What Is Malai?

juliet d'cruz

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What Is Malai

Are you curious to know what is malai? You have come to the right place as I am going to tell you everything about malai in a very simple explanation. Without further discussion let’s begin to know what is malai?

When it comes to the rich and diverse culinary landscape of India, one cannot overlook the indulgent ingredient that adds a creamy touch to many dishes: Malai. Known for its velvety texture and luscious flavor, Malai holds a special place in Indian cuisine. In this blog post, we will dive into the world of Malai, its origins, its versatile uses, and why it is cherished in Indian culinary traditions.

What Is Malai?

Malai, derived from the Hindi word for “cream,” refers to the thick, fatty layer of cream that forms on the surface of milk. It is commonly found in dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and buttermilk. Malai is known for its smooth texture, rich taste, and high-fat content, which gives it a distinct creaminess.

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Origins And Cultural Significance:

Malai holds deep cultural significance in India, where dairy products have been an integral part of the culinary traditions for centuries. It is believed that the origins of Malai can be traced back to the ancient times when cows were revered and dairy farming was prevalent. Milk was traditionally obtained from cows and buffaloes, and the creamy layer that naturally formed on the milk’s surface was carefully collected and used in cooking and desserts.

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Versatile Uses In Indian Cuisine:

Malai is a versatile ingredient that finds its way into a multitude of Indian dishes, adding richness and depth to flavors. Here are some popular uses of Malai in Indian cuisine:

  1. Curries and Gravies: Malai is often added to curries, gravies, and creamy sauces to lend a velvety texture and enhance the flavors. It balances the spices and adds a touch of indulgence to dishes like Malai Kofta, Shahi Paneer, and Butter Chicken.
  2. Desserts and Sweets: Malai is an essential component in a variety of Indian desserts. It is used to make mouthwatering treats such as Ras Malai (cheese dumplings soaked in sweetened milk), Malai Kulfi (a rich, creamy ice cream-like dessert), and Rabri (a condensed milk-based sweet dish).
  3. Beverages: Malai is sometimes added to hot beverages like tea and coffee, providing a creamy and luxurious texture. It lends a delightful richness to traditional drinks like Masala Chai and Badam Milk.
  4. Toppings and Garnishes: In some regions, Malai is used as a topping or garnish for desserts, sweets, and milkshakes. It adds a delightful creamy layer to dishes like Falooda (a popular dessert with vermicelli, syrup, and nuts) and Gajar Ka Halwa (carrot pudding).

Appreciating The Freshness Of Malai:

In many Indian households, Malai is obtained by allowing raw milk to sit undisturbed for a few hours or overnight. As the milk cools, the cream naturally rises to the surface and can be skimmed off to collect the Malai. The freshness and quality of Malai greatly impact the taste and texture of the dishes it is used in, making it highly valued by chefs and home cooks alike.


Malai, with its creamy texture and luxurious flavor, is a cherished ingredient in Indian cuisine. Whether it is used in curries, desserts, beverages, or as a garnish, Malai adds a touch of indulgence to dishes, elevating the culinary experience. Its versatility and cultural significance make it an essential element in the diverse tapestry of Indian flavors. So, the next time you savor a creamy curry or indulge in a delectable dessert, remember the magic of Malai that brings it all together.


What Is Malai Made Of?

It is made by heating non-homogenized whole milk to about 80 °C (180 °F) for about one hour and then cooling it. A thick yellowish layer of fat and coagulated proteins forms on the surface, which is skimmed off. Malai has about 55% butterfat.

What Is Called Malai In English?

/malāii/ nf. 1. cream uncountable noun. Cream is a thick liquid that is produced from milk.

Is Fresh Cream And Malai Same?

But Are Malai and Cream the Same? Not really. There are differences. Authentic Indian malai is made with buffalo milk, unlike heavy cream, which uses regular whole milk.

Is Milk Cream And Malai Same?

malai or fresh milk cream is obtained from raw milk by boiling the milk and then letting it cool down before keeping in the fridge overnight whereby the maximum cream separates out of the milk. this is heavy cream which has a major portion of it as a solid with some liquid milk as well.


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