Malai is a South Asian cooking ingredient. It is made by heating non-homogenized whole milk to about 80 °C (180 °F) for about one hour and then allowing to cool. A thick yellowish layer of fat and coagulated proteins forms on the surface, which is skimmed off. The process is usually repeated to remove most of the fat.
Malai has about 55% butterfat. Buffalo milk is thought to produce better malai because of its high fat content. Buffalo milk with fat contents varying from 5 to 12% is heated and boiled and then allowed to cool up to 4 degrees Celsius for best results. Similarly cow's milk with milk fat from 3 to 5% is boiled and cooled to make malai.
Malai is a major ingredient in malai kofta dumplings and in sweet dishes like malai pedha, ras malai and malai kulfi. In recipes for malai kofta, the fried dumpling balls, koftas, are made with potatoes and paneer. Keep collecting the malai in the same container and refrigerate it. The flavour becomes even more rich when vegetables are added to it. An example of this would be methi matar malai where the main constituent is green peas.