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Ghee

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 03 February 2010 at 15:06
Ghee

Indian Butter Oil


From Time/Life’s Foods of the World - The Cooking of India (1969)


To make about 1.5 cups:


1 pound unsalted butter, divided into 1/4-pound pieces


In a heavy 4- to 5-quart saucepan, heat the butter over moderate heat, turning it about with a spoon to melt it slowly and completely without letting it brown. Then increase the heat and bring the butter to a boil. When the surface is completely covered with white foam, stir the butter gently and immediately reduce the heat to the lowest possible point. Simmer uncovered and undisturbed for 45 minutes, or until the milk solids on the bottom of the pan are a golden brown and the butter on top is transparent.


Slowly pour the clear liquid ghee into a large bowl, straining it through a fine sieve lined with a linen towel or 4 layers of dampened cheesecloth. If there are any solids (no matter how small) left in the ghee, strain it again to prevent it from becoming rancid later. The ghee must be perfectly clear.


Pour the ghee into a jar or crock, cover tightly, and store in the refrigerator or at room temperature until ready to use. Ghee will solidify when it is chilled, and for those recipes that require liquid ghee it should be melted but not browned over low heat unless otherwise indicated. It may be safely kept at room temperature for 2 or 3 months.


Note:


Cooking the butter evaporates its water content and separates the pure fat from the milk solids-to create a substance that resembles clarified butter. However, cooking the butter over low heat for a relatively long period not only clarifies it but also gives it a distinctive nutlike flavor produced by no other method. There are no traditional substitutes for ghee, but if you are willing to settle for less than the real thing, you may, when pressed for time, use simple clarified butter in the amounts indicated for the ghee. To make it, cut unsalted butter into small bits and, in a small saucepan or skillet, melt it slowly over low heat. Let the butter rest for a minute off the heat, then skim off the foam. Spoon the clear butter into a bowl. Discard the milky solids at the bottom of the pan. A quarter-pound stick of butter (8 tablespoons) yields 5 or 6 tablespoons of clarified butter.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote wolverine1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 April 2010 at 13:17
It is really easy to make good tasting, ghee in the USA. Just get good farmer's butter, made from unpasteurized milk,  and heat it in a pan , like in the original post. However, what Indian folks d o  is this- just as the milk solids separate from the  fat during the heating process, Indian folks will add a couple of fresh leaves from a lemon plant. This gives the ghee a sort of fresh, citrus-like , summery smell and taste, and then the ghee does not smell like a lump of greasy fat!!!
"If you think you can, YOU WILL!!!"
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Boilermaker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 December 2010 at 18:10
I too have made ghee many times and I agree that the lemon leaves sound like a marvelous addition.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Naki Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 August 2011 at 17:03
Great idea to use lemon leaves.  I shall try this.  My mum used a few stalks of curry leaves.  I am not sure you get them in the US.  They are easily available here in NZ (imported from Fiji).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 January 2013 at 15:49

I made a batch of ghee just a few minutes ago to replenish my dwindling supply. I took notes so I could share the details and hopefully help someone try it successfully their first go.

Have a clean jar ready to go. I use a re-purposed pickle jar of about a pint size.

Start with one pound of unsalted butter. I use store brand, on sale. Mine was frozen. Unwrap and place in a small saucepan over just a little more than low heat. Slowly melt the butter, taking care not to let it brown. It took 10 minutes for me to melt it.

As it melts you will notice a couple of things. A fine sheet of tiny off white bubbles covering the surface and these gurgling noises and if you stir it you will notice a cloud of suspended milk solids.

After it is completely melted the gurgling will increase and that fine layer of little bubbles will begin to grow into a mass that will threaten to overflow the pot. Turn the heat lower or remove the pot from the heat so this doesn’t happen. After you get this condition under control you will begin to see larger bubbles interspersed with the fine mat of bubbles.

The heat required is a balance of keeping the water boiling out of the butter and not so hot as to create vigorous and potentially harmful surges or brown the milk solids that precipitate to the bottom of the pot. Using the pot handle to gently swirl the contents now and again is a good thing.

You will see steam because butter has a lot of water in it. The noises you hear are the sound of water boiling under a thick layer of melted fat. At many points you will hear rushes of gurgles and this will sometimes launch a little hot fat out of the pot. This has the potential to cause harm and make a mess. Too much heat will make this problem worse, so keep it down. Not stirring helps as stirring can initiate a surge of boiling. You don’t want that.

As the water continues to evaporate, you will notice the fine foam of bubbles begin to be pushed to the edges, to be replaced with large, transparent bubbles. Eventually the fine bubbles will be gone. You will still hear the gurgling rushes here and there, but now you will notice a more constant background of gurgling noise. The entire surface now will be covered with clear bubbles of mostly a medium size and there will be a residue, or film on the bubbles surface at the edges of the pot.

The clear bubbles will begin to get more even in size and a little smaller.  They will entirely cover the surface. The residue, or film on the bubbles at the edges of the pot will be gone and the noises will all but stop. Immediately remove it from the heat and stir it till it mostly stops bubbling. A couple of minutes maybe.

Allow it to rest undisturbed for ½ hour. During this time it will cool and the milk solids will settle to the bottom of the pot and the bubbles will be mostly gone.

At this point, pour it though a fine strainer into a glass jar. Cap it loosely and allow it to cool on the counter completely. Tighten the cap and put it in the cupboard. I don’t know how long it will last, but maybe longer than all of us.

To recap what happened. We melted butter and carefully boiled all the water out of it. This also consolidated all of the milk solids and caused them to come out of suspension in the milk fat, separating the two. As soon as the water was completely gone we removed it from the heat and stirred it for a while, allowing the residual heat in the pot to slightly brown the milk solids to provide that wonderful nuttiness, but not let them brown too much. Then we let it set for ½ hour to allow the milk solids to settle and let it all cool down enough to put it in our storage jar without fear of cracking it. Then we strained it to remove any solids as we put it in the jar.

The left over milk solids, of which there will only be a tablespoon or so, is traditionally mixed with raw sugar (jaggery) and eaten out of hand and it is great on toast, or in steamed vegetables or mixed in a white sauce. Don’t throw it away.   

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 January 2013 at 08:37
looks good, rod ~
 
i always knew it was easy, but i didn't realise just HOW easy ~
 
looks like i'll have to make some and give it a try....thanks for posting!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 January 2013 at 09:01
It is easy and once you have it around and start using it for this and that, not necessarily Indian foods either, you'll find it can be very versatile. The hard part is remembering you have it around and then trying it in different ways.

I use the cheap stuff, so in this case it cost $1.49. The whole process, from taking it out of the freezer to straining it into the jar took just less than 1 hour. The cooking of it, from the point of where the butter was melted to the moment it was removed from the heat was maybe 15 minutes, so it's not an intense cooking experience. Just keep the heat down to prevent boil ups and not let the milk solids brown.

I'm missing my camera. There have been several times I wish I could have used it and this process begged for pictures. However, I used the camera several months ago at another location and since then I have not been able to locate it. I want to believe I have misplaced it somewhere and it will turn up. It wasn't an expensive camera but I don't want to replace it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AK1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 January 2013 at 13:29
I'm making a batch right now.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 January 2013 at 14:33
how did it work out? did it play out the way i described it?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 January 2013 at 15:21
If y'all aren't familiar with ghee there are two things about it you should know. Well, three. In American cookbooks you often see references to clarified butter. Samee-same. So don't let the strange name be a turn-off.  
 
Next, as Rod noted, it keeps two days longer than forever, unrefrigerated. Which probably explains why it originated in tropical countries.
 
So what we have is a food preservation continuum: Butter is a method of preserving milk, and ghee is a method of preserving butter.
 
Doncha just love it when a plan comes together.
 
Finally, by removing the moisture and milk solids, you raise the smoke point significantly. Whereas you never want to fry with butter, over high heat, this is not a problem with ghee. Indeed, if you made enough of it, and cared to do so, there's no reason you couldn't deep fry with it.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 January 2013 at 16:06
Yes, I'm sure it's origin is in food preservation. I first made this stuff many years ago and since then have rarely been without it. For the longest time, in the beginning, I always cooked it too long. I would allow the milk solids to color too much and let the resulting brown flavor permeate, almost dominate, the final product. I've come to like it the way I make it now as it is much more versatile and milder.

Bog butter anyone?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AK1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 January 2013 at 00:48
I did something wrong and it didn't quite separate. I'm going to try another batch later today and see what happens.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 January 2013 at 05:28
Hmmm. That's too bad. Without knowing all the details I can only guess at what happened, but I'm gonna guess anyway.

I'm going to guess that water still remained, possibly because it wasn't cooked at a high enough temperature to boil the water away, or possibly not cooked long enough. If either be the case, then you should be able to just start over and cook the same butter over again.

If there is anything I've done well over the years, it has been to serve as a bad example. In that I have excelled!Evil Smile So, in that light please provide the details so we can all learn from your experiences and so I can alter my procedure to make it clearer, as I must have steered you wrong somehow.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AK1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 February 2013 at 16:51
That was the problem. Heat to low and didn't cook it long enough.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 February 2013 at 06:46
I'm glad you got it!

Tell us what you've made with it.

I edited (in red) the original post to hopefully make it clearer.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 July 2015 at 16:39
I am making some ghee right now, in preparation for a meal tomorrow that will include Tandoori Murg, Salat and hopefully Naan. I am following the procedure in the opening post and Rod's notes.

The FotW recipe says to make it in a 4- to 5- quart pan, which seems, awfully big; however, I figured that surface area might come into play vis a vis the simmering away of the water in the butter, so I trusted the recipe and used a 4-quart pan.

So far, it has played out pretty much exactly as Rod's notes describe - we'll see how it goes.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 July 2015 at 23:14

The ghee turned out very well, as far as I can see:



It had an incredible aroma that I can only describe as deep and nutty, but there is more to it than that - it is a complex thing that I am still getting to know.


Once the ghee cooled a bit, it solidified and lightened in colour:



I put it in the refrigerator for storage, but as has been said before, it will last quite a long time under nearly any conditions, as it is intended to do.


I am looking forward to learning more about cooking with this.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 July 2015 at 07:24
Nice job, Ron.

The liquid form looked a little dark. But that might just be the photo. The solidified form is exactly the right color.

Enjoy experimenting. But be cautious. Ghee can become addictive, replacing not only butter but numerous other oils.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AK1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 July 2015 at 23:28
Nice job Ron.  Ghee is such a wonderful thing to make.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote priya456 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 July 2017 at 00:14
Ghee has been used for thousands of years, quite literally. It’s truly an “ancient” health food and definitely not a fad. Ghee quickly was integrated into the diet, into ceremonial practice and into Ayurvedic healing practices. It’s believed to promote both mental purification and physical purification through its ability to cleanse and support wellness.
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