Ghee recipe with step-by-step photos.
What is ghee
Ghee is a form of highly clarified butter with a nutty flavor 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 have been used in traditional cooking for centuries in Indian cuisine. 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 smoking 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 when compared to butter. It is also called liquid gold, full of nutrition, and health benefits.
This delicious superfood is an integral part of every Indian household and is used in my day-to-day cooking. It is not only used for cooking but a dollop of ghee is added when serving meals and mixed with hot steamed rice or spread on roti/paratha. It is also an important part of the Indian dessert.
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 this cultured cream into butter and she would then make ghee out of the butter.
In this post, I will show how to make your own ghee (clarified butter) from butter. In this homemade ghee recipe, I have used store-bought butter. The residues left after making desi ghee can be used to knead the dough for roti or paratha which makes them soft and flavorful.
Once you start making it at home, you will never want to use store-bought ghee again. Follow this detailed recipe to make perfect clarified butter in the traditional way.
Cultural significance and Ayurveda
Ghee is mentioned in Mahabharat and is considered 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 and the Indian kitchen. It is also an integral part of Indian festivals and religious rituals. 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-bottomed pan and place it on medium-high heat (step 1). The butter will slowly become frothy and white foam will be formed. 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 clear golden liquid will remain on top (step 9). The cooking time will depend on the amount of butter used.
Carefully pour the hot ghee into the muslin cloth to separate the caramelized 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 a dark golden 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. When made perfectly, it can stay without refrigeration for a long time.
Also, when not simmered long enough, it will not develop the heavenly nutty 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.
Ghee can be stored at room temperature in a dark spot for up to three months. Storing it in the refrigerator can give it a longer shelf life of up to one year. Cool it completely and place it in mason jars (or any clean glass jar) and seal them tightly before storing.
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 grass-fed butter and where possible, use organic butter.
The whole process may take 20-30 minutes and the total time depends on the amount of butter and the heat. Keep a close eye on it and keep stirring intermittently, taking care it does not burn.
Make sure the ghee is stored in a dry glass jar or container. Any moisture content in the jar can reduce its shelf life.
You can also make ghee in an Instant Pot. Place the butter in the inner pot of the Instant Pot and set it to saute mode (normal). The butter melts at around the 10-minute mark. It is best to set an external timer to check the time. The melted butter will begin to boil and turn frothy. The milk solids separate after about 10-12 minutes and settle at the bottom of the pan. Transfer the ghee to a heat-safe container immediately to avoid burning it.
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 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.
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 unsalted 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.
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