I see people buying ghee and I want to ask them why? Why not make it yourself? Because it’s not like in my childhood. I used to see my mother make it the traditional way and that was quite something.
She used to skim off the cream that collects on the top of non-homogenized milk (that was the only kind we used to get) with a ladle and put in a bowl. That bowl used to sit in the fridge for a week, getting fuller and fuller by the day. Man, did it stink by the end of seven days! Then just when I would think I could stand it no more, she would put it in a large karhai (that’s wok in Chinese) and heat it, stir it slowly until the cream melted and bubbled and turned a nutty brown.
Oh, that aroma was to die for! What a transformation it was. I think my mother got tired of this process herself at some point of time and just switched over to making ghee with butter. I am just continuing her tradition.
To this day, you can stick a jar of home-made ghee under my nose and watch me swoon. And I do it voluntarily to myself. Several times a day, I go to my pantry and take out my jar of home-made ghee, open the lid, take a whiff and go “Mmmmmm……” Yes, I also roll my eyes in ecstasy. OK, exaggerating, I only do that once a day.
Just like butter got a bad rep until rather recently, so too did ghee. But apparently it’s not only not bad for you to have saturated fats, it is rather good. Which is fine with me, because I am a great believer of “everything in moderation”. You could say that’s my motto.
In traditional Indian medicine, ghee is said to be great for your ahem, colon. It’s a blood purifier and brain food too. A spoonful of ghee a day keeps the doctor away. So even in veganland Isha Yoga Centre where I learned all the yoga I know, ghee is the one animal food product that is officially approved.
The only golden rule you have to follow if you don’t want it to harden your arteries and build up rolls of belly fat: do not take it in combination with anything sweet. So no sugar, fruits, dessert et. al. So now that I have moved on to savoury porridge for breakfast, nothing can stop me from having my ghee and eating it too!
Recipe: Easy Home-made ghee
Butter as much as you want. I normally take a 250 gm block at a time, because that’s the basic unit in which butter is sold here. Any kind will do just fine, organic, non-organic, local, non-local, salted, unsalted, sweet, mildly-sour, whatever.
- Take a heavy bottom saucepan. Put your block of butter in it and heat over medium-low heat.
- Let the butter melt slowly and then come to a boil.
- Let it boil for some minutes, occasionally scrape a spoon over the bottom of the pan to check the colour of the residue that’s collecting at the bottom of the pan.
- When it has turned a nice nutty brown colour (this might take about 10 minutes)- I am talking walnut shell, or hazelnut shell here, then turn off heat and remove your pan from the stove.
- The darker the colour of the residue, darker will be your ghee, nuttier will be the taste. But careful! If you let it burn into a charcoal black, your ghee will turn around and bite you.
- Let it sit undisturbed for five minutes.
- You have a tea strainer? Wonderful! Just strain your ghee into a clean and dry glass jar. Don’t have a tea strainer? Use a piece of fine cheesecloth. Or a piece of dish cloth. You want to separate your ghee from the brown residue. It’s not bad to have it. It’s just not aesthetically pleasing, that’s all.
- Don’t throw away the residue. Put it into your mashed potatoes instead of butter. Good eats!
- Ghee keeps forever in the fridge. But if you don’t want to enter into combat with your (dry!) spoon as a weapon every time you want some, keep it in your pantry cupboard. It will be fine for a month or so as long as you don’t let moisture slip into it. More than that, you might be OK but don’t sue me if you don’t get the pleasant aroma but instead a dose of rancidness.
And now you know that ghee is basically browned butter without the brown. You are welcome.