What is Ghee? Making Ghee is Easy!
|January 24, 2013||Posted by Sita under Fats|
Today I have a guest post for you from Sita at Real Food Suomi. Remember I am busy pulling together an ebook cookbook based on all of your requests so for the next few weeks I have some amazing guest posts lined up for you!
I’m very happy to be guest posting here at Homemade Mommy and sharing with you how to make ghee – a task that is incredibly easy and will help you incorporate a healthy and delicious fat into your diet. Later on my blog Real Food Suomi I will be posting an article on ways to use ghee that go above and beyond the common use of frying and sauteing.
First of all, what is ghee? Ghee is a traditional cooking fat from India. It is the result of heating butter on the stove and removing the impurities and milk solids that rise to the top in the form of foam and fall to the bottom like crumbs. What’s left is a deliciously golden substance that has a flavor unique from butter and also has a higher smoke point and is easier on the digestion (due to the removal of the milk solids). It is popular in Indian cooking, but it is becoming more well known as a cooking fat all over the world. It can be used medicinally as well, which I will describe later in a post on my blog.
I grew up in a kitchen that always had great big glass jars full of ghee near the stove ready to use for frying. I fondly remember making the ghee as a kid. I remember scraping off the foam that would rise to the top and enjoying taking in the beautiful and rich golden color of the finished product once it was poured into the clean glass jar. Although I grew up cooking regularly with ghee, once I left home for college my eating and cooking habits changed and I lost touch with this excellent fat. I was reminded more recently that ghee is a very stable fat for cooking by re-reading Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. Not only is it stable for cooking, but according to Ayurveda ghee is also excellent for digestion, as it stimulates the digestive fires better known as agni.
Making ghee is simple. You need some unsalted butter, a pot, cheesecloth and a spoon, and a bit of time. Of course the more butter you are using the longer you will need. I usually do 1 kilo (2.2 lbs.) of butter at a time and the process takes about 1 hour.
How to make ghee
unsalted butter* – start with 500 g (or 1 lb of butter) if you are just learning. Otherwise you can make larger amounts at one time.
Medium or large pot (depending on amount of butter)
Large metal spoon
Clean and dry glass jars for storage
1. Melt the butter over medium heat in the pot.
2. Once melted the butter should start to bubble and sputter. Lower the heat so it doesn’t burn but not so low that it stops bubbling. Note that using a larger pot will help stop the butter from sputtering out all over your stove area.
3. Foam will rise to the top. You can stir occasionally to prevent burning and to check the progress. It is not necessary to scrape the foam off during the cooking process, and in fact I have read from Ayurvedic literature that the foam has medicinal properties. It will be strained off later using cheesecloth.
4. After some minutes it will start to have a nice popcorn-like smell and a whitish substance will form on the bottom of the pan. Use the large metal spoon to occasionally pull back the foam on the surface. When you can see all the way to the bottom of the pan and the white curds at the bottom start to turn brown, it is done.
5. Remove the pan from heat, let cool so it’s just warm (still liquid) before pouring into the jars.
6. Pour through cheesecloth into jars. The ghee should be a beautiful golden color with no whitish bits. Discard the brown curds from the bottom of the pan. When cool close the jar with the lid and store the ghee at room temperature. The ghee will be solid at room temperature. It keeps for many months as long as no water is allowed to get into the container.
Now use the ghee for frying, sauteing, and deep frying. If you’d like to learn about other ways to use ghee (besides cooking) and its benefits, look for related articles on my blog Real Food Suomi coming up soon.
*I live in Finland and it is not possible to buy unsalted butter here. I do successfully make ghee with salted butter but it should be made from unsalted whenever possible.
Hi! I’m Sita, and I consider myself a graduate student by day and a food activist by night. I am an American living in Finland who enjoys learning about food, nutrition and health and using social media to be a voice for food and health freedom. I blog about these topics and what it’s like to be a real foodie in central Finland at Real Food Suomi.