Jump to navigation Jump to search
Koppai served on a plēṭa
TypeIce cream
Place of origin Kotowari
Region or stateCentral Orient
Associated national cuisineKotowari, Mahana, Mekabiri
Main ingredientsMilk, sugar

Koppai is a frozen dairy dessert originating in Central Orient from the 16th century. It is often described as "traditional Oriental ice cream" for it's popularity historically and into present day. Koppai is a traditional sweet of the Oriental subcontinent, where it is commonly sold by street vendors or by markets. It is popular in Kotowari, Mahana, Tamurin, Orioni, Qubdi as well as much of former Orinese colonial territory such as the Bainbridge Islands and Burkini. It is also part of the national cuisines of Kotowari, Mahana and Mekabiri.

Koppai is much denser and creamier than usual ice cream. It comes in many flavours, with the traditional flavours including rose, paan, mango, safron and chilli oil. Modern popular flavours include apple, strawberry, peanut and orange. Unlike ice cream, koppai is not whipped, resulting in a solid, dense dessert similar to frozen custard. Thus, it is sometimes considered a distinct category of frozen dairy-based dessert. The density of koppai causes it to melt more slowly than ice cream, making it ideal for the warm countries which it is most popular.


The word koppai originates from the Bankran peninsula, where the dessert originates, and means "covered cup" in Ramil.


The dessert is believed to have first originated in the Bankran peninsula of Kotowari in the 16th century when the Count of Bankra requested his chefs create something to cool him down from the heatwave of 1568, where temperatures reached some of the highest ever seen. A chef only known as "Henrī" came back to the Count with the first ever koppai, satisfying the Count so much he made him head chef. The dessert soon spread throughout Kotowari, to Mahana and Mekabiri, where by the 18th century it became wildly popular throughout the sub-continent.

In recent history, the dessert has spread into the west through Oriental diaspora. In many large cities the dessert has it's own small shops and parlors open, with Orientals selling the dessert in it's traditional form. In 2022[1], the dessert gained recognition through the film Jivana, which contained a scene where Hitesh (the protagonist) has a fever dream of eating koppai as he is lost, starving at sea. The international recognition of this film lead to a huge boost to the popularity of the dessert around the wurld.


To prepare koppai, sweetened, flavoured milk is slow cooked. The milk is stirred almost continuously to prevent it from sticking to the cooking utensil. During this process, the milk condenses and thickens. The slow cooking caramelises the sugar in the mixture and browns its milk proteins, giving koppai its distinctive taste. This is then placed into moulds and covered before being frozen for up to 4 hours.

The moulds are removed from the freezer 10-15 minutes before serving to allow the koppai to melt slightly. The koppai is then removed from the moulds and garnished with ground cardamom, saffron, or pistachios.



  1. "The popularity of Jivana"(PDF) Retrieved 10th July 2022