If you are into healthy eating, I’m sure you heard of ghee. I got used to this delicious golden goodness as I’m cooking more and more Indian cuisine. Ghee is a fantastic replacement for oil or butter when you need to cook or fry on higher temperature – its smoke point is more than double of the typical cooking temperatures (which is about 200°F). Yes, so is coconut oil, but some people don’t care for the added flavor of coconut in their dishes that some of the coconut oils provide. Ghee really is clarified butter – when the fat is separated from milk solids.
I was told by a rabbi once that ghee is naturally kosher (when you make it yourself, ), acceptable for people with dairy allergies because with removed milk solids, there is a minimum trace of dairy in the ghee (although I’m not a doctor so please take this as my opinion based on experience, with a dose of skepticism). Ghee is naturally easier to digest, have a longer shelf life than regular butter and doesn’t have to be refrigerated. Mine sits on the counter because I cook with it a lot. It’s also an SOS solution to use instead of butter in case you forget to take the butter out of the fridge, and it’s too hard to spread on the bread.
When you leave ghee out, it stays either liquid or soft, ready to be added to my Bulletproof coffee or to accommodate my morning omelet.
But don’t make the same genius mistake I made when I first attempted to make ghee years back! I did what everyone does – searched the Google for an answer. I found one recipe that I tried. It was good (I guess), but the recipe didn’t say which part of the separated liquids and solids is supposed to be strained into the jar. In other words, which one is the GHEE???!!!! I’m afraid I threw out the ghee and kept the solids. A disaster. Yeah, the milk solids to throw out are the white stuff, and the beautiful golden liquid is what you want :).
These days the popularity of ghee grows and you can get it anywhere – but why not make your own? It’s really easy and you know exactly it’s clean and clear with only ingredients you want to add to it.
I know two ways how to make it – but usually go for the second, much easier way. If you’ve time and patience though, you can try the traditional way to make ghee. Let’s start with buying a good, organic butter from grass-fed cows. Or, Kerrygold Irish Butter (that I swear on) which is not organic, but the quality, in my opinion, is much better than what’s available as an organic butter on the American markets. Trust me on this. Just open them side by side, and compare the color. High-quality milk doesn’t create white butter.
So, in the traditional prep method, you heat up a butter in the stainless steel pot, stirring on medium-low heat, until the butter starts to separate and create foam (which you remove), and you’ll keep going and doing the same until all the milk solids are gone and all you’re left with is a golden ghee. It takes 15-30 minutes, depends on how high your heat is. Making ghee this way creates a lovely, nutty flavor of ghee – but there are few negatives to it. You have to stand by it and attend it the entire time. It’s quite easy to burn it and ruin the whole thing. But, some people swear that this is the proper and only way to do it.
Well, I make my ghee usually while I’m cooking other, multiple dishes, and can’t stand above the stove, watching ghee. So here is my super simple way: preheat the oven to 250°F. Place two whole Kerrygold Irish Butters (I use unsalted but it’s up to you) into an ovenproof dish that’s big enough for the butter but also good to hold when the hot ghee is ready to be strained and poured into a jar. From 2 bars of butter (or 4 American split ones) you will get 16 oz of liquid ghee.
Place the dish with butter into the oven, turn the timer for 2 hours and go do other things. No need to check on it, or attend it in any way, until the timer beeps and you take it out of the oven. Strain the ghee into a designated glass jar (it’s going to be super hot, so don’t even think about plastic), and you’re done! Whatever stays in the strainer – I use a strainer lined with a piece of white cloth I only use for ghee, so all the milk solids stay in there – then gets thrown away.
I also started gently seasoning my ghee – by adding 3-4 cloves, or 1-2 bay leaves and enjoy the very mild, gentle flavor. Just imagine how great your next Chicken Tikka Masala will taste!!! And please, let me know how it went!