Malaiyo – The Winter Delicacy of Varanasi
Banaras is popular for its street food which is well prepared to give you a “Taste attack”. Few of the street foods which are well known is the “Aaloo Tikki Chat”, “Kachori Chana”, “Tamatar Chat”, “Longlatta” and various mouth-watering sweets. These are the commonly known dishes which every person will refer you to try on your visit to Varanasi.
But one of the most underrated treasure troves is the “Malaiyo”. Available hardly for a time of 3 months, it’s a delightful dessert to try your hands on.
Malaiyo (मलइयो) is prepared out of milk and is available only in the winters mostly from November till February. If one plans to visit Varanasi in this time period, I can assure this “Malaiyo” is a bucket list item.
The best part about this sweet sin is that if you want to get the authentic taste, the journey to the best selling shop will give you a tinge of the old Banaras, navigating through the narrow streets narrating the cosmopolitan effect & ultimately advocating “Unity in Diversity”.
“Malaiyo” , is basically flavored milk foam and is served in earthen vessels of different sizes. It is garnished with fine chopped almonds & pistachios. It can also be named as the “Winter Sweet” as it is available only during the winter season.
The milk foam is created only at low temperature. Once this froth enters your mouth it vanishes leaving a rich sweet taste. This froth/foam is different as it is cloudy & delicate.
Moreover, to taste it, one must visit the place in the morning. By 11 a.m the temperature reaches the point when the foam starts vanishing automatically.
The best place to have Malaiyo is in Thatheri Bazar, which lies in the old Banaras. You may find Malaiyo all day but those are adulterated. In order to keep the foam all day long Trans fat is mixed in the recipe. This not only leads to deterioration of taste as well as ill effects on your body.
Making of Malaiyo
The authentic “Malaiyo” will have a tinge of Saffron strands, Sugar & Cardamom. Although the recipe is still a secret & varies from different makers, the basic one is this.
First of all milk in a huge quantity is boiled in a large Iron Wok ( लोहे की कढ़ाई). Iron wok is used as it adds iron to the milk as well as gets evenly heated this giving a proper boiling temperature. Once it is boiled for a specific time period, it is left under the open sky for the dew drops to create this magic.
The dew drops initiate the foaming of milk which is then very well churned along with saffron strands, cardamom & sugar. The entire milk changes to foam gradually. It is a tedious and time-consuming process. Once done, it is garnished with finely chopped pistachios and almonds.
After that, it is served in the clay bowls to the customers.
This fresh Malaiyo when it reaches the mouth, it gives your tastebuds a scrumptious sweet treat which will make your time freeze for some time. Once you finish the froth you will be given a mouthful of the saffron milk. This milk is flavour full and rich.
Malaiyo will give you a part of the rich culture which is still well preserved in the heart of the world’s oldest city. Make sure to give it a try but from the recommended shops.
Recommended Shop :
“Markandey Sardar Shop” managed by Bhaiya Lal Ji.(100 years old) – Chaukhamba, Thatheri bazar.