Ghee. The scent of ghee always reminds me of childhood. Mounds of onions sautéing away in hot puddles of ghee on rainy summer mornings, burnt sugar and split cardamom pods with vermicelli in nutty ghee on Eid afternoons: little did I know, ghee became the ether for my memories.
A few days ago, I posted a story of do-it-yourself ghee on my Instagram. So many of you shared sweet memories that raced with mine. There were memories of your mothers making ghee, memories of your first trips to an Indian supermarket to find a shelf stable Ayurvedic fat, and memories of working in restaurant kitchens simmering away vats of clarified butter.
Ghee is clarified butter, and more specifically, it's butter in which the water is completely boiled off, and the milk proteins are allowed to brown, thereby giving ghee that extra depth, that nutty flavor. When we remove the milk proteins and water, we're left with almost 100% pure butterfat, which has a very high smoke point (about 450°F), so it's perfect for searing meats and vegetables. This process also gives ghee a longer shelf life so that you can keep it unrefrigerated.
Overall, it's a simple process that I've outlined below. I hope it brings you more memories, old and new.
DIY Ghee ~ A Golden Pensieve
- 1lb (450g) unsalted butter
- Small saucepot
- Cheesecloth or coffee filter
- Start by melting the unsalted butter in a small saucepot over medium-high heat.
- Once it's fully melted, continue to heat until it comes to a gentle boil. The milk proteins will become thick and foamy, slowly breaking apart into small clusters.
- Lower the heat to medium, and continue to boil. As the butter boils, the milk proteins will sink to the bottom of the pot, and the butter will change color from light yellow to deep gold. When the foaming and bubbling activity calms and subsides, the ghee is ready.
- Turn off the heat, and pour the ghee through a cheesecloth-lined strainer or a through a coffee filter. Let cool, and transfer to a sealed container.