Ghee is clarified butter commonly used in South Asian cuisine. The word ghee has its origins from Sanskrit. It is also used in Egyptian and Somalian cuisine. Ghee is used to give flavor and aroma to the food. It is clarified butter without any milk particles and water. It is considered to a sattvic food. Sattvic food is a food that promotes clarity and calmness according to Ayurveda.
Ghee is usually made with buffalo milk. However, it can be made with any milk. Before refined cooking oil was available, most people used ghee to cook their food. Ghee’s nutritional benefits are controversial. In a study where rats were fed with ghee, it showed a reduction in their serum cholesterol. However, they are also believed to produce free radicals while cooking. Radicals can cause cell and liver damage.
Making ghee is very simple. Unsalted butter is heated until all the water is evaporated. Place a cube of unsalted butter in a pan. As the butter begins to boil, it the solid particles settle down at the bottom of the pan. The butter should be heated till it turns golden brown. This indicates there is no water left in the butter. Turn off the heat immediately or the ghee could burn easily. Leave the ghee to cool for about 20 minutes. Then use a muslin cloth to strain the ghee. Collect the ghee in a clean container. The ghee is yellowish in color when it is solid. It turns to a golden liquid when heated.
Ghee has a long shelf life. It can last for more than a year without any refrigeration. Ghee is mostly used to make sweets like laddu, halwa and Mysore Pak. It is also applied on rotis and naan to give a unique flavor. To prevent ghee from spoiling, avoid using spoons that are wet and also keep the container away from moisture.