Not so long ago I posted a recipe of a cake which included ghee as the main fat component. Since then I have been asked a few times now the same question. Is it really that easy to make ghee? The answer is – yes it is!
But lets go back to the basics first.
Lately it’s all about simplicity! Less is more is something that you hear often and relates to many subjects. I couldn’t agree more! Especially when it comes to food because I believe that is a new food driving motto. Finally, we come to our senses where quality beats quantity and we get to enjoy the beauty of the ingredients and well as the dish. That is true artisan cooking and baking, that is the art of simplicity and can’t be easily beaten.
That is ghee and the simplicity of making it. And it’s not just easy but it’s healthier and smoother! Ghee is over 60% fat but so are almonds and all these fats are good! By separating clarified butter and all milk solids we end up with clear and pure fat, which means that way we are avoiding saturated fats (those are the not so good ones) and that brings us back to the healthier side. Plus, in baking for example, if you need a substance that will not interfere with other ingredient’s defined tastes but will help to combine them – ghee is the way to go. Although if you simmer the butter a little longer – which is how you can get a slightly nutty flavour from caramelised milk solids – it’s still very mild and won’t take over. I use ghee for making cakes, cookies, greasing pans for pancakes/waffles, making omelettes and frying vegetables. So basically it can be used for all cooking if it satisfies your taste. I have to admit that when I am thinking about ghee and when to use it, I quite often think of butter and whether I would use it in that moment. I believe that is my european background coming out. You should chose your own way.
In short, I love this golden colour liquid. It’s been present for many years now and comes from the mystic cultures of India and the Arab world. As I continue to use it I’ll think of all the untold stories that this basic ingredient hasn’t told us yet…
The shelf life of ghee is quite long. Actually I did a little experiment, purely for this purpose, and I have kept my ghee for four weeks now at room temperature and the lovely home made ghee is still fresh and ready to use. Just so you know, ghee can be made on a monthly basis and can be used for the same time. Again – simplicity.
250 gr unsalted good quality butter
1 small pot
1 clear jar
1 muslin cloth
Melt the butter gently in a pot and once melted simmer for a few minutes. The process of separating milk solids from pure fat will start just after a minute or less. That is what you are waiting for. Simmer for another minute or until you get the nice golden colour of a clear butter. The difference between clarified butter and ghee is just in the simmering time. Ghee comes after clarified butter is simmered for a few minutes and in that process milk solids can be caramelised and an extra flavour will be added to the ghee. That depends on the ghee maker as well; you can decide how long you would like to simmer the ghee.
On the end you will have three layers in your pot. A thin layer of foam on the top, a thick layer of clear golden liquid in the middle and the milk solids on the bottom. Remove the pot from the stove and leave for a few second so the foam settles and is not so bubbly. As soon as that happens, remove foam using spoon and pour the clear butter into a jar trough a muslin cloth, ideally placed on the top of the tea strainer. Leave all the milk solids in the pot, you don’t want them in your ghee – after all, that is the whole purpose of this process.