Ghee, or clarified butter, is the oil of choice in Indian cuisine. It has gained mainstream popularity after Western wellness trends started incorporating the principles of Ayurveda in self-care routines.
As a culinary ingredient, ghee is the optimal choice for a few reasons. It is butter that has been rid of any milk solids through the process of cooking, which means it has a much higher smoke point than regular oils. A higher smoke point means the oil can endure higher temperatures before it starts to smoke (and create cancerous byproducts you really don't want in your body), and ghee is right up there at the higher end of the heat endurance spectrum.
Its flavor has been described as nutty, but I'd just say it tastes like amplified butter—luxuriously milky and aromatic. You could seriously eat it with a spoon.
Because ghee has been purified, and rid of lactose (sugar), milk protein, and fat, it is a great choice for those who don't tolerate lactose well. Not only is it easier for you to digest, but it also stimulates the production of enzymes.
And now for the best part—the process of making ghee at home is uncomplicated and unfussy. You only need one ingredient, butter, and some cheesecloth. Storing it in a clean airtight jar is best, and it can last in a cool dark place for up to a month (it doesn't even need to be refrigerated). Although it's available in many grocery stores, ghee truly might be one of the few ingredients that are easier to make at home than buy.
Makes slightly less than 1 lb
1 lb unsalted, grass-fed butter
How to Make It
- Cut up butter into cubes. Place into a medium saucepan, and heat over medium heat until melted.
- Bring to a gentle boil (keep an eye on it as butter can burn easily), and continue simmering until a layer of white foam forms on top. Skim the foam off with a spoon and keep simmering. A second layer of foam will form on top a few minutes later, skim it off again. Keep cooking and skimming until there is no foam left on top, the butter is golden yellow, and milk solids have formed on the bottom, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Line a fine mesh sieve with several layers of cheesecloth and place over a clean, dry jar. Pour ghee into the jar, letting the sieve and the cheesecloth catch the milk solids and other impurities. Let cool and store in a cool, dark place, or in the refrigerator if planning on keeping it longer than 1 month.