Malai Peda is a semi-soft, fudge-like Indian sweet made with milk, cream and sugar. My 6-minute microwave recipe is not only easy and quick to make but makes authentic-tasting traditional pedas in a matter of minutes!
What is Malai Peda?
Peda or pera (also known as penda) is a traditional Indian sweet (mithai) originating from the state of Uttar Pradesh. It is a fudge-like semi-soft round made with milk, cream and sugar. Malai means cream and the word peda comes from the Sanskrit word Pinda which means a lump of food or more specifically a lump of food made with flour, milk and sugar. It is often creamy white, light brown or bright yellow in colour.
It is an Indian sweet made and consumed during popular Indian festivals like Diwali (The festival of lights celebrating the death of demon Ravana by King Ram), Ganesh Chaturthi (the festival of the birth of the elephant-headed deity Ganesha), Raksha Bandhan (the holy festival of the bond between brothers and sisters) and Krishna Janmashtami (birth celebration of Lord Krishna). It is also made for special occasions like the birth of babies, weddings, and daily offerings at temples.
In Indian mythology, the peda is believed to be Lord Krishna’s favourite sweet and is widely made and consumed during the festival of Krishna Janmashtami. The story goes that Krishna’s mother Yashoda forgot to turn off the milk she was boiling. When she remembered it, the milk had thickened considerably and to salvage it, she added sugar and gave it to Krishna. Krishna who was merely a child at the time, loved it so much that the tradition of offering peda to Krishna began in Mathura, the birthplace of Krishna.
Why you'll love my Malai Peda recipe
Of all the things that I used to sample during Diwali as a child, the Malai Peda was my most beloved. A simple sweet made of milk, cream and sugar was all it took to make me truly happy. I could never stop at one. Come to think of it, I can't stop at one even today.
We never made this at home because it was widely available at the mithai-wala (sweet shops) and always very fresh. When I left India and migrated to Australia, I missed the Malai Peda deeply. It took a chance conversation with an Indian grocery store owner over her counter, a quickly memorized recipe and a lot of trial and error to create a modern version of a traditional recipe. One that doesn't require you to toil over a hot stove, stirring the mixture till it reaches a fudge-like consistency.
- My Malai Peda can be made easily in just one bowl in the microwave.
- It takes only 6 minutes to make and tastes just like the traditional Indian sweet.
- It keeps fresh in the fridge for a week so can be made ahead.
- It tastes like a delicious milk fudge and has universal appeal. Everyone loves it!
You will need the following ingredients,
Milk Powder - This is full cream powder (pasteurized and spray-dried) found in the long-life milk section of the supermarket.
Sugar - Use granulated raw sugar or turbinado sugar for this recipe. Granulated sugar is vital to the grainy texture of the malai peda.
Thickened Cream - This has a minimum of 35% milk fats.
Ghee - This is clarified butter predominantly used in Indian cooking. It can be found in Indian grocery stores or online specialty grocers. If you can't find it, just leave it out.
Cardamom Seeds - Can be substituted with ground cardamom.
Pistachios - Use unsalted pistachios.
Saffron - Saffron can be found in tiny little containers at Indian or Middle Eastern grocery stores or in most spice aisles at supermarkets.
Edible gold leaf - Also called varakh, this can be found in the baking supplies aisle of supermarkets or in specialty baking stores. If you can't find it, just leave it out.
How to make Malai Peda?
Traditionally, malai peda is made by cooking and reducing milk with sugar and ghee in a hot pan until it achieves a fudge-like consistency. It is then rolled into a round disc-like shape in the palm of the hand and flattened slightly before garnishing the top with crushed nuts.
My Malai Peda recipe tastes just like the traditional version but is easily made in the microwave without the need for tedious stirring at the hot stove. I use silicone molds to set the "pedas" because they are easy to turn out without disturbing the shape.
Storage & Serving Suggestions
Malai peda keeps fresh in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to a week. Freezing is not recommended.
Serve this as a sweet treat accompanying an Indian meal with these recipes
More Easy Diwali Recipes
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- 4 cups full cream milk powder
- 1 cup granulated raw sugar
- 300 ml thickened cream
- 1/2 tablespoon ghee
- crushed pistachios, to garnish
- crushed cardamom seeds, to garnish
- saffron strands, to garnish
- edible gold leaf, to garnish
- Combine milk powder, sugar and cream in a large microwaveable bowl.
- Microwave uncovered (my power setting is 1100 watts) for 3 minutes. Remove, add ghee, mix lightly. Microwave uncovered for another 3 minutes.
- Mix lightly. Spoon tablespoons of mixture in a silicone mini muffin pan. Set aside or chill for 10 minutes. Turn out the pedas (fudge rounds). Press crushed pistachios, crushed cardamom seeds and some saffron strands on top of each round.
- If using edible gold leaf, gently peel and press lightly on top of each malai peda.