Have you ever cooked with ghee? The butter with multiple virtues is an essential ingredient in Indian cuisine and despite already being around for a couple of thousand years, there's every reason it should form an integral part of the modern day pantry.
Ghee vs Clarified Butter
Ghee is like a like a special type of clarified butter made in a similar way, by boiling butter and separating the milk solids from the fat. Except that with ghee, the solids are left to caramelise at the bottom of the pan, giving it a distinct flavour.
Benefits of Ghee
Ghee has a very high smoke point, at 450 degrees farenheit comparative to peanut oil, making it great for cooking at high temperatures, unlike butter. It should also keep longer than standard butter, without going rancid, even when kept at room temperature.
The nutritional benefits of ghee also stack up, neatly outlined in the food infographic below from Dr.Axe.
Ghee and Ayurvedic Cuisine
Ghee is widely used in Ayurvedic cuisine, a cuisine associated with traditional Indian medicine based on the balance of energies and elements, for its ability to eliminate toxins and strengthen the immune system.
Ghee is also interesting for dermal application, since it can relieve burns and moisturise skin, lips and hair.
How to Make Ghee at Home
To make ghee at home is simple. You will need but one ingredient: butter, and just a few pieces of equipment including a wide-bottomed skillet, a wooden spoon, a strainer, a cheesecloth mesh and a glass jar
1. Melt a 250 g (approx 9 ounces) block of butter in a saucepan for 1h30.
2. Pass the butter through a very fine cloth or sieve.
3. Put the ghee in a cool place.
4. You should be left with about 175 g (6 ounces) of ghee.
Cooking with Ghee
Once you have your homemade ghee you can get to work using it in delicious recipes to enjoy it's unique cooking aspect and nutritional benefits.
Try substituting it in place of regular butter and cooking oils for roasting, baking and sauteeing meat and vegetables, or in Indian cookery. Here are two traditional recipes to get you started.
Idli, Indian Rice Cakes
Try this Idli, Indian Rice Cakes. Find the recipe here.
Paratha, Indian Flatbread
Try making this delicious Indian flatbread, Paratha, here's the recipe, perfect for mopping up curries.