Malai is a cooking ingredient originating from the Indian subcontinent. 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 °Celsius for best results. Similarly cow’s milk with milk fat from 3 to 5% is boiled and cooled to make malai.