What is Ghee?
Ghee is a pure butter fat made from cow or buffalo milk. Ghee is similar to clarified butter, except that the butter is cooked a step further to remove a little more moisture and most of the milk solids. Browning these milk solids brings out the nutty and unmistakable aroma of ghee.
Ages ago Indians discovered how to make ghee to preserve the butter or cream they had on hand, as they had no source of refrigeration.
Ghee is used mainly in Indian Cooking and in Ayurvedic Practices. Recently, however, ghee has become quite popular in high-fat diets as the fats in ghee have been recognized for their healthy qualities.
What is Ghee made from?
Ghee can be made several ways, usually involving some source of either cow or buffalo milk. In some countries they use camel milk too. For this post, I’ll be focusing on the former.
Ghee is made from either of the following ingredients, preferably from grass-fed or organic sources if possible:
- Unsalted sweet cream or cultured butter
- Heavy cream
- And if you have loads of time and access to it, you can make it with non-homogenized milk.
Ghee is extremely shelf-stable and can be stored at room temperature for months at a time, if you can keep your hands off it for that long ;).
How is Ghee Made?
Ghee is made by heating the butter over a moderately high heat. The butter is cooked to get rid of the excess moisture (water) and then strained to remove the milk solids. The milk solids contain mostly lactose (the sugars) and casein (the protein). Once these components are removed you will be left with pure Ghee. When making the ghee at home, it is predominantly lactose-free but the ghee will still have minute traces of casein.
What makes ghee healthy for you?
- For centuries, Ghee has been used in Ayurvedic practices for numerous reasons, one of them being to get rid of toxins in the body.
- Ghee is rich in Vitamins A, D, K and E as well as in a CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) an anti oxidant with anti-virul properties.
- It’s a good healthy fat that should be in everyones cupboard. ‘It’s a good fat that burns your bad fat’. Research indicates that ghee, free from trans-fatty acids, is a key component in helping with weight loss.
- Ghee is easily digested by individuals who have an intolerance to casein or lactose.
Why use Ghee?
Ghee has a high smoking point, therefore making it popular amongst home cooks and chefs alike. The higher temperature brings out the flavors of the vast array of spices that need to be tempered at such a high heat.
Ghee is shelf-stable and can last for months at room temperature.
How can I use Ghee?
- Introduce yourself to ghee by spreading it on toast. Don’t blame me if you get addicted 🙂
- Sauté your vegetable with a little ghee, you will absolutley love it!
- Pan-frying fish in ghee is like no other. Yum!
- Add a knob of ghee to freshly made rice and watch it melt away before digging in.
- Switch out the butter for ghee in baking recipes.
- Ghee can be used on pretty much anything that calls for butter.
Other uses for Ghee
- Ghee was and is still used for lighting lamps during spiritual practices because of it’s pure state.
- Ghee works effectively in relieving cracked lips, cuticles and more.
- My mother would immediately slather ghee onto a skin burn when in the kitchen.
- Newborns in india are massaged with pure oils such as almond, sesame and ghee.
- It is customary in some Indian cultures to give a newborn a tiny taste of dates mixed with a little ghee! Now that’s a good welcoming if you ask me 🙂
My grandmothers have been using Ghee for decades and my ancestors, obviously, for much longer. Both my grandmother’s used to say they had Ghee Power! They believed they were so healthy because of all the Ghee they consumed. And I would hate to disagree. They both had such beautiful skin, free of significant wrinkles, they didn’t suffer from any inflammatory diseases and they toiled around tirelessly in various activities till they were of significant age.
Ghee played a large role in my life growing up and it still does today. My kids love ghee and I hope they will continue loving it, so that they too, can benefit from Ghee Power!
Well… there you have it! A little bit about Ghee…
I would love to hear from my students, subscribers to my blog (thank you) and my fellow bloggers too.
8 thoughts on “Ghee Facts”
I really like Indian food but I think many restaurants and delis in Minneapolis use soy oil in their dishes, which my body doesn’t accept very well. Do you know restaurants that use ghee, and not soy oil? -thanks for making ghee.
Sadly I have to say that most Indian restaurants do use various types of oils. I am currently trying to get some restaurants (not all indian) to use ghee. If I am successful I will for sure let you know. I guess you could call ahead of time to ask they could make it with ghee for you they might oblige. In the meantime. Try some of my recipes, they are super easy to make and most of the spices you can get at a Target or Trader Joes. Hope I was able to help a little.
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I loved this post! I used to make (a very lazy version of) ghee right before I made any kind if Indian food by clarifying the butter and scooping off whatever milk solids had accumulated at the top, but I have to admit I have gotten lazy in recent years and just used oil or regular butter. This post makes me want to try ghee once again. Ghee on rice – yum!! And how fascinating about the newborns! Wow.
Thanks so much HD! I too, used butter when a recipe called for ghee for a short period of time. I eventually realized that butter just didn’t float my boat for certain recipes and I jumped right back on the Ghee wagon! lol. I’m so happy I made you want to try ghee again, yay!!! Let me know how it goes 🙂
this is lovely! You know ghee 🙂 You’re right–liquid gold and making me weak in the knees. You’re amazing. Do you still use it on your skin, too? Had never thought of it as a beauty product.
Thank you Liz. I know isn’t ghee just awesome! Unfortunately I do not use it on my face. Maybe I should and then I’d look like Padma Lakshmi, glistening and golden 🙂 Although I think she uses sesame oil. I do, however use it on my hands quite often. And I plaster it on the kids lips when they get cracked lips from playing outside in this cold.
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