The what. Ghee is essentially a clarified butter where the milk solids are removed from the fat retaining all of those precious fat-soluble vitamins. As part of making ghee you gently toast the leftover milk solids on the bottom of the pan, infusing the butter with a delicious nutty flavour. So it’s butter, without the milk proteins, that’s even more flavourful . . . can’t go wrong.
The why. Ghee has been used in Ayurveda for thousands of years and is known to be nourishing and healing for the body, my partner even uses it on his face! I think it tastes even better than butter, which for me is a big call as I love everything about butter. It was originally created to extend the life of butter during the warmer months, so it can be stored at room temperature for several weeks as the milk proteins have been removed during the clarifying process. As the casein protein has been removed it’s a great alternative for people who have dairy allergies. With a high smoke point, it’s also great for frying and adds another layer of flavour to your dish. Just like any fat though, please enjoy in moderation.
The how. Ghee is a labour of love and the butter will require your undivided attention for at least 30mins to make it happen. Clarifying butter is a process that involves slowly and gently removing the water and the milk solids from the fat. So let’s do this . . . one step at a time.
Melt the butter. First, we need to evaporate the water in the butter. So chop up a 500g bar of butter into smaller chunks and add them to a saucepan with a heavy bottom so you don’t overheat and burn the milk solids. You want to gently melt and bring the butter to a simmer.
Separate the milk solids. Once the butter has completely melted, it will begin to bubble and separate. The water and then the milk solids start to rise to the top and sit on the surface as a foam. This is where your focused attention is required! You’ll need to patiently scoop the foam from the surface until the butter becomes clear. I use my leftover milk solids to make fried chicken nom nom. Some people like to use it to make a milk-based dessert, so nothing goes to waste!
Brown the milk solids. Once the butter is clear and most of the milk solids have been scooped up there will be some pesky milk solids lingering on the bottom. Leave them there, continue to simmer the butter and allow them to brown. Eagle eyes on that butter as you do not want it to burn! The heat continues to toast the milk solids on the bottom of the pan and infuses the butter with a butterscotch flavour. Look for those amber-brown tones on the bottom of the pan and then remove from the heat.
Strain. Allow the ghee to cool and then strain through a triple layer of cheesecloth into a sterilised glass jar. Any left-over browned solids not stuck to the bottom of the pan should be collected by the cheesecloth.
Done! you should have a heavenly golden liquid leftover that will cool and turn into a pale yellow nutty goodness. Enjoy the benefits of this delicious and nourishing oil.