Tuesday, May 6, 2014

How to make Ghee (Indian clarified butter)

I've heard Ghee (pronounced gee) called "clarified butter" but until today it's been a bit of a mystery to me. I think that's because once I saw an American chef on TV make something also called clarified butter by melting butter and skimming the solids off the top. I didn't see how that process would end up with the caramelized product my mother-in-law uses in her cooking called "ghee."

Today she showed me how she does it. Which is NOT like the western way of making clarified butter. It's more like making a browned butter sauce, the purpose being to evaporate the water from the butter and caramelize a bit for a better, more flavorful product and higher melting point.


-- 1 pound unsalted butter.

1. Melt butter in a pan on the stove. Over low/medium low heat, boil butter for 10-15 minutes. The water in the butter will be evaporating during this time.

2. Once the water is gone, the butter will start to brown. This happens all of a sudden so don't walk away! Once the butter starts to brown, cook for a few seconds longer and take off the heat. It will continue to brown to a honey color and smell caramelized and nice. This is ghee:

Note the honey color of the actual ghee (in the scoop). The dark brown stuff in the bottom of the pan is the solids in the butter which have browned quite a bit but will be filtered out of the finished product.
3. Filter the ghee through a sieve and pour in a container while still hot. It will last a long time in the fridge.

color of finished, filtered, cooled ghee.

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