What is ghee?: Ghee is a healthy fat for cooking you can buy or better make at home yourself with the help of our tips and step-by-step ghee recipe.
Clarified butter is integrated into Middle Eastern Mediterranean cuisines, contrary to the general belief that Indians are the only ones who use it for cooking. For several Eastern Mediterranean peoples and Indians making ghee is a regular cooking practice. And now Paleo cooking enthusiasts have also learned how to make ghee
Every country or ethnic group has its own version of ghee. Instead of olive oil, Egyptians use mostly samna, as they call clarified butter. Lebanese and Palestinians also cook with ghee.
In North Africa, Moroccan flavor couscous and other traditional dishes with clarified butter. Ethiopians have their own spiced version of butter ghee.
Click here for an illustrated step-by-step ghee recipe. Or continue reading for pictures and essential tips before you start making ghee.
By boiling off the water and removing the albuminous curds that bring about rancidity, clarified butter can be kept unrefrigerated for months in a regular kitchen scenario, or even years if you bury it like Moroccan do! For peoples living in very hot climates homemade butter ghee was always a necessity.
Is Ghee Healthy?
Ghee adds flavor to your food, and is good for your health too. According to reputable Indian Ayurvedic practitioner, Dr. Vasant Lad:
“[Ghee] helps digestion because it stimulates the secretion of digestive juices.”
Important Tips Before You Start Making Ghee
- Always use unsalted butter.
- Use organic butter or the highest quality butter you can get. Cheap butter contains lots of water and chemicals that make the ghee making process very difficult or downright impossible. Cheap butter burns mush faster and takes a long time to clarify; with low quality butter it is very difficult to obtain an excellent ghee.
- If you have never made ghee before, begin with at least 2 pounds (1 kg) of butter, as we recommend in this illustrated ghee recipe. Small amounts of butter burn very easily. Later on, when you have familiarized yourself with the ghee making process, you can prepare any amount you like.
- Make sure the pot where you make the clarified butter is very clean and very dry. Sorry if this tip sounds silly, but it’s important for obtaining a healthy fat that keeps its good fat qualities for months.
- Remember that the pot must be uncovered during the whole cooking process.
How to Store Clarified Butter
- Clarified butter should be stored covered in a glass or earthen jar. Indian and Middle Eastern have special containers for ghee. We didn’t have any, so we ended up choosing a ceramic jar traditionally used for curing olives, of course now we only used it for storing the clarified butter and it works very well.
- Don’t let any water get into your clarified butter jar or ladle it out with a wet spoon. A drop of water can promote bacteria and spoil the ghee completely. When we started making ghee, we made a point of wiping the spoon before dipping it into the ghee and now we always remember that the spoon must be really dry.
- Ghee keeps unrefrigerated for months. There is no need to keep it in the refrigerator, but if you live in a very warm climate and it makes you feel uncomfortable, go ahead and refrigerate it. However, as butter ghee hardens quite a lot when refrigerated, it’s sensible to keep a small jar of unrefrigerated clarified butter on your kitchen shelf for everyday use.
If you would like to share tips on making ghee or your overall ghee with clarified butter, please don’t be shy and share your experience in the comment sections below.