Recently David and I have been exploring new types of cuisine. Indian cuisine is our newest fascination. I came across ghee in a recipe I found in Sara Moulton’s latest cookbook. Intrigued I wanted to learn more about it, so I did and I am amazed at what I found out about it.
Before I show you how to make ghee, let me explain what it is and why it’s such a great oil to use!
What is Ghee?
Ghee is a special prepared clarified butter. It is a staple of Indian cuisine and also used in South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine.
It is similar to clarified butter. Both are made by heating butter to evaporate the milk solids and water, leaving only the fat. The difference between the two is that ghee is heated until it is golden brown to bring out the butter’s rich nut and toffee flavors. What is left is a flavorful oil, with a very high smoke point.
The smoke point goes from about 350 degrees F to 480 degrees F or more. Other cooking oils such as canola oil, peanut oil, corn oil or soybean oil have high smoke points but those oils are not so good for your health.
Ghee is used for baking, sautéing and roasting and still provides all of the wonderful benefits.
What are the benefits of Ghee?
Ghee is rich in beneficial nutrients. Some of its components are known to boost weight loss, improve digestion and help reduce inflammation.
Importantly, ghee is free of lactose and casein protein because the milk solids have been removed. This makes ghee a way for those who have dairy allergies to enjoy the flavors of butter. That means there are no casein and whey proteins which can cause sensitivity. This makes it ok to consume for those that are lactose intolerant.
As with other fats, ghee should be consumed in moderation. There are about 112 calories in 1 tablespoon. It’s high in fat but provides a dose of several fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin K. A good source of butyric acid and CLA, ghee has both which have been associated with reduced inflammation and increased fat loss.
Where to Find and How to Use Ghee
If I have convinced you to start adding ghee to your diet, you’ll be happy to know that it is readily available in many grocery stores, in the ethnic food section or next to other oils on the store shelf. You can also purchase it online at Amazon.com or some other major retailer, but I ain’t gonna lie to you, it is very expensive to buy.
The good news is that ghee is simple to make. Unlike butter, it does not need to be kept in the refrigerator, although it does keep longer in the refrigerator.
Ghee is very versatile and its uses have endless possibilities. I recommend you make some of your own and start using it in your cooking. Try swapping it out with your current cooking oil of choice. Use it in your favorite recipes to add a burst of flavor and get all the wonderful benefits.
Just make sure you use it in moderation. Because ghee is so rich, you don’t have to use as much as you would other cooking oils. When adding use about half the amount you normally would.
A flavourful and delicious fat for cooking, ghee is rich in beneficial nutrients and easy enough to make at home in your own kitchen. It is so versatile and its uses have endless possibilities.
Try it in this Indian Cauliflower Stew recipe!
- 1 pound unsalted butter (grass-fed) cut into tablespoons
- 3 quart heavy saucepan – should not be gray or black so that it is easy to see the color when the butter has browned
- wooden spoon or heat-resistant spatula
- rubber band
- glass jar with lid
- Prepare a glass jar with by placing two layers of cheesecloth over the mouth, pushing it down inside the mouth a bit. Use a rubber band to help keep it in place.
- Place the butter in the saucepan and slowly melt the butter over low heat, stirring gently until it has completely melted; about 20 minutes.
- When the butter has melted, increase the heat to medium and bring the butter to a simmer, stirring often. The butter will have some foam and make a crackling sound, bubbles emerge from the foam and may spatter a bit, so use caution. You will notice that as the foam becomes thinner, the bubbles will become larger. Allow the butter to simmer until the crackling sound has stopped; about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Continue to simmer, stirring constantly, keeping a watchful eye to ensure the butter does not burn. Simmer until the milk solids will curdle and separate and attach to the sides of the pan from the gold liquid. Scrape down the sides of the pan now and then to help them settle to the bottom of the pan. The butter will become more translucent and the bubbles will disappear. Turn off the heat when the solids just turn brown; about 10 more minutes – this is where the distinctive nutty flavor comes from!
- Allow the ghee to stand for about 5 minutes. Then gently pour the ghee into the prepared jar. At this point, the ghee is a beautiful liquid gold color. Allow the ghee to become room temperature before placing on the lid.
- Use immediately or cover with a lid. Ghee will remain fresh for several weeks at room temperature, but can last months when stored in the refrigerator.
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