Making Ghee (Clarified Butter) at Home
This has been a long pending post, and is especially for my cooking class students in Sydney! Ghee (Hindi) / Neyyi (Tamil) / Tuppa (Kannada), is clarified butter, and very commonly made in Indian households. It is very simple to make, yet tricky for those making it for the first time.
Indian food is incomplete without some absoloutely yummy delicious fragnant golden ghee! Its a very healthy saturated fat, unlike the yucky hydrogenated vegetable oils which are flooding the market, and even better than vegetable oils as well! And before, my post swings away into why ghee is better than oil, I better get back to the recipe!
It is critical to use the best quality butter you can get your hands on to make good ghee. Ghee should be a nice yellow colour, granular (see close up snap below), and aromatic. The best ghee I have had is in my childhood. My grandparents had cows at home, who were revered and fed the best grass and hay. So the milk, butter and ghee where all made at home. I am yet to see ghee of that quality anywhere in all these years.
The butter I've used below Lurpak unsalted butter. Its produces good ghee. However, my last batch was made with a grass-fed organic brand, which was far better in colour, flavour and aroma.
The recipe for ghee is simple: Heat unsalted butter on a very low flame, and keep cooking until all the moisture evaporates, and the honey coloured clear liquid separates! The pitures below show different stages. The butter will first melt and start boiling. You can see the froth bubbling on top. After sometime, the froth may thin out, and if you gently blow on the surface you can see clear liquid below. At the base of the vessel you may find some white solids collecting as well. Once the white solids start turning pinkish brown, you must switch off the flame. You can add a pinch of salt, which helps the solids to stick together, thereby making it easier to filter out the ghee. You can add flavourings such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves if you want. In this case I added bay leaf (and no salt), which not only added flavour, but also helped gathering the solid particles to together. Addition of salt / bayleaf also helps in getting the desired granular texture of ghee. My grandmom used to say "Nalla neyyi manal madiri irrukanum"which means "Good ghee should be almost like sand"!! Pour out the liquid ghee carefully into a clean dry glass or stainless steel container. You can use a filter if you wish. When the ghee cools, it will solidify.
|500grams of unsalted Lurpak butter|
|The butter has melted.|
|The mositure is evaporating and froth is thinning out.|
|Clear honey coloured ghee is seen below the froth. Time to switch off the flame.|
|Bayleaves have been added.|
|Carefully pour out only the liquid in a dry steel / glass container.|
|Look at that amazing yummy ghee!|
|Notice the granular texture of this beautiful ghee!|
1. Use the best quality butter you can find. Grass-fed organic butter is good!
2. Use a fairly thick pan and a very low flame.
3. Make sure you don't overcook or undercook. Once ghee is made its a matter of minutes before it overcooks! The colour will turn dark brown, and it will smells burnt and bad. If the smell changes, discard the entire batch! Its bad for health, and spoils the taste of food. If ghee is undercooked and any moisture is present, it will go rancid!4. Store ghee in a dry glass / steel jar in your pantry. Use a dry spoon always. Never put your ghee in the fridge - this will reduce the life span of ghee, as the condensation in the fridge will again cause your ghee to go rancid quickly. If properly stored, your ghee will last for months - if you haven't already eaten it!