Ghee, also known as clarified butter, is butter that has had the solid fats, water and salts removed by slow simmering. Classical Ayurvedic texts describe the many medicinal, nutritional and healing benefits of Ghee. It is said to balance all three doshas, and lead to the production of Ojas, or vital energy, in the mind and body. Kapha dosha types are advised to use ghee in smaller quantities due to its oily nature. Ayurvedic herbology also values ghee for its ability to carry herbs and other medicines deep into the tissues of the body. Persons who already have high cholesterol or suffer from obesity should be cautious in using ghee.
Ghee is excellent for sauteing vegetables and also frying spices. It has a smooth, slightly nutty taste and an opaque, deep yellow color when cool. Ayurveda considers ghee one of the most stable cooking oils, due to its ability to withstand high temperatures without burning or becoming rancid.
For the best results, I recommend always starting with organic unsalted butter when possible. If organic butter is unavailable, however, the process of clarification will remove the majority of impurities found within commercial butters today.
- Put the butter in a heavy, medium-sized pan. Turn the heat on to medium until the butter melts.
- When all of the butter has melted, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally. Do not cover the pot.
- After about 5 minutes, the butter will begin to form a white froth on its surface and will also create popping sounds as moisture evaporates from the butter.
- After 10 minutes, the froth will begin to sink to the bottom of the pan where it will collect and form a golden brown crust. Keep a close watch on the ghee, as it can easily burn.
- After a while it will become a clear, golden color. You will have to use spoon to move away some of the foam on top in order to see if the ghee is clear all the way through to the bottom. When it is clear and has stopped sputtering and making noise, then it needs to be taken off the heat. Let it sit for 15 minutes.
- Pour it through a fine sieve or layers of cheesecloth into a clean, dry glass container with a tight lid. Discard the curds at the bottom of the saucepan.
Ghee is best stored at room temperature and is said to get better with age. The key, however, is always to use a clean spoon when taking ghee from the jar, in order to avoid spoilage resulting from contamination with other foods.
500 gm of butter takes about 15 minutes of cooking time. The more butter you are using, the more time it will take.