Ghee is a clarified butter void of any milk solids or water. More importantly, ghee is absolutely delicious. I've been making ghee for years now and I'm sure that I would be unable to cook in the style I'm used to without it. It adds a rich, nutty taste to vegetables, sauces, and baking. If you have anyone in your family that has problems with the milk proteins in butter, you may likely find that ghee is digested well. I have found that I can easily use ghee, even though I am intolerant to dairy products. It's worth trying.
Ghee is used daily in Indian and South Asian homes. It's very easy to make. The beauty of ghee is that it's a saturated fat which means that it's stable to cook with at higher temperatures. (If you would like to read further on the right types of fats to cook with, this is a good starting point.)
I sometimes mix our ghee with organic, extra-virgin coconut oil. We use it as a spread on bread, to bake with (using a 1:1 ratio with any butter called for), on popcorn (gloriously delicious!), and to cook with. In fact, this is the only fat I cook with aside from goose or duck fat. I usually make a big supply of ghee every two weeks. If you make it correctly, getting all of the water and milk solids out of the ghee in the cooking process, it will not have to be refrigerated.
What you need:
- Organic, unsalted butter, raw if you can get it (use as much as you want, I usually buy 8 blocks at a time)
- Jars, butter dishes, or whatever you want to store the ghee in
What you do:
- Put the butter in a deep, heavy pot. If you have enameled, cast iron cookware that will hold it, use it. If not, whatever you have that is heavy and big enough will do.
- Bring the butter to a boil and then quickly reduce to low heat. You want the butter to be lightly simmering, a few bubbles here and there.
- You will notice some foam on top of the butter. If there's a lot of foam, you can skim a little off, taking care to not disturb the butter.
- It usually takes anywhere from 20-45 minutes for the ghee to be ready. A golden crust will form on the top of the liquid. The liquid will be a deeper, golden yellow colour. You will notice a different smell - deep and rich, almost 'nutty'. The liquid should look clear below the crust.
- Place the cheesecloth in a sieve over a bowl. Pour the ghee through the cheesecloth slowly (be careful, it's really hot). Pour the filtered ghee into clean jars, butter dishes, or any other vessel you want to store it in. Let it sit at room temperature to cool off before putting the lids on.