Ghee (Clarified butter) is made by a process of separating milk solids (butter fat) from the water contained in butter. Ghee is a key ingredient in the Indian kitchen. Apart from its use in the kitchen, it is also used in Hindu rituals, e.g. it is used to fuel the Rice Flour Lamp for Purtassi prayers.
Finding Ghee in a supermarket or specialty Asian supermarket is fairly easy but do remember there are two types of Ghee-one made from vegetable fat and the other from cows milk. I seem to find vegetable ghee more readily available but from research online- it seems that Vegetable Ghee does not have the same health benefits as ghee made from cow’s milk. Vegetable Ghee contains trans fat –not good for cholesterol. I have now begun making my own Ghee at home. This is a very simple process which involves heating shop bought or homemade Butter. You can make large quantities of ghee then store in an air tight container.
How to Make Ghee at Home
1. Begin by melting a block of Butter made from cow’s milk. (You can increase this limit if you need to make more Ghee).
2. Use a heavy-medium based pan. Keep the stove on low heat. Allow the butter to melt for 30-40 minutes. If you don’t have a heavy based pan-use a double pan system-place your pan or pot into a second pot.
3. Do not stir the melting butter. Observe without touching the pan. Keep a watchful eye on the Ghee so it does not burn-it should be a light golden color-not brown.
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4. You will notice a foamy layer forming and the color of the butter will change from bright yellow to a deeper shade of yellow. You will also notice a stronger smell.
5. Keep the pan open to avoid steam from returning to the bottom of the pot. As the butter boils you will hear bubbling sounds. When this stops the ghee is ready. Remove from the stove – allow to stand for a few minutes before filtering the Ghee.
6. To filter the Ghee you can use a muslin cloth or similar clothe substitute – if you don’t have either of these two items then place a piece of kitchen tissue paper into a mesh strainer. Strain the liquid into a jar-removing the top foamy layer. You can store this homemade ghee in the refrigerator in an airtight container.