Milk gives you several by-products with varied consistencies at different stages of boiling – and a variety of sweets or savouries can be made with the resultant products. Khoya, or Khoa, or Mawa, is basically evaporated milk solids that is prepared by boiling full cream milk over a low flame continuously over an extended period of time. The gradual heating helps slowly vaporise the moisture, thereby leaving only the milk solids behind. This process is usually done in a thick bottomed pan, preferably non-stick in nature, so as to avoid burning the milk.
The milk is generally reduced to 1/5th of its total volume to give Khoya. I used about 2 litres of full cream milk, and that gave me roughly 400 grams of unsweetened Khoya. Khoya is usually found in shades ranging from cream to pale yellow , but the Khoya I made was somewhat a pale sandal colour. It probably differs based on the kind of milk that you use. I used Nestle A+ carton milk, and this is the colour I ended up with.
There are several types of khoya used for different purposes. This one is a variety of granulated khoya, which is very soft and pliable in nature. It can be used to make gulab jamun, pedha, halwa, filling for gujiyas/karanjis, and also for halwa, like in the case of gajar (carrot) ka halwa. Tamilians prepare a popular sweet dish called ‘Paalkova‘ (which translates to ‘milk khova’) by just adding either sugar/jaggery and ghee to this basic Khoya.
Khoya gives a rich, creamy texture and taste to the dishes that it is added to. Khoya is also frequently used to obtain a rich gravy consistency in North Indian curries as well. You can make sweet and savoury koftas using khoya – the applications of this dish are endless, and are only limited by your creativity and imagination. Taste wise, this khoya was absolutely amazing, and one of the first sweets I tried with this homemade khoya was the Gulab Jamun – it turned out lip-smackingly delicious !
Full cream milk – 2 litres
Bring milk to a boil on medium flame, in a thick bottomed deep vessel, preferably non-stick. (The vessel needs to be deep, because at some point the milk will boil and froth over, and if your vessel is not big enough to accommodate it then it will overflow and burn).
Once milk develops a fat layer, keep watching..at about the 7-8 minute mark, milk will froth over and rise up.. it means milk has boiled. Right at this point, turn the flame down to low.
Scrape the sides of the vessel and mix the cream back into the milk. Throughout this process, it is very important to stir and keep scraping the sides of the vessel at regukar intervals, this helps thicken the milk and also prevent the sides/bottom from catching and burning.
After about half an hour, you will see the milk frothing and cream separating .. see the sandal coloured cream below?
Keep scraping the sides and mixing it back into the milk. You will see the milk gradually thicken and start to reduce.
You can see the colour of the milk slightly changed and the consistency thicker than when we started off.
This is at the 45 minute mark. Continue stirring and scraping the sides..
Gradually the milk gets thicker – at the one hour and 15 minutes mark, you will get the right consistency for making Basundhi. This stage of milk is also great to make Kulfi if you desire it. We will continue as the milk needs to thicken further to make our Khoya.
Continuing the process, keep stirring and scraping the sides, all the while keeping the stove flame on the lowest setting.. you can see the milk solidifying, slowly losing its moisture, when you reach close to the two hour mark.
The milk will thicken considerably, becoming semi-solid and you can see bubbles in the mixture, which is basically the water content evaporating. We need to slowly cook this out until there are no longer any bubbles left.
10-15 minutes after this, the mixture will be as below. This is the right stage of consistency that we require – there are no bubbles anymore and the mixture has thickened completely. The khoya is ready now. Give it a good mix and switch off the stove.
Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes. Transfer into an airtight container and refrigerate until further use. Will keep well for upto 2 weeks.
The whole process took me about 2 hours and 45 minutes to condense 2 litres of full cream milk and obtain 400 gms of Khoya.
TIPS & TWEAKS
- Do not use skimmed milk for this. Full-cream milk is best.
- Your cooking time will be lesser or more depending on the quantity of milk you use and type of vessel. Non-stick, wide-bottomed vessels cook faster. Use your eyes and check texture of the milk at different points to determine if the right stage has been reached.
- Stay near the stove at all times. I cannot stress enough how important this is! Even if you step away for a mere few minutes, you risk the milk burning or catching at the bottom. If this happens, it will spoil the entire taste of the Khoya. So stay put! 😀
- Similarly, two very important things – scrape, stir. Throughout the process, this is incredibly important. If you don’t stir or scrape, the milk will burn even if you use a non-stick vessel.