So…. it’s Saturday yet again and I fell off the write-regularly bandwagon last week, a week after getting on it… No matter, I’m climbing right back on!
Back to the point: I have a wonderful, basic recipe for you today — the liquid gold of the culinary world, ghee! Ghee is a form of clarified butter that has a very high smoke point, is rich in the fat-soluble vitamins A, E & K and in high density lipoproteins (HDL), is lactose- and casein-free even though it is made from butter, is anti-inflammatory & boosts the immune system, and is great for digestion. Whew! Quite a list of benefits there. Best of all, ghee is loaded with beautiful nutty and buttery flavour.
Ghee and clarified butter are both made by simmering butter (which in turn is made from cream, I’ll do another post on that soon because who wouldn’t want to make their own butter?) until the milk solids separate, leaving behind the fats in the form of a beautiful golden-yellow liquid. Ghee differs from clarified butter in that it is boiled for a while after the milk solids have separated, resulting in a nuttier, more complex flavour. I find that ghee also smells much sweeter than regular or clarified butter.
Because a year down my blogging road, I’m a pro blogger, I’ve taken plenty of pictures for a step-by-step walkthrough of the process. There are many ways of making ghee, and different people swear by theirs; this post is just how I do it.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Butter — 1 lb
- A clean pot
- A spatula or metal spoon
- Cheesecloth or coffee filters
- A clean jar to pour the prepared ghee into
1. Start by cutting the block of butter into smaller pieces. This step is not necessary, but the butter melts much faster.
2. Place the butter in your pot and melt on medium-high heat. When all the butter has melted, lower heat to medium-low and simmer. After a couple of minutes, the melted butter will begin to lather up, with predominantly small bubbles (refer to the second picture below). Stir every now and then and continue to cook. You will notice that the bubbles get bigger and bigger as it cooks.
Keep simmering on medium-low heat, but don’t stir anymore. The bubbles will continue to get larger and the liquid will begin to clear up (see picture on the left below). It will also be boiling quite vigorously at this point. Eventually, you will be left with a mostly-clear golden-yellow liquid, with some bubbles near the edges of the pot (as seen in the picture on the right below). The milk solids will also have started to sink at this point.
Now, this is critical (as per my method; my aunt swears by another!). Do not stir the liquid, just let it boil. After a couple of minutes, you will see that large bubbles begin to reappear in the liquid (see picture on the left below), and get smaller and smaller as it begins to froth up again (any Archer fans out there? The word “froth” has permanently been ruined for me!). Turn off the heat as soon as you see the smaller bubbles begin to appear (refer to picture on the right below).
Notice the beautiful caramel-coloured milk solids on the bottom? The liquid you are left with is ghee. Let the ghee cool slightly, then place several coffee filters or several folded layers of cheesecloth over a strainer and strain the golden liquid into a clean and dry container. Be very careful to make sure that none of the milk solids get into the container; strain several times if necessary. Let it cool uncovered (or with the lid ajar to prevent dust from entering). Once it has cooled down to room temperature, close the lid. Ghee kept in an airtight container can keep for years!
You will notice I got just short of a liter of ghee. I used 2lbs butter, so expect to get around 500ml if you use the 1lb specified above.
A final note: a lot of people throw away the milk solids. They are actually quite delicious, with a nutty-caramel flavour. You can add them to vegetables, curries or whatever you’re cooking to add a beautiful, sweet, rich flavour. Just make sure to store them in the fridge & use them up within a week.
Ghee can be stored at room temperature or in the fridge. It will not spoil as long as you ensure that no milk solids get into the ghee. If any water got into the ghee, it might become grainy in texture. This does not impact the longevity or characteristics of the ghee in any way; in fact, some people sprinkle water into hot ghee to get that grainy texture!
Let me know if you try this out & I hope you enjoy it!