Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Home-made Ghee (Ghee-a in Odiya)

Ghee or clarified butter adds a new flavor to Rice\Roti\Paratha. I remember a few instances when I had no appetite and just mixing Rice with Ghee and a pinch of salt was a complete meal! Adding the Ghee tempering to lentils gives it a different type of taste boost. Most people tend to avoid it as a fattening ingredient; few know that it has digestive properties and helps avoid constipation. The wikipedia entry for Ghee has more information.

Love the golden color!

I follow the recipe on this link which is repeated below. I make it almost once a year and have been doing so for the past nine years. I first learned of this technique roughly from my MIL when she was visiting me right after my wedding. In our climatic conditions, I can just leave the prepared ghee in an air-tight container in a shelf and it stays good for months together. I should add here that whenever my mom used to make Ghee when I was a kid, I used to wait for the milk solids that are the remnants of the Ghee preparation process - add a spoon of sugar and enjoy the nutty flavors. For health-conscious reasons, I don't do that anymore - it is really tough to hold back on that temptation though! ;)

1 pound unsalted butter


Put the butter in a heavy, medium-sized pan. Turn the heat on to medium until the butter melts.
Turn down the heat until the butter just boils and continue to cook at this heat. Do not cover the pot. The butter will foam and sputter while it cooks. Whitish curds will begin to form on the bottom of the pot. The butter will begin to smell like popcorn after a while and turn a lovely golden color. 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 take a clean, dry 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 cool until just warm. 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. The ghee is burned if it has a nutty smell and is slightly brown.
1 pound of butter takes about 15 minutes of cooking time. The more butter you are using, the more time it will take.
Ghee can be kept on the kitchen shelf, covered. It does not need refrigeration. The medicinal properties are said to improve with age. Don’t ladle out the ghee with a wet spoon or allow any water to get into the container, as this will create conditions for bacteria to grow and spoil the ghee.
Two pounds of butter will fill a quart jar with ghee.

Some other tips I came across while googling and would love to try them when I am making the next round of Ghee:
  • Even Alton Brown could not resist making ghee here!
  • Mailing list reply by Debra here
    • ..the best way that I have learned to make ghee is in the oven.  Preheat 350 degrees F.  I take my big white corning roaster and put in my unsalted organic butter.  Usually 3 lbs. worth.  No lid.  Once the oven has reached it's heat level I place the roaster and the butter in the oven and let it melt down.  I use my oven timer for one hour to make sure that I don't forget about it.......
      Once the timer has gone off, I turn the oven down to 325 F, I keep setting the timer  for 10 minutes at a time until the ghee has boiled down and there is nothing left on top and brown things on the bottom.  It is usually a golden to light brown color.  I then pour it into a big glass bowl that has a wire mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth about four folds worth.  Then I ladle it into small little jars with lids.  Once the cheesecloth has cooled I can still manage to squeeze out a fair amount of ghee from it. I use that jar first.
  • The post here recommends adding yogurt and a pinch of salt for longer shelf life and flavor.
  • Sharmi's post here
    • You can use rock salt or curry leaves or drumstick leaves dipped in buttermilk and add it at the last stage.
    • Adding drumstick leaves or curry leaves makes the ghee more flavourful and will help stay so for a longer time.
    • Do the whole process in low or medium low flame to avoid burning.


Supriya's Rasoi said...

Wow Pragyan home made ghee always tastes best.

Santosh Bangar said...

useful post

Sanoli Ghosh said...

Lovely post, learnt many tips from your ghee preparation. Thanks for sharing such useful recipe.

Vanamala Hebbar said...

Nice post...