A beginners guide to Ghee- What is Ghee & How to make homemade Ghee?
What is Ghee?
Ghee is melted and clarified butter. It is used in a lot of Indian recipes. Most of the Indian desserts are made with it. In ancient times people in colder parts of the world preserved dairy products by curdling milk to form cheese. Since the southern part of India is located near the equator it would have been hard to store cheese. So they discovered the process of making ghee. Butter has 15% water content in it. When it's melted the water particles separate from the fat. The liquid fat is filtered using a strainer. This melted and clarified fat is Ghee. Since Ghee doesn't have any water content, it can be stored at room temperature for upto 3 months.
Ghee also has a high medicinal. According to Ayurveda (ancient Indian healing system) Ghee helps to improve our body's digestive ability. Lentil rice with ghee is a common baby food in India. Moms used to cook rice and lentils separately and mix them together into a soft and smooth consistency for babies to eat easily. And then while the rice and lentil mixture is still warm they add a teaspoon of ghee ,which melts right into the rice. It is a simple and nutritious baby food . The ghee gives a nice flavor and aroma to the food. In fact adults too add a teaspoon of ghee to warm rice and sambar(lentil soup). It makes the humble rice and lentils taste divine.
How to make Ghee?
Place 4 sticks of unsalted butter in a heavy bottomed pot. Place the pot on the stove and melt the butter in low heat. Once the butter has completely melted, it starts making crackling noise. Keep stirring the melted butter occasionally to avoid burning in the bottom of the pot. The water content in the butter separates from the fat and form white frothy particles on the surface. When you keep cooking the butter in low heat the solid particles will settle down in the bottom of the pot and the crackling noise will stop. At this stage switch off the heat and let the melted butter cool down for 5 minutes. Place a strainer or a cheese cloth on the mouth of a clean jar and pour the melted butter into the jar. This is ghee melted and clarified butter.