You can say that ghee is the soul of Indian cooking. In India, parathas, curries, desserts everything is almost incomplete without the addition of ghee. Ghee is nothing but clarified butter from which the milk solids have been removed. It imparts a wonderful flavor and aroma to any dish.
Ghee is used as a common ingredient in Indian cooking. It is also known as clarified butter is used in countless Indian dishes. Homemade ghee is fragrant and adds an incomparable richness to any dish. It was used as long as 5000 years ago.
In Hindu culture, it’s used as food, but also for ritual offerings during prayers. Traditionally ghee is made from cow’s milk butter, it’s often considered sacred in a country where cows themselves are held as sacred.
This trick of making instant ghee was introduced by my friend. Since then I never bought ghee from the store. Since the last 3 years, I really got into making my own ghee. I make homemade ghee from good butter every month. The price tag on store-bought ghee made me cringe, and I’m tired of overpaying for ghee when it’s so easy to make at home so I decided to take the time to make Homemade Ghee.
What is Ghee?
For those of you who might be unfamiliar, ghee is unsalted butter that has had the milk solids removed after separating from the butterfat, resulting in beautiful, golden, pure fat with an unusually high smoking point. Ghee has an ever-so-slight nutty flavor and is grainy in texture. It has a high smoke point so it doesn’t burn like oil.
Ghee has played a key role in Ayurveda for centuries, where it’s prized for its anti-inflammatory, digestive, and therapeutic properties.
Traditional Way of Making Ghee
My favorite memories are of the actual making of desi ghee from cream (malai). I still remember when my mom used to boil full cream milk and leaving it to cool overnight. Then in the morning she would use a slotted spoon to collect the thick cream from the top and save it in the fridge. When she had enough cream saved she would take it out of the fridge in the night. The next morning, at room temperature, she would add curd and let it sit for 4-5 hours.
After resting for 4-5 hours curd would form and it is ready to be churned. Then she adds it to the blender with some cold water and run the blender in intervals of 40-50 seconds. After some time the cultured butter starts floating on the top. Then she collects all the floating butter and keeps it in a separate bowl. After rinsing it for couple of times the butter is ready. She always reserves some butter to be served with paratha etc. and the leftover liquid is the buttermilk which can be consumed or used in making recipes.
The butter was then added to a heavy cooking pot and simmered for around 20-30minutes while stirring continuously. After about 30 minutes the foaming would subside and you would see a golden liquid with no foam. She would then place a strainer over a stainless steel dish with a large mouth and pour the molten ghee over. This would leave a residue of golden brown milk solids in the pot.
This is how it is still made at my home in India. But this instant version uses store-bought unsalted butter to make home-made ghee without much effort.
Instant Way of Making Ghee
Nowadays, everyone wants to save time and effort that’s when this instant version comes handy. Ghee is made by heating butter to separate the liquid and milk solid portions from the fat. First, butter is boiled until its liquid evaporates and milk solids settle at the bottom of the pan and turn golden to dark brown. Next, the remaining oil (the ghee) is allowed to cool until it becomes warm. It’s then strained before being transferred to jars or containers.
Before I show you exactly how to make ghee yourself, let me explain why it’s so wonderful!
Health Benefits of Ghee
In India, Ayurvedic physicians call it liquid gold. It is considered vital for health and well-being and is used to balance and support the body from the inside and the outside.
Ghee has numerous health benefits. It has been used not only in food but for holistic healing. It is known to do the following:
- Boost the immune system, as it contains vitamins A and E, as well as carotenoids.
- Helps you keep warm from within especially during winter.
- Aid in weight loss when it comes from grass-fed cows, as the butter contains cancer-fighting fatty acid conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which is known to help people shed pounds.
- Reduce inflammation, as it lowers leukotriene secretion and prostaglandin levels – both are things tied to inflammation.
- Good Source of Energy
- Good For Intestinal Health-reduces stomach acid and repair the stomach lining, as well as producing digestive enzymes and lowering indigestion
- Flavor a variety of foods common in Indian culture.
- Be better for people who are lactose intolerant, as most of the casein and lactose is removed during ghee preparation
- Good For Heart–decreases cholesterol in the intestine and blood.
- Great for skins-cure blisters and burns, healing irritated skin.
How to use ghee
- Ghee is great for deep or pan-frying. It can be used when toasting spices, as opposed to dry roasting when making authentic Indian dishes. This technique results in a richer version of the spice’s original flavor.
- Ghee can be thought of simply as a more durable, more flavorful butter replacement, and can be used as a condiment you spread on toast or toss with vegetables.
- Use it as a moisturizer for dry skin.
Do try other recipes :
- Desi Ghee from Cream (Malai)
- Punjabi Chole Masala
- Dal Makhani
- Methi Matar Malai
- Malai Kofta
- Punjabi Kadhi Pakora
- Lauki Kofta Curry
- Palak Paneer
- Paneer Butter Masala
Preparation Time: 1min ∏ Cooking Time: 30mins ∏ Servings: 1.5 Cups
Level: Beginners (Easy) ∏ Measurement: 1 Cup ≡ 250 ml ≡ 250gm
How to make Ghee:
Step1: Place the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Slowly butter will start melting, keep stirring occasionally until the butter melts completely.
Step2: Once the butter has melted completely and has been simmered for about 4-5 minutes or more on medium heat you will notice that the melted butter starts to foam and boil.
Step3: At this stage when you move the foam away, the liquid beneath it is still a solid yellow and not a clear liquid. Lower the flame and let it simmer on low flame until all the froth evaporates for about 20 minutes.
Step4: After around 15 minutes of simmering you will notice that the color of the liquid below the foam will begin to turn clear.
Step5: At this stage, the butter will foam again, and this indicates that the ghee is beginning to get ready.
Step6: After 3-4 minutes you will notice that the milk solids will settle at the bottom and begin to turn light golden/brown. Turn off the heat, keep the pot aside, and allow to cool down.
Step7: You will notice that the foam has evaporated and it has a clear golden brown liquid.
Step8: Allow the ghee to cool slightly and then strain the ghee into a clean, dry jar. The ghee can be stored at room temperature for about 2 months.
Step9: Use the fresh homemade ghee while making paratha, or cooking vegetables or in desserts. You can also add a dollop of ghee to Steamed Rice or a hot roti.
- To avoid overcooking, once you notice light brown milk solids at the bottom, quickly turn off the flame and remove the pot from the stovetop as ghee will continue to cook for a while.
- Store it at room temperature and always use a dry spoon while using it.
- Use good quality unsalted butter while making ghee.