Malai Barfi Recipe (Milk Cake) | Indian Sweets Recipes | Dessert Recipe

Some years ago, we were grocery shopping at an Indian store and saw a booth set up there selling Indian sweets.  Alok saw the box of Malai Barfi (Milk Cake) and wanted to buy it.  I was still pretty new in the USA and still getting used to the prices here.  So when I saw the small box of Malai Barfi for $7, I calculated the price in home currency and insisted that he not buy it.  Few days later, I made Malai Barfi and surprised him when he came home that evening.

And then last month  I celebrated birthday week for Alok and prepared one favorite dessert of his every day.  On one of the days, it was this simple Malai Barfi.

malai barfi indian sweet

I know the name "milk cake" is confusing because this dessert is not literally a cake.  From my understanding, there are two kinds of milk cakes: one is Malai Barfi and the other is Kalakand.  Malai Barfi is not literally made using "malai" but in two ways: curdling milk (chhena) or using alum powder to thicken it.  To confuse you further, some people make Malai Barfi using milk powder too.  Kalakand is essentially made from chhena + khoya.  Kalakand can be made in two colors: completely white, or as I best know and love it: the cream-to-brown ombré effect.  The granules that make up Kalakand are different from the texture of Malai Barfi.  It takes hours to make Kalakand whereas Malai Barfi can be made in a short time.  There is a fine line between the preparation, taste, texture and color of both, that is why many people call it the same, and even popular brands such as Gits have Kalakand Malai Burfi printed on their box.

malai burfi

Now that we have the difference between Kalakand and Malai Barfi out of our way, this is how I made the Malai Barfi.

Malai Barfi Recipe
Adapted from manjulaskitchen
Serves 4-6

1 liter milk
1½ Tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup + 1 Tbsp sugar [moderately sweet; add more if you like sweeter]
1-2 pinch cardamom powder
1 Tbsp ghee
Sliced pistachios for garnish

how to make malai barfi

1.  Heat milk in a saucepan on high heat, when it comes to a boil lower the heat to medium, take some milk in a ladle add lemon juice to it, let it curdle in the ladle, then mix it with the remaining milk to curdle it all.  Could take a minute till you see the whey separating from the solids, but if you don’t then add another tsp lemon juice until you do.

2.  Strain out about 2 ½ cup (600 ml) of the whey [it helps remove a little sourness] and continue to cook the remaining solids for 10 minutes on medium heat, stirring frequently so it doesn’t scorch from the bottom.  When the whey evaporates and milk solids remain, add sugar + cardamom powder and cook until the mixture comes together like a soft ball.

3.  Add ½ Tbsp ghee to the mixture, mix it well and switch off the heat.  Use the remaining ghee to grease the plate you want to set your Malai Barfi on.  Pat the mixture on the plate and press firmly from all sides to shape it, garnish with pistachios and let it cool down then cut into squares.

Following these ingredient proportions, I shaped my Malai Barfi into a 4.25x4.25 inch square with a height of a little less than 1 inch.  After dividing into 12 pieces, and considering how satiating this milky dessert is, the recipe makes enough Malai Barfi for 4-6 people.

Malai Barfi

I use less sugar in my desserts, but if you like it sweeter add a couple of Tbsp more sugar.  You can taste a little after mixing in the sugar and adding more if needed while it's still hot.

You could garnish your Malai Barfi with silver foil (chaandi ka vark) too if you wish to make it look more festive.  Malai Barfi can easily be prepared a few days beforehand if you make it to serve guests, and refrigerated to last a few days too.

Malai Barfi

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  1. Hey Nisha,
    I forgot to ask if you have used Full Cream Milk. I guess so from the pictures

  2. Hey Nisha,

    Tried this..It was very good..Thanks for the recipe

  3. Nice and easy recipe. I will try making it. Do you have receipe for Kalakand burfi?
    Also in the beginning of this article you mentioned about the price of the box of burfi at the shop , have you come out with calculating how much cheaper it would be making it at home? Just curious. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Hi Meera,
      I don't have recipe for Kalakand (if you're talking about the Ajmeri cream-brown color one).
      And good question--I did not calculate but considering how the box costing $7 contained about 10 pieces of barfi--I guesstimated that the 1 gallon milk I buy for $3 can definitely yield enough paneer to make twice/thrice the quantity of that box. :)

  4. I like this blog, Thanks for sharing this blog of buy indian sweets

  5. Lovely blog..Malai barfi looks amazingly delicious. I love sweets. so mouthwatery. Thank you so much for sharing this


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