I make homemade ghee from good butter every few weeks. Making ghee is a process that I enjoy and that produces wonderful cooking media. For those of you who may not be familiar, ghee is an unsalted butter that has the milk solids removed after separating from the butterfat, resulting in a beautiful, golden, pure fat with an unusually high smoke point. In short, this post is all about how to make ghee. And yes! You should definitely do it.
This means that ghee (and its cousin, clarified butter) is remarkably stable even at higher temperatures. The process for making clarified butter is similar to that for making ghee. Ghee is simply cooked longer and has more contact with the browning milk solids, which in turn gives a different flavor profile. So (!), You’ve got a basic description, but ghee is so much more than that.
What is ghee
Ghee is an ingredient that is deeply revered in India and is mostly made from the milk of the holy cow. There are few ingredients that have been so culturally significant for so long. Although in the Arab world, as I imagine it to be, there is Smen, another ancient milk-based fat that is traditionally made from the milk of sheep and / or goats. I met it in Morocco. Both butters are clarified and have been used in ceremonial, healing and culinary ways for millennia. Smen is funky, technically lazy and unmistakable – precisely in French it is called beurre ranci. It is sometimes buried for months to develop its precious flavor. I don’t think there is a culture of celebrating rancid ghee in India (maybe someone can correct me?), But when your ghee goes rancid – which I have occasionally happened to, when the kitchen is unusually warm, or when I wasn’t It’s not careful enough to weigh solids – you can just think of it as Indian Smen? An unmistakable final taste, no question about it.
Use in Ayurveda
If you put a glowing glass of ghee next to a cube of shortening, all you know is that one of them supports life and vitality and the other doesn’t. You can only feel something like that. Ayurvedic doctors in India know that ghee is the good stuff, the liquid gold. It is considered to be of vital importance to health and wellbeing and is used to balance and support the body inside and out – eyes, memory, strength. It is a fat that helps make fat-soluble nutrients available to the body. It is recommended for expectant mothers. And it’s beautiful. Accordingly, the purchase can also be quite expensive, especially if it comes from a good manufacturer. The good news is that doing it yourself is a simple and satisfying process.
Tips for cooking with ghee
– Useless. If you’ve never cooked with ghee before, you’re good to go. I’ve found that I typically use less than olive oil, for example, throughout the process.
– It loves a wok. Cooking or frying a wok is a high temperature intensity exercise. This can be harsh on oils, and in the end the oils break down and not in a good way. I don’t like using highly refined oils that are highly processed, even though they advertise high smoke points. So ghee is a great option as long as it works for the flavors you are cooking. I don’t think it works next to soy sauce, for example, but I use my wok a lot to turn off a quick pan of vegetables that is more Californian – a little oil, salt, lemon peel, vegetables – and ghee works great. Another alternative is extra virgin coconut oil. It also likes the wok.
– Finally, one more for the die-hard. Some say the best ghee comes from homemade butter. That means you first make butter from fresh cream and then want to turn this butter into delicious ghee. The extra step certainly makes something more ambitious out of a relatively simple endeavor, but I thought I’d mention it for those of you on a bigger challenge. Doesn’t that get you in phase? There are also examples of water buffalo milk and sheep milk ghee. I’m not sure I could cite an example of goat milk, but I’m sure there is one too. A chef I spoke to in Rajasthan told me that some ghee tastes different in India because they use butter that was cultured before proceeding. The diet of the cattle there also varies, and the milk reflects this. Cultured butter is relatively easy to come by, so you can experiment with cultured or uncultured butter if you like.
Other uses for ghee
Although I’ve made it a practice of making homemade ghee for some time, I feel like I learned so much about its culture, its ceremonial uses, its historical relevance, or just the way it is used in everyday life became, do not know. I know it is used to treat infection, anoint gods and idols, and power lamps that are believed to ward off evil and negativity. I am sure there are many insights to share from your own life and experiences and I would love to hear what you need to share! -H
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