Mamta's Kitchen

Ghee - Clarified Butter, How to make it from Malai, The Milk Top/Skin

Ghee from Malai

Reeta Kumar and Geeta Gupta

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In India, milk is almost always boiled before use. It is only big cities that get pasteurised milk, the rest get it straight from the cow or buffaloes, delivered to your home by the cow herder. This milk need to be boiled to get rid of bacteria. Once this milk is cooled in a fridge, it leaves a thick layer of 'malai' or milk skin on top. This is similar to the 'cream' that floats to the top of full cream milk bottle in UK.

This is how my sister Reeta and my sister in-law Geeta make their ghee-Mamta


  • A pot of collected malai/milk skin


  1. By Reeta Kumar, Ghee from malai: Collect malai everyday from the top of boiled and cooled milk, saving it in a container over a few days. Keep it in a freezer to keep it fresh. You can lift it off the milk using a slotted spoon/karchu.

  2. When the container is full or when you have enough time to make ghee take it out from the freezer and keep it till it is defrost

  3. Take a karahi or wok and pour all the malai (milk top) in it. Put it on a slow flame, keeping an eye on it, stirring in between, so it doesn't 'catch at the bottom.

  4. After some time, the ghee will start separating from the malai and will become clarified.

  5. Keep on heating till the white solid bits become golden brown.

  6. Strain the ghee through muslin or a handkerchief or any fine and clean piece of cloth.

  7. Store in jars.

  8. You can add the residue after straining, if not burnt, to the dough, to make lovely, crisp parathas.

  9. By Geeta Gupta, Ghee from Malai made into Butter first: Alternatively, you can first make butter from the collected malai, saving some butter for everyday use and then make ghee with the rest:

  10. Defrost the collected malai fully.

  11. Beat the collected malai with and electric blender or by hand, until butter separates. Save the liquid.

  12. Wash butter in cold water a few times, discarding the water. Save some butter if you wish.

  13. Now simmer the remaining butter on medium heat in a wok or karahi, until it becomes clarified.

  14. Drain of the ghee off through a cloth, like an old handkerchief, bottle it and allow to cool.

  15. You can use the residue, if not burnt, to the dough, to make lovely, crisp parathas.

  16. The left over liquid from step 11 can be made into yoghurt, just like ordinary milk. This yoghurt can be used for making Karahi.

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