anxiety (chronic anxiety tendency). The study also found notable reductions in depression and stress.(6)

rose cardamom rhodiola pudding

That crumble at the front is really something else 🙂 Photo: Sulin Sze 2022

Why we all need Rhodiola rosea L. (Rhodiola) right now


This high-altitude surviving Eurasian arctic native is definitely one of my preferred adaptogens (meaning, supporting the long term stress and recovery response in the adrenals and nervous system). It feels like the past few years with raging bushfires, floods, COVID-19 and lockdowns etc were a real load on our adrenals. Those small glands sitting on our kidneys, pulsing out hormones to keep us functioning in a world that’s can sometimes be so cold, harsh and unpredictable. This is the plant to turn to when we need to become warrior people. It manages to thrive in the coldest, harshest, windiest and most unforgiving conditions. Somehow, it manages to flower. That’s inspiring.

In Chinese medicine it’s called hong jing tian and used to restore life force ‘qi’. A particular quality that makes Rhodiola suited for these times of confusion and chaos is its pacifying effects on Vata dosha. In the West, we live and work and operate with this constant momentum and we often find ourselves living in our heads, ungrounded and un-centred. These are characteristics of vata excess, so we need vata-pacifiers to bring us back a sense of ease and peace.

Like Rose, Rhodiola has an astringent puckering effect on the tongue when ingested, and an antidepressant effect. What it really stands out for though, is its ability to restore and strengthen a stressed-out body and mind. Its therapeutic effects extend to the mental realm, improving cognitive function, memory, focus and mood. A 2020 systematic review found Rhodiola significantly reduced mild to moderate depression and anxiety and enhanced mood.(7)  The antioxidant and anti-ageing actions of Rhodiola were noted in a 2017 study which found Rhodiola could reduce stress-induced oxidative damage in the body, in areas including the brain. It’s therapeutic applications span metabolic disorders, cardiovascular disease, depression, cognitive and neurodegenerative diseases, infertility and more.(8)

How Elettaria cardamomom (L) Maton. (Cardamom) nourishes us at a tissue level


Most of us contemporary herbalists view Cardamom as a spice and flavouring agent. In Ayurveda however, it’s sattvic (supreme inner peace and consciousness) qualities make it an important plant medicine to invigorate the flow of energy and prana through the mind and body.(3) Traditional uses include asthma, dental infections (teeth and gums), cataracts, nausea, diarrhoea, heart disease and kidney disease.(9)

It has a lightening effect in the body, and nourishes us at a tissue level. You’ll find Cardamom in chai and many Indian sweet desserts. In black tea, the addition of some Cardamom and Ginger helps to calm down the vata-deranging effects of caffeine.(3)

Cardamom is a medicine for the stomach. It contains essential oils with a gastro-protective and anticancer effect.(9)

Cardamom also resonates with the heart. That’s where we want this medicine to go. To your beautiful heart. A 2009 study found that giving 3g of Cardamom powder daily for 12 weeks significantly increased antioxidant activity and reduced systolic, diastolic and mean blood pressure in patients with primary hypertension.(10)

Scientific interest in the antidiabetic applications of Cardamom is growing. A 2021 review found the combination of lipid-modifying, anti-atherosclerotic, hypocholesterolaemic (blood cholesterol lowering), antiobesity and antioxidant actions found in Cardamom make it a great herb for Metabolic Syndrome. It’s quite fitting then that we’re using this in our sweet healthy treat. (11)

So far many of the studies on Cardamom are animal studies. That practice needs to change so hopefully we get more human trials coming through to give us a clearer idea of how the herb can benefit us specifically.

It’s worth mentioning that Cardamom also helps us sleep, it supports healthy digestive strength and it relieves bloating and indigestion.(3)

Now let’s get you that recipe…

Step 1: Cardamom Syrup

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Prepare the syrup with water, cardamom pods and sugar. Easy peasy!

The syrup is a straightforward, and you can vary the thickness by adding more or less sugar. Often, a herbalist’s syrup is made up of 1 part herb (in this case Cardamom) with 20 times as much water, and it’s decocted (simmered on medium heat) for 25 minutes or so. At the end, twice as much sugar as the resulting liquid is used and the two are combined over heat until totally dissolved. This syrup recipe is a bit of a variation because it’s more of an indulgence in this case. I’m using 1 tablespoon of Cardamom to 100mL water, and I’m really just trying to make a very concentrated water extraction which is then preserved and sweetened with sugar.

You can make the syrup more flavourful by using more Cardamom if you like and you can use white sugar if you find the taste of this one too heavy and dark. I used the Cardamom dried green fruits and popped them straight into water, although I probably should have ground them a little to break them up first (naughty herbalist!). 

Step 2: Rhodiola & Pistachio Crumble topping

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Simply grind and mix to make the crumble.

Creating fun and tasty ways to take your herbs is one of my favourite things to do. With this crumble, we have the vata-pacifying effects of an oily, sweet nut and coconut oil combined with the floral rosy experience of Rhodiola and this crumble can be used on lots of other dishes too, your cereal, to top yoghurt and berries, smoothies, and so on.

It’s also super easy to make. Just grind the nuts by hand and then mix in the Rhodiola powder and sugar. Use white sugar if (again) you want a lighter taste and lighter green colour to the crumble. However note, Rhodiola root has a brown colour so you won’t be able to get the original bright green of the nuts.

Step 3: Rose Pudding

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Prepare the pudding with milk, rose water, tapioca starch and xylitol and pour into jars.

This is the final step, making the flour pudding. Pop all ingredients into a small saucepan and while whisking continuously, bring it to gently simmer as it thickens. You don’t need to boil it. And it’s better if you add all ingredients at the start so they all warm up together. Otherwise you might get little clumps forming.

rose cardamom rhodiola pudding

Top the pudding with the Cardamom syrup and sprinkle with crumble and petals. Photo: Sulin Sze 2022

rose cardamom rhodiola pudding

Photo: Sulin Sze 2022

Rose Pudding with Cardamom Syrup and Rhodiola & Pistachio Crumble

That deliciously heart nourishing and healthy sweet treat that we all need and love.
Prep Time40 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Servings: 3 people
Author: Sulin Sze


  • 1 Mortar and Pestle
  • 1 medium saucepan for the pudding
  • 1 whisk
  • 1 or 2 coffee pots or small saucepans for the syrup


  • 1 tbsp Cardamom seeds (fruit, dried) for the syrup
  • 100 mL Water for the syrup
  • 200 g Sugar (coconut, white, or your choice) for the syrup
  • 1/4 cup Pistachio nuts for the crumble
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar for the crumble
  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil for the crumble
  • 1 tsp Rhodiola powder for the crumble
  • 500 mL Almond milk or another milk of your choice
  • 30 g or 3.5 tbsp tapioca starch for the pudding
  • 4 tbsp Rose water for the pudding
  • 20 g Xylitol powder for the pudding
  • 1 tsp Xantham gum for the pudding


  • First make the syrup by combining the cardamom and water in a small coffee pot on medium heat, and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes uncovered to reduce the water.
  • Strain the cardamom water and pour the liquid into a new pot, add sugar and stir on low heat until dissolved. Turn off heat and pour into a pyrex jug. Set aside in the fridge on a coaster.
  • Next make the crumble by roughly grinding the pistachios in a mortar and pestle. Add Rhodiola powder, sugar and melted coconut oil. Mix together and leave in fridge, covered.
  • Next make the pudding by warming the milk, xylitol, xantham gum, tapioca starch and rose water on medium heat until simmering. Continuously whisk to keep the mixture moving and to prevent clumping. Once thickened, take off the heat and pour into molds. Store in fridge on coasters until cooled and further thickened.
  • When you're ready to serve this delicious treat, pour the syrup over the pudding and top with crumble and flower petals.

Need a hand with anxiety or stress?

If you feel like you’re at that tipping point, and it’s getting harder to handle stress and anxiety, you’re not alone. A recent study of Australians during COVID-19 found a third of all adults experienced depression while 1 in 5 experienced anxiety.  

I can work with you using nutritionals, herbs and mindfulness practices including meditation and breathwork to help you feel amazing again. Reach out! Don’t suffer in silence, take the first step and book your appointment with me, online through the website, or face to face by sending me an message using the contact form.

Meanwhile, I hope you love making your herby pudding!

Sulin Sze Naturopath Sydney
Rose Cardamom Rhodiola

Hey there! Welcome to my world of totally natural and powerful healing medicines. Medicines from nature. Medicine from Source. I’m a naturopath and herbalist with extensive clinical experience working with a range of health conditions including hormonal, metabolic, mental health, sleep and more.

I’ve brought together years of clinical and teaching experience, academic skill and curiosity to bring you this blog. I hope you enjoy it! If you do, leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

sulin signature sundance 4


  1. Rotkovitz, M (Oct, 12 2021) Malabi Rose Water Milk Pudding. [website] The Spruce Eats.
  2. Randhap, R. (Jul 31, 2019) Muhallabia – Middle Eastern Milk Pudding. [website].
  3. Dass, V. (2013) Ayurvedic Herbology – East & West. Lotus Press, USA.
  4. Frawley, D. and Lad, V. (2004) The Yoga of Herbs. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, Delhi.
  5. Safieh, M., Mahbobeh, S., Sodabeh, B., Roja, R., Farhad, M., & Fatemeh, N. (n.d.). Therapeutic efficacy of rose oil: a comprehensive review of clinical evidence. Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine7(3), 206–213.
  6. Rasooli, T., Nasiri, M., Kargarzadeh Aliabadi, Z., Rajabi, M. R., Feizi, S., Torkaman, M., Keyvanloo Shahrestanaki, S., Mohsenikhah, M., Rezaei, M., & Abbasi, M. (2021). Rosa Damascena mill for treating adults’ anxiety, depression, and stress: A systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Phytotherapy research : PTR35(12), 6585–6606.
  7. Konstantinos, F. and Heun, R. (2020). The effects of Rhodiola Rosea supplementation on depression, anxiety and mood – A Systematic Review. GLOBAL PSYCHIATRY ARCHIVES, 3(1), 72-82. doi:
  8. Zhuang, W., Yue, L., Dang, X., Chen, F., Gong, Y., Lin, X., & Luo, Y. (2019). Rosenroot (Rhodiola): Potential applications in aging-related diseases. Aging and disease10(1), 134.
  9. Ashokkumar, K., Murugan, M., Dhanya, M. K., & Warkentin, T. D. (2020). Botany, traditional uses, phytochemistry and biological activities of cardamom [Elettaria cardamomum (L.) Maton]–A critical review. Journal of ethnopharmacology246, 112244.
  10. Verma, S. K., Jain, V., & Katewa, S. S. (2009). Blood pressure lowering, fibrinolysis enhancing and antioxidant activities of cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum).
  11. Yahyazadeh, R., Ghasemzadeh Rahbardar, M., Razavi, B. M., Karimi, G., & Hosseinzadeh, H. (2021). The effect of Elettaria cardamomum (cardamom) on the metabolic syndrome: Narrative review. Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences.

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