A lot of people are kinda hazy about what clarified butter, or ‘ghee’ is.
As an Indian, you take it for granted. From childhood you are indoctrinated with the idea that ghee is the ambrosia of the Gods. The panacea to combat all ills. That vital ingredient that exalts a pedestrian dish into something lyrical!
I would never have thought to write a post on making ghee, were it not for Azita of Fig and Quince.
Much like ghee, Azita turns the mundane into the magical. She has the story-telling ability of Scheherazade. Go check out her lovely blog. You’ll be enchanted!
Ghee is very simple to make, and equally easy to botch up. The simplest explanation is that butter is heated to the point when the milk solids brown and form a sediment. This is clarifying the butter. The clear ghee is strained and now, has a much longer shelf life.
Ghee is casein free, a source of vitamin A, D, E and K, antioxidants and butyric acid. Ghee is also easy to make at home.
But enough talk. Here is the process in pictures and a video.
In a heavy saucepan, ready to face the fire.
Bubble bubble, toil and trouble.
Watch out for the butter overflowing. Reduce the heat if you need to. You’ll now hear the characteristic bubbling sound.
As the bubbling intensifies, you’ll see the scum on the surface, start to clear.
When the bubbling sounds dies down (there will still be froth on the surface), and the milk solids turn brown, turn off the heat. The heat of the ghee will continue to turn the sediments brown.
As the ghee cools, the froth on the surface, clears. Let the sediments settle and the ghee cool until it can be poured into a bottle.
Enjoy your bottle of sunshine.
Yes, that was me, snacking on ghee at midnight– all in the interests of my research for this post. Scout’s honour!
But what of that sediment, you’re wondering. Is it discarded? Absolutely not!
The “pinjari” or brown sediment is mixed into hot, plain rice and sugar, for a delectable treat!
The ghee goes on to become the ambrosia of the Gods. The panacea to combat all ills. That vital ingredient that exalts a pedestrian dish into something lyrical! And so the legend continues…..
On a practical note:
- Ghee can be left out at room temperature for a week to 10 days. Longer, in a colder climate.
- 500g of butter makes only about 300g of ghee.
- Ghee make delicious cookies.
- Ghee is used to make Indian sweets, to “temper” dals, to fry onions for our pulaos, to serve in dollops over upma, to add oomph to dosas…..the list goes on.
Do write in and tell me what you’d like to use it for.