Ghee recipe with step-by-step photos.
What is ghee
Ghee is a form of highly clarified butter that is used in Indian cooking. It is made by heating unsalted butter until it clarifies and separates into protein and fat. Making ghee is a process of removing the milk solids or milk protein from butter.
Ghee is known to be used in traditional cooking for centuries in India. In addition to being very flavourful and versatile, it is known to have many health benefits. It contains a good amount of healthy fats and vitamins and has a high smoke point which prevents it from burning (unlike other refined cooking oil).
Ghee is also lactose-free (not dairy-free) as all the browned milk solids are removed completely while making it. Hence, it is a safer option for people with lactose intolerance than butter. It is like liquid gold, full of nutrition, and health benefits.
I have grown up eating homemade butter and ghee. I have never seen my mother buy them. My mother would collect cream from boiled milk and store it in the refrigerator every day. Towards the end of the week, she would churn it into butter and she would then make ghee out of the butter.
In this post, I will show how to make clarified butter from butter. (In this recipe, I have used store-bought butter). The residues left can be used to knead the dough for roti or paratha which makes them soft and flavorful.
Cultural significance and Ayurveda
Ghee is mentioned in Mahabharat and is considered as an essence of sustaining the world.
Ayurveda places it at the top of oils and lists its numerous benefits. Ayurveda considers it to improve memory and lubricate connective tissues. It is mentioned in Ayurveda that ghee helps improve digestion and fight inflammation. It is also rich in antioxidants which enhance the immune system.
From cooking to worship, ghee is an integral part of Indian culture. It is also an integral part of Indian festivals. The food prepared as an offering to the deity is always made with it. Not just the food, the wick used to light the lamp in front of the deity is also soaked in it.
Considered very auspicious, it is used not just for cooking, but ghee can be used as a base for herbal ointments. It works very well on healing rashes, cracked skin, and mild burns.
Place the butter in a heavy bottom pan and place it on medium heat (step 1). The butter will slowly become frothy. Keep simmering (step 2).
Scrape the sides and bottom of the pan. Continue to simmer (steps 3,4).
Keep checking the color of the milk solids. Stir intermittently and scrape the sides and bottom of the pan (steps 5-8).
The milk solids will start to settle to the bottom and yellow golden fat will remain on top (step 9).
Carefully pour the ghee into the muslin cloth to separate the milk solids (steps 10,11). Let it cool completely before storing (step 12).
How to check if the ghee is done
It is important to understand when the ghee is completely done and is ready to be stored.
To know when it is done, listen carefully to the crackling/simmering sound. Once the sound reduces it means that all the water content has evaporated and it is ready.
Also at this point, all the milk solids will change color from white to dark brown. If you continue to heat after this point, the milk solids will burn which will impart a bitter taste to it. It is also essential to transfer it to another metal or other heat-safe container as soon as it is ready to cool down. Otherwise, it will continue to cook and may develop a burnt taste.
On the other hand, if you do not simmer it long enough, there will be some water content left in it and it will spoil easily unless you refrigerate it. Well-made ghee can stay without refrigeration for a long time.
Also, when not simmered long enough, it will not develop the heavenly aroma which we associate with ghee. So it is important to know at what point it is ready. With a bit of experience, you will easily be able to understand at what point it is done.
Two cups of butter will give you approximately 1.5 cups of ghee. You may adjust the quantity of butter as per your need.
Ghee can be stored at room temperature in a dark spot for up to three months. Storing it in the refrigerator can increase its shelf life for up to one year.
The best ghee is made from the butter of organic grass-fed cow's milk. You may either use homemade or store-bought butter. Always use good quality butter and where possible, use organic butter.
Ghee is lactose-free but not dairy-free. It is made by removing the milk solids from butter. If it is cooked well enough to remove the lactose, it is considered lactose-free.
Ghee has a very high smoke point of 485 F (250 C) making it stable at high heat. Hence it is more suitable for deep frying.
The whole process may take 20-30 minutes depending on the amount of butter and the heat. Keep a close eye on it and keep stirring intermittently, taking care it does not burn.
No. Just continue to simmer and the froth will reduce, and eventually disappear. There is no need to skim it off. Keep scraping the sides and bottom of the pan as this will make sure the milk solids do not burn. Make sure to strain the ghee using cheesecloth or muslin.
This ghee recipe:
- is easy to make and suitable for beginners,
- is the authentic recipe,
- covers all your FAQs and troubleshooting to make it at home.
Ghee Recipe / How to make ghee
- 32 oz butter (2 lb)
- Take a heavy bottom pan and place the butter.
- Put it on medium heat and let the butter melt completely.
- Continue to stir. The butter will slowly become frothy.
- Keep simmering the butter. The froth will settle in about 10-15 minutes.
- Continue to simmer for a few more minutes.
- Keep stirring intermittently and scrape the sides and bottom of the pan. This will ensure that the milk solids do not burn.
- The white milk solids will slowly change color and start to turn brown.
- The whole process may take 25-30 minutes.
- The milk solids will start to settle to the bottom and yellow golden fat will remain on top. Turn off the heat.
- Meanwhile, place a muslin cloth over a strainer and place the strainer on a large vessel.
- Carefully pour the ghee into the muslin cloth to separate the milk solids.
- Let it cool completely before storing.
- Store ghee at room temperature.