If you’re unfamiliar with ghee, don’t worry: Much of the western world is just now catching on to this amazing ancient Indian fat, too. It’s also likely that anyone following a Paleo diet will be more familiar with ghee than people following the Standard American Diet.
Ghee is, essentially, clarified butter: Butter that is heated until the milk parts separate from the fat, leaving a gorgeous yellow liquid (A.K.A. liquid gold), perfect for high-heat cooking and flavoring your favorite dishes. It’s great for people who don’t handle lactose well, as you’re essentially removing all the milk.
Most ghee is made with a traditional and very special method, especially in Indian culture, but you can make a pretty simple version at home. There are some wonderful companies creating ghee, available in different flavors, all made in slightly different methods, all delicious in their own ways. I particularly like Pure Indian Foods and Tin Star Foods ghee.
I’ve been making my own ghee (as well as purchasing from the brands I love) for a couple of years now. I’ve used several different tutorials for making it, all summarized in the easy steps below. I like to make my own ghee mostly for cooking my vegetables, because the smoke point of ghee is over 400 degrees Fahrenheit which makes it ideal for high-heat cooking. (More about the history and nutritional properties of ghee here, if you are interested.)
- 1 or 2 sticks of unsalted, grass-fed butter
- 1 small pan
- 1 mason jar with lid
- cheesecloth or a nut milk bag
- a spoon
1. Over medium heat, begin to melt the butter. Once butter is mostly melted, turn the heat down a bit and let slightly simmer.
2. You may see some lighter foamy looking liquid gathering around the surface. Take a spoon and try and scoop out some of this. You may also see pieces along the bottom (milk fat); those will be filtered out during straining.
3. Keep an eye on the heat during this process, you don’t want to burn the milk solids that are collecting at the bottom of the pan.
4. After about 15 minutes or so, carefully pour this mixture through some cheesecloth or a nut milk bag over a mason jar. You should be left with some gorgeous golden fat.
5. Let cool and keep covered with a lid.
I particularly enjoy ghee over sweet potatoes, or with steak, or to add flavor to curries or soups. We also enjoy it mixed with a little nut butter and honey for sweet treat. If you need to troubleshoot when creating your ghee, do a Google image search to see what the process should look like; it can be super helpful!
Once you try this delicious fat, you’ll be hooked! It’s cheap to make, simple to prepare, and a little will go a long way in your cooking.
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