We occasionally link to goods offered by vendors to help the reader find relevant products. Some of these may be affiliate based, meaning we earn small commissions (at no additional cost to you) if items are purchased. Here is more about what we do.
Ghee is a clarified butter that is often used in Indian cuisine. Sanskrit for clarified butter, one of the main benefits of making ghee at home is that, if stored in an airtight container, it does not need refrigeration. And each batch can be stored for up to one month!
The ghee has a lovely flavor that’s reminiscent of toasted nuts. Ghee’s high smoke point has also led to its use in deep frying, as it also adds a buttery flavor to the fried foods. And it’s also great for developing that initial seasoning on cast iron.
In Ayurveda, ghee is said to be beneficial for the three basic types of biological humors (Dosha) that contribute to a person’s general constitution. Yogis consider it a satvic food (pertaining to Satva Guna) and believe it to contribute to tranquility, and peacefulness of the mind.
Since the process of clarifying butter removes the impurities and water, this leaves you with a purified fat. Ghee is lactose free, since the milk proteins are removed during the cooking process – and it’s an excellent fat for use in making a roux, or other types of cooking.
The clarified butter is primarily saturated fat, but it lacks additives, preservatives and trans fats. Because of the increased intensity of the flavor, a smaller amount of ghee can be often used to achieve the same effect as other fats. In fact, the general guideline is one tablespoon of ghee to a full four tablespoons of any other cooking oil or butter.
Ghee is believed to stimulate stomach acid secretion, aiding in digestion. Ongoing research in India notes its potential ability to help with constipation and other intestinal issues, as well as the treatment of ulcers and the health of skin and eyes.
Indian folk remedies state that ghee improves memory, and it is often used in beauty creams and as a treatment for burns.
The process of making ghee is actually exceptionally simple. It’s really worth it for the wonderful flavors that may be added to any recipe, particularly Indian dishes.
To make ghee, you only need two things: one pound of unsalted butter, and a saucepan. I promise, this has to be the easiest recipe you will EVER find!
The quality of the ghee does depend upon the quality of the butter, so organic butter is best.
Place a medium saucepan over medium heat, and place the butter in the pan. You can slice up the butter to expedite the process, but putting full sticks into the pan works just as well. The key thing to remember when making ghee is DO NOT STIR!
As the butter melts, a white froth will develop on top and sediments will begin to settle to the bottom. Keep the butter boiling at a steady rate until the bubbling noise lessens, and the sediment at the bottom of the pan begins to turn a golden brown. This will take about 20 minutes.
You may be able to see this sediment by gently tilting the pan, and the liquid under the froth should now be turning an amber color. You will also notice that the scent will change to something akin to fresh pastries – some say it smells like croissants. Yum!
Turn the flame off immediately and leave the ghee to cool off the heat for half an hour. During this time, line a strainer with cheesecloth. Prepare your sterilized jars or other airtight containers for quick movement under the strainer.
After half an hour, place the jars or containers under the strainer and pour the ghee through the strainer into the jars. The sediment will be trapped in the cheesecloth, leaving only the ghee in the jars. Discard the cheesecloth and sediment, and seal the jars of ghee.
Once completely cooled, the ghee will be hard at room temperature. But it will liquefy easily when exposed to heat.
This Ancients Organics brand 100% Organic Ghee from Grass-fed Cows is a top seller on Amazon
Not ready to make your own? There are many brands available via Amazon, including pure organic varieties.
Most importantly, be adventurous! Enjoy the health benefits and the lovely spices and mouth pleasing flavors of ghee in Indian food, and other types of cuisine.
What will you prepare with your homemade ghee? Let us know in the comments!
The staff at Foodal are not medical professionals and this article should not be construed as medical advice. Foodal and Ask the Experts, LLC assume no liability for the use or misuse of the material presented above. Always consult with a medical professional before changing your diet, or using supplements or manufactured or natural medications or remedies.
About Lynne Jaques
Lynne is a stay-at-home mother of two boys. As a former US military officer and the spouse of an active duty US military member, Lynne enjoys traveling the world (although not the moving part!) and finding new cuisine and methods of preparing food. She also has the habit of using parenthesis way too much!