Home Made DESI GHEE / देसी घी (Indian Clarified Butter)

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HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!!

As the Indian life style changed so did the perception about ghee. Many people hold on to the belief that ghee or butter should be avoided as much as possible. I too was of this opinion until I came across a newspaper article written by nutritionist Ishi Khosla who is also the founder of the weightmonitor.com

According to her, there is a lot of misinformation about fat, which is, that fat is bad. All fats are not bad. There are good fats or essential fats and then there are bad fats. The key is to know the sources of both and strike the right balance. The good fats include nuts, seeds, fatty fish and cold pressed oils. Fried foods contain undesirable fattening trans-fatty acids. These should be avoided or at least taken seldom.
One should include a variety of vegetable oils in one’s diet since most vegetable oils individually do not have an ideal mix of fats. So go for blended oils such as mustard, canola, rice bran, olive and ghee. Khosla vehemently recommends kicking out refined oils from one’s diet. These apparently disturb the overall immune system. She is of the opinion that traditional fats like ghee, coconut oil and butter need not be totally stopped. They have an important role to play in immunity and digestion. Our body needs some essential fatty acids.

According to Gita, one of the most sacred scripture of the Hindus, there are three gunas or categories that control and influence one’s physical, mental and spiritual state. The food too has been categorized under these three gunas – Saatvik diet which is believed to nourish the soul, enrich and expand one’s consciousness and offers peace of mind. Rajas diet includes foods that over stimulate body and mind, leading to restlessness and Tamas which are foods that bring on a sense of dullness and inertia, leading to degeneration of one’s health.

Ghee is considered part of the Saatvik diet. A lot of Ayurvedic medicines have ghee as their core ingredient. This fat is believed to heal. There was a time when ghee was considered elixir i.e. the traditional home made one. It is ideal for deep frying since its smoke point is well above typical cooking oil temperatures and above that of most vegetable oils.The commercially available ones are most likely to be hydrogenated vegetable oil and heated milk fat. No wonder the ghee gradually earned a bad reputation for itself.

The word ghee comes from the Sanskrit word ‘ghṛta’  which means sprinkle so just as some wise person once said, “everything in moderation”, the same principle applies to the intake of ghee as well. A little sprinkle is all one needs to incorporate in one’s daily diet. Ghee is believed to help in regulating digestion and promoting optimum metabolism. According to Ayurvedic physician, Dr Bhayashree Zope, it helps improve the ratio of HDL (good cholesterol) to LDL (bad cholesterol) and helps control the triglycerides. Apart from its goodness, it enhances the taste of the food too. Looks like a winner to me J

Ghee having attained a soft grainy texture upon cooling

Here is the traditional method of making ghee. You will need

A thick bottom vessel/ saucepan
Large spoon  (to stir)
Muslin cloth
Tea Sieve
Sterilized air-tight Glass Container/s

Take the pan and place the butter into it. Now, switch on the heat and turn it on medium. 



Let the butter melt. (Stir it in between while it is melting)



The butter will start becoming foamy/ frothy at the top. This process would take about 4-5 minutes. 


 
The butter will now begin to boil. Stir it gently once. Be careful as the butter might splutter. 
Let it boil for 5 minutes. Now, lower the heat to minimum and stir again one last time and no more after this stage. 


 
Gradually the solids will settle down at the bottom of the pan. The foam on the surface will now begin to settle as well, though not completely.
The surface of the melted butter will now be quite clear and you can see the ghee in its golden glory!    


 
I cook it further on to caramelise the milk solids coz it imparts a nutty and toasty kind of flavor that is simply awesome!  



Carefully and gently remove any foamy scum that may appear (it didn’t happen with me) from the surface without disturbing the ghee or the bottom of the pan. Cool the ghee slightly. Line the sieve with muslin cloth and strain the ghee into air tight glass container. 


Let the ghee cool completely and then shut it tightly with cover. Ghee can be stored for a month (or even longer during winters); all you need to ensure is that the lid is always tightly shut and you store it at a cool and dry place. Moisture can easily spoil the ghee. 


Note: Do NOT cover the pan at any stage of the cooking process. 
Note: Be patient and stay near the gas stove, by the cooking butter, since the butter has a mind of its own. 
Note: The process timing may vary slightly depending on the amount of heat and kind of butter you are using. The whole process took me 20 minutes. (However, I cooked it further for approx 3-4 minutes to impart that toasty flavor)
Note: As the ghee cools, it will solidify and attain a soft grainy texture; it will solidify more where the weather is cold and will remain liquidy-grainy where the weather is warm.

Suggestion: I vehemently suggest that at each stage of the cooking process, keep smelling the melting butter and see how the aroma changes and it acquires that slightly burnt and nutty kind of flavor. You will be amazed!


Note: Please consult your doctor in case you have a medical condition that requires you to avoid fats. 


Thanks for visiting and see you soon again! 

IT IS ALWAYS ENCOURAGING TO HEAR FROM FRIENDS AND READERS. I CAN ALSO BE REACHED AT: easyfoodsmith@gmail.com
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67 Comments

  1. that’s such a good post… i love the flavor of ghee in my food, but then thinking of the fat ratio discourages me. reading your post i feel i should try to include a little more ghee into my diet then. love the step by step, should try this out sometime when i have the patience…

  2. I’ve been comfortable with store bought ghee. You know my life is about time and everything is also about easy preparation. Yet I agree that the best ghee is from our kitchen. The visuals are stunning and the recipe? keep to be tried, maybe one of the weekends.

  3. Happy new year, Taruna! I prefer to make my own desi ghee because it tastes better and fresher. I can caramelize it as much or as little I want. In fact I made it today and I like eating the caramelized solids, so good.

  4. everything in moderation is the right way to tackle anything in life. One of my favorite sayings comes from Paracelsus which is “the dose makes the poison”. Too much water and we would drown, too much chocolate and we would most probably explode. ^.^ The same definitely can be applied to ghee too as you have explained it so well. By the way, I have heard of ayurvedic cooking before and I did see some books but they seemed rather boring… Do you know any good books around this topic?
    Oh and I am inspired to make my own ghee now with your pictures. Your recipe will help out some friends of mine!

    btw I was looking to connect with you via pinterest but I couldn’t find out if you were there already.

  5. I really need to make ghee someday, expensive to buy made. I believe in moderation so butter is good too. I also know a little bit about Ayurvedic medicines and they do use ghee a lot to helps absorb the benefits of an herb. Great recipe and a very Happy New Year to you.

  6. Lots of interesting information, thanks for sharing! I consume extra virgin olive oil and I do not fry food. I think I have never used any other oil in my life! I guess I should diversify 🙂 Moderation is a key word always!

  7. Thank you for this wonderful tutorial. Ghee is amazing to use in so many dishes and you make the whole process so easy. Your photos are amazing, I just kept staring at that first one. Who could make butter look so pretty?

  8. Beautiful pics.. I know there has been a lot of debate over ghee lately… i believe that it is okay to eat in moderation, at the end it is a fat, but one that we need in moderation. 🙂

    • Yes the debate has always been there and I believe that ghee is a result of the ancient India’s wisdom and if taken in moderation clubbed with some physical activity, it does good to the body.

  9. I was having lunch with some friends just the other day and one of them said that she use to always make ghee and have a jar on the counter. It got me really interested in it. Not just using it, but making it. It must have been a sign, because here is a great process! And look at that golden goodness! Thanks for detailing this process! I love forward to making it!

    • Hello Mr Swami, Looks like you are using desi ghee or clarified butter for the first time. The ghee WILL smell/ give off a nutty aroma (Ensure you use good quality and not rancid butter while making ghee); it is meant to smell that way. I am afraid there is NO way to ‘refine’ the ghee.

    • No Utkarshini. The grains are characteristic texture of ghee once it cools. Grainy ghee is considered to be actually better in quality.

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