essentials to make & store

garam masala powder

25th January 2017

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Garam means “heating” and masala means “spice blend”.   Garam masala is a warming spice mix – in Ayurveda, the word ‘warming’ refers to the ‘heating properties’ of the ingredients.

Garam Masala is a very simple spice to make, you can toast the spices on the back burner while you prepare the vegetables for the dish you are going to make.  When you grind the spices, the most delicious aromas fills your kitchen and puts you into a state of blissful contentment.  And that is good place to start when cooking!

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In yogic philosophy the cook who prepares the meal is very much honoured.  The mindset of the cook deeply affects the food.   It is important for the person preparing the food to maintain a calm and quiet demeanor, thinking about divine subjects is also highly beneficial while preparing food.  If the cook is a seeker of Truth, holding the thought that her efforts to prepare the meal will support aspirants will have a positive effect to those who eat it.  

  ~ The Sacred Tradition of Yoga – Dr Shankaranarayana Jois.

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garam masala

Recipe inspired from ‘The Vegetarian Table’ by Yamuna Devi.

If you have ajwain seeds add ½ tsp to the recipe below.  Grind your own cardamom as the taste is so much more fragrant, fresher and more intense. An easy way to do this is place 3 tablespoons of cardamom pods in a high-speed blender or coffee grinder, and roughly grind. Use a strainer to sift the ground pods, discard the shells and grind the bigger chunks again to a finer powder.  Make in small batches, as the spices can lose some of their flavour after just a couple of months, which can change the flavour and balance of the whole blend.  When using Garam Masala it is best to add at the end of cooking.

Makes about  cup

ingredients :

½ cup/35g coriander seeds

3 Tblsp fennel seeds

1 Tblsp black mustard seeds

1 tsp cardamom seeds

10 whole cloves

½ tsp red pepper flakes

2 – inch piece cinnamon stick (roughly broken up)

preparation :

Preheat a heavy skillet over medium-low heat.  Add all the ingredients except the cardamom (as roasting it destroys the ‘sweetness’ in the seeds) and dry toast the spices, stirring occasionally, until they darken slightly – about 10 – 15 minutes.

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Transfer the spices to a bowl, allow to cool completely, when cool place in a coffee grinder or blender, add in the cardamom seeds and grind to a powder.

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Sift through, discarding the roughage – depending on how powerful your grinder is.  Use while fresh or store in an airtight container for up to a month.  I use garam masala in this gingerbread spice cake & fruit cake in replace of the all-spice, in this tofu curry or in these vegetable samosas – using a quick good quality puff pastry.

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golden honey passionfruit elixir & a chia pudding

15th August 2016

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A recipe created for  Holmes Place magazine as part of an ongoing concept of seasonal ‘superfoods’ through out the year.

Elixir : a substance, usually a liquid, with a magical power to cure, improve, or preserve something.

This Elixir works as a wonderful topping for your morning yogurt or warm cooked oats. At other times, mixed in with a salad dressing; drizzled over vanilla ice-cream for an evening treat; as a drink, stirred into hot, not boiling, water or gently heated and stirred into milk; or added to smoothies or juices for a flavour kick. Turmeric root is often used in Ayurvedic medicine for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiseptic properties.   For this elixir, it is combined with the multiple wonderful benefits of passionfruit, honey and ginger, all healing and preventive powerhouses on their own.  

When buying passionfruit, the ripe fruit should be firm and heavy with wrinkled skins, and have a little “give”.  If the skin is not deeply wrinkled, but only shrivelled and unappealing, keep the fruit at room temperature until it is.

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Golden Honey Passionfruit Elixir

Makes 1 cup (240mL)

Recipe adapted from Tara O’Brady – Seven Spoons.

When passionfruit are not in season, replace with an extra ¼ cup honey.

ingredients:

½ cup mild tasting honey, preferably raw

½ cup ripe passionfruit pulp (approximately 6 fruits)

2 Tblsp freshly grated ginger

1 heaped tsp turmeric powder/ 1 Tblsp freshly grated turmeric root

Zest from 1 lemon

2 pinches freshly ground black pepper

Grate the ginger and lemon zest.  Halve the passionfruit and scoop out the pulp and seeds to measure half a cup.  Set aside.

Pour the honey into a jar, add the passionfruit pulp, grated ginger, turmeric, lemon zest and ground pepper.  Stir to combine well.  Allow to stand for 30 minutes before using, or an hour if you can, then cover and refrigerate.  The longer it sits, the more the flavours balance and settle.  Stir before serving.  Use within 1 week.

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Chia Pudding with Berries & Golden Honey Passionfruit Elixir

Serves 2

chia pudding :

2 Tblsp chia seeds

½ cup almond milk/or nut milk of choice

¼ tsp vanilla essence

serving options:

1 cup Greek style yogurt or choice of non-dairy yogurt

2 – 4 Tblsp Golden Honey Passionfruit Elixir

Fresh seasonal fruits, such as sliced peaches/nectarines, strawberries and raspberries, washed and chopped

2 – 4 Tbsp chopped almonds/granola

To make the chia pudding, place the chia seeds, vanilla essence and nut milk in a jar.  Screw on the lid, shake a few times and refrigerate for 30 minutes or preferably overnight.  Stir again before serving.

When ready to serve, divide the yogurt into two individual bowls and evenly spoon over the chia pudding.  Drizzle the Golden Passionfruit Elixir over the top, arrange the fruits and berries, and garnish with fresh mint leaves, toasted almonds or your favourite granola.

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pine nut parmesan

28th May 2015

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and then Spring arrived…….soft bright light, growth, birth, beginnings, quiet, revel, love, glory and new life

And a proud mama!

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pine nut parmesan

slightly adapted from here

I enjoy parmesan cheese,  for my daughter and husband who avoid eating dairy this is a great substitute, it is so tasty that I find myself using it as well.

ingredients :

½ cup pine nuts

2 Tblsp unhulled sesame seed

2 Tblsp sunflower seeds

1 tsp lemon zest

2 Tblsp nutritional yeast (sold in the UK under Engevita & in Australia it is called savoury yeast flakes)

¼ tsp Himilayan salt

preparation :

Heat a small skillet over medium heat, add the pine nuts and toast until golden, stirring and watch constantly to avoid burning them.  Transfer to a bowl to cool.

In a small food processor/upright blender, add the pine nuts, sesame, sunflower seeds, lemon zest, nutritional yeast and salt, grind until coarsely ground.  I like it quite coarse with a few seeds whole for a little crunch and surprise.  Check seasonings and adjust to your liking.  Pour into a jar and store in the refrigerator.

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Goodness shared from Stacey

tamari – toasted pumpkin & sunflower seeds

2nd May 2015

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I went to India last week and came back….

Six days full of joys, challenges, moments of confusion and clarity, abundance and grace in so many ways.

I came back with a piece of gold inside my heart.  I have been holding it with heartfelt gratitude, inner joy & eternal honouring.

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early morning perfection

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tamari – toasted seeds

These make a great satisfying, salty snack to travel with on a long plane journey; also great to have on hand to add as a finishing touch to salads or any grain dishes.

Makes 1 cup

ingredients :

½ cup raw pumpkin seeds

½ cup raw sunflowers seeds

1 Tblsp tamari sauce

preparation :

Heat a skillet over medium heat, then add the pumpkin seeds & sunflower seeds. To avoid burning, shake and stir the seeds constantly as they are toasting.  When the seeds start to pop open and release their aroma, they are done – approximately 2 – 3 minutes.  Turn off the heat.  Drizzle with tamari sauce and stir until combined.  Set aside to cool.  Store in a sealed jar.

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almond butter

8th April 2012

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Spring is here and the garden is exploding in colours and fragrance.  The Jasmin is in full bloom and the wisteria is in its full, lilac beauty.  This also means there is so much work to do in this explosion of growth and enthusiasm.  I just unloaded my car with bags and bags of manure and a whole box full of summer seedlings, which need to be planted today after I write this post.  But first, a favourite and a constant staple in our house – toasted almond butter.

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Roasting the nuts before grinding is optional.  I like how it brings out the wonderful nutty aroma in the almond.  If you decide to keep them raw just keep in mind the grinding process will be much longer and you will require a very powerful grinder. You can try all sorts of nut or seed butter creations, like sunflower – cashew – brazil or combining sesame – macadamia, almond – hazelnut.  Just make sure with hazelnuts you remove the bitter skins by rubbing them together after roasting.  I prefer using just almonds, as their qualities are less heating than most other nuts & seeds. 

If the nut butter doesn’t come together or you need to speed up the process,  add a tablespoon of walnut oil or oil of your choice after the first 4 minutes of grinding.  The process is a bit daunting, but just have patience and don’t quit too early.

My favourite way of eating almond butter is smeared on two halves of a medjool date for a sweet at the end of a meal.  My son loves to eat crunchy apple slices dipped in almond butter and enjoys it with home-made strawberry jam on bread.

Makes a wonderful welcome gift for someone special.

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toasted almond butter

Makes approximately 2 cups

ingredients :

4 cups whole raw organic almonds

¼ teaspoon rock salt (optional)

preparation :

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.

Spread the almonds out in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 12 – 15 minutes until fragrant and they are just starting to brown lightly inside, be careful not to over roast them.   Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Transfer the almonds to a food processor, add the salt and blend, using the highest setting for 1 – 2 minutes to grind them to a powder.  Scrape down the sides of the container.  The whole process takes between 12 to 18 minutes, all depending on the machine you are using, the quality & quantity of the almonds and how well they are roasted.

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After two minutes, it should look like coarse almond meal:

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After 4 minutes, the oils will start to release:

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As it keeps blending it will release more of the oils and look like this.  You may need to stop and scrape down the sides.

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Usually by 8 – 10 minutes it will look like this.  A ball may form, break it up into a few pieces and keep blending and scraping down the sides…..

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After 12 – 14 minutes, it will look like this.  Keep going….you want to wait until the oils are fully released.

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And finally, two to four more minutes, blend until it is completely smooth with a slight sheen.

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I find that the almond butter needs to sit for an hour or two after making it for the flavours to intensify and come together.  Store in a jar in the fridge and use within one month.

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orange marmalade jam

6th February 2012

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There is a orange tree that sits right on the edge of the vegetable garden. In Spring, the citrus trees are in full bloom and two of the triangles are carpeted with their snowy, white blossoms.  The air is sweet, pungent and glorious.  Its scent follows you around wherever you go. In Summer, the blossoms are replaced with round, green balls of fruit and in Autumn, the fruit starts to blush a soft yellow.  And by the start of Winter, the two triangles in the vegetable garden are carpeted with oranges that fall ripe and ready from the tree.  This year these oranges are small.  It was a long, hot, dry Summer and this poor little tree suffered. I did find some bigger ones though and their juice is sweet.  Perfect for a sticky, orange marmalade jam with a taste of sun on toast.

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orange marmalade jam

Makes 4 jars

ingredients :

1 kg juicy oranges – approx 5 large oranges

1 lemon

500g light brown sugar

preparation :

Using a small, sharp kitchen knife, cut the oranges and the lemon in half and then in half again, so that you have quarters.  Scoop out as many seeds as you can and then thinly slice each quarter into fine shreds and small pieces (or thicker slices if you like a chunkier texture).

Place the oranges, lemon shreds and sugar into a heavy enamelled pan.  Bring to the boil, cover, then lower the heat so that the liquid continues to simmer merrily.  Simmer, covered for 3 hours, until the peel is soft.  In intervals, lift the lid and scoop off any seeds you may have missed that have floated to the surface and stir.

Ladle into sterilised pots and seal.  I usually freeze the jars and defrost as I need them.  Because of the low sugar content, the jam needs to be kept in the fridge.

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Goodness shared from Stacey

strawberry jam

8th May 2011

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Someone had left a big bucket of beautiful, very ripe strawberries in my kitchen while I was out on my afternoon walk yesterday.  I am sure I will find out who it was over the next few days.  Living in a Morshav and having a very open house allows neighbours, friends and children to wander in and out as they please. They look like they were picked fresh from the fields which are nearby.  We are spoilt with our strawberries this time of year,  being able to buy them freshly picked from the fields, if the time it right.  Perfectly ripe for strawberry jam.  This recipe is based on Anna’s recipe and it makes about 6 medium jars which I freeze as I need them.  What I love most about this recipe is that it allows for the sweetness of the strawberries to come through without being overpowered by the sugar.  Because of the less sugar, it is a little on the watery side and I do end up scooping it out with a spoon onto my bread.  The taste is sensationally strawberry-sweet!

I have grown them in the garden a few times, but the ruby-red, ripening fruit would lure in my three peacocks, and they would always find them before I did.  Now I have replanted them in a sunny corner in the garden, just outside my kitchen window, so I can enjoy watching our peacocks find them as a surprise treat.

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strawberry jam

For jam making I prefer the smaller strawberries, they have much less water content.  If using the larger ones buy them very ripe.  This is a very easy recipe that requires no chopping.

Makes 6 – 7 jars

ingredients :

2 kg small strawberries, topped

600g light brown sugar

preparation :

No need to chop the strawberries just rinse well and top them.   Place in a wide, deep saucepan and sprinkle over the sugar,allow them to sit overnight, so all the juices can be drawn out of the strawberries.

The next morning , bring to boil and boil rapidly for 20 minutes.  Turn off the heat and allow to settle for half an hour.  I take a potato masher and roughly break up the strawberries, then scoop up all this red goodness into sterilised glass jars.  Because of the low sugar content this jam needs to be refrigerated.  Close your eyes and enjoy the lingering smell that fills the kitchen, just for a moment or two.

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gomasio

21st June 2010

My diet has been very simple at the moment, mostly craving really good simple food.  I have been experimenting with raw foods and putting my dehydrator too much use.  Tonight I have in the dehydrator a wonderful raw granola “I am Great” (taken from my ‘I am Grateful’ cookbook which consists of grated apple, soaked almonds, sunflower seeds, buckwheat, cranberries, dates, coconut and cinnamon. I have also been trying to eat less bread and making all sorts of linseed crackers and almond toast from soaked and sprouted seeds than dehydrating them in my special oven.

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But my favorite food at the moment is a bowl of brown rice.

Yesterday I sautéed tofu, zucchini and red peppers, added a little tamari and gomasio and that was another delicious meal. The other day I rolled brown rice mixed with a little bit of left-over almond pulp into nori rolls with some avocado, grated carrot and crisp cucumber..yum.. On the weekend it was more of an elaborate meal with a simple red dahl and green salad with a big bowl of brown rice. Today I had my bowl of brown rice with a salad and drizzled a tahini and lemon sauce over the top, but my most favourite is eating it plain and simple sprinkled with gomasio. It tastes so comforting, clean and wonderfully grounding.

Gomasio is a nutty, salty condiment which you can sprinkle on soups, salads, stews or use as you would salt. Sesame seeds have a high calcium content. They also have wonderful amounts of manganese, copper, iron, zinc and vitamin B1. My version is a slight variation on traditional gomasio by incorporating a sheet of toasted nori for a salty sea flavour and additional nutrients.

You can use any type of sesame seeds, though preferably the tan ones opposed to the white. The white ones which are sold at the supermarket are hulled, and may be even bleached. I don’t recommend them, as it’s the hull that keeps the oil inside from getting rancid. You could also omit the nori and make a spicy gomasio by adding crushed red pepper flakes.

I used a quick modern-day grinding method but for a more meditative and energetically calming method, you can use a traditional mortar and pestle by grinding it in smaller batches.

gomasio

Makes 1 cup

ingredients :

1 cup tan sesame seeds

2 teaspoons freshly ground sea salt

1 sheet toasted nori

preparation :

In a small skillet, toast the salt for a couple of minutes and put aside, then add the sesame seeds to the skillet and dry roast them on a very low heat for about 10 mins, stirring constantly, until the seeds begin to brown. Don’t be tempted to increase the heat as the longer lower temperature will result in more even heat distribution, more even browning, and more of a potent roasted flavor.

Using a small blender or a coffee grinder, place the still warm sesame seeds and salt, roughly broken-up nori sheet and blend together. Be careful not to grind too much: you want some of the texture of the seeds to remain.

Use immediately or refrigerate until ready to use. It can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several weeks.

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pumpkin & flaxseed blend – omega 3 & 6

11th May 2010

We are continually bombarded with the importance of including Omega-3 and Omega-6, amongst other essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients.  Unfortunately, these often come from companies trying to sell their supplements.  I am a huge believer in that, if I aim to eat a healthy, clean, balanced diet, there is no need for extra supplementation.  A great money saver.  Another downside to taking various multi-vitamins and supplements, is that too much of a good thing can actually cause more harm.  Certain vitamins and minerals are harmful in large doses and can interfere with the absorption of iron, calcium and other ‘goodies’.

And what are those Omega benefits?

Omega-3’s have anti-inflammatory and anti-coagulant properties as well as many other important health benefits.  They reduce inflammation and can provide protection against cardiovascular disease, arthritis, skin conditions, depression and other mood-related disorders.  Omega-6, when sourced through diet, has anti-inflammatory properties.  It can help the bloating and pain associated with PMS.  It also maintains healthy skin, hair and nails and generally helps to bring about hormonal and emotional balance.

Omega 3 and Omega 6 interact with each other so the balance between them is crucial for good health.

Knowing this, I have decided to try and ‘supplement’ my body the ‘natural food’ way.  This recipe is for a mix of ground pepitas and flaxseeds that provide the minimum healthy dietary intake of both Omega-3 and Omega-6.   Usually, one is taken more than the other in the form of fish oil supplements, however a balance of both is important.  So, this seed blend does that perfectly.  Flaxseeds are high in Omega-3, whereas pepitas(pumpkin seeds) are almost equally equivalent in Omega-6.   Sunflower seeds and walnuts provide high sources of the 6 as well, if you would like to vary your mixture.

omega blend

ingredients :

100g  flaxseed (I used a mixture of golden and brown)

100g pepitas

preparation :

In a spice blender, combine the seeds.  Grind to a fairly fine mixture.  This may need to completed in stages, depending on the size of your grinder.   Pour into a glass jar with a lid.  Shake well to distribute seeds evenly.  Store in the fridge.

Use 2 heaped teaspoons on cereal, in pies/quiches, salad dressings.  The list is endless.  I add mine to my morning oats.  This quantity provides the daily minimum healthy dietary intake of both Omega-3 and Omega-6.

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ghee

27th August 2009

ghee

Ghee is the most amazing substance, melted, it pours like liquid gold.  At room temperature, it is semi-soft and creamy.  Ghee can be kept at room temperature for months and heated to frying temperatures without burning.  Ghee takes only moments of hands-on time to make at home. It’s derived from butter through a process of cooking off the milk solids until it becomes an easier to digest, healthier alternative to butter and oil or as an ingredient to add flavour and richness to foods.  To some it’s known as clarified butter, to others the golden elixir of healing.

Ghee is a source of beta-carotene and vitamins A, D, E, and K.  Beta-carotene and vitamin E are both valuable antioxidants, helpful in preventing injury to the body. Ghee contains between 4 and 5 percent linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid often lacking in a vegetarian diet. Because the casein butter has been removed, ghee is lactose-free and contains no oxidized cholesterol.  According to Ayurvedic text on health, ” Ghee is good for the eyes, stimulates digestion, supports skin glow, enhances memory and stamina, balances hormones and helps to promote greater longevity.”

Ghee heals your body from the inside.  In Ayurveda, ghee is recognised as one of the most sattvic foods.  Ayurvedic doctors have used ghee for many hundred years.  Ghee is known to reduce heat in the body, sharpen the memory and intellect, lubricate and strengthen the digestive track.  It helps you on your journey to reach higher levels of consciousness and towards enlightenment.  It is the yogic tradition to mix ghee into each meal every day.

ghee

ghee (clarified butter)

This makes about 1½ cups of ghee and will take about 10 – 12 minutes to prepare.  The good quality of ghee rests on the quality of butter, so use the best available and use unsalted. This is important. 

ghee stage 1

500 grams, unsalted organic butter

Place the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring it to a gentle boil over a medium heat.  It will take approximately 5 minutes to melt down.

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Initially, it will froth and foam, and then begin to settle down.  Around the 8 minute mark, the froth will subside, it will then start to bubble and crackle quite vigorously and with much noise.  It will continue like this for another 3 – 4 minutes,  then the bubbling will soften.

ghee stage 3

You will know you are near the end when the ghee boils rapidly, then begins to slow down.  Use your sense of hearing as you will hear the intense bubbling, then a quieter sound.  Watch carefully, the ghee will burn quickly at this stage. Burnt ghee takes on a granular texture when chilled and turns a dull beige colour because the lactose sugars have caramelized to burned.

Cook until a thin crust begins to form on the surface and milky-white solids fall to the bottom of the pan.

When you become more experienced in making ghee, I like to leave it another 30 seconds after the bubbly has disappeared, to intensify the flavour. Do this carefully as it is easy to burn the ghee. I keep a small wooden spoon nearby and depending on the quality or brand of butter it may foam and threaten to foam over – this is where the spoon is needed to stir the top part of the foam so that it subsides.

ghee froth

Turn off the heat, and allow the pot to continue to sit on the stove, it will continue to bubbly slightly.

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Eventually, it will turn from white to fawn-coloured.  The ghee will become clear, translucent and pleasantly fragrant, it is done.   Allow to cool slightly in the pot.

finished ghee

It is optional to pour the hot ghee through a very thin sieve.  I use a tea strainer.  Or alternatively allow the ghee to settle and pour the ghee as is, into a jar using the left over residue to make a delicious treat.  See below.  Avoid letting any moisture or water into the ghee as this promotes bacterial growth.

ghee straining

Additionally the residue left in the strainer and the pot can be turned into a sweet.  Add½ cup whole wheat flour to pot, stir for 5 minutes on medium heat. Add 2 teaspoon of sweetener, jaggery or unrefined sugar and keep stirring another 2 minutes.  Add ½ cup milk, stir and turn off heat. Form into balls and enjoy!  An alternative combination: use sooji (cream of wheat) and coconut or add to the pot cooked brown rice.

As it sits it will become semi soft and creamy.  (Unless you live in a very hot climate, it will stay liquid.)  Ghee does not need to be refrigerated and can be kept on the counter for months.  It never lasts that long in our house.  Use as a replacement for oil/butter in cooking.  It can also be used to ‘cool down too spicy food’.  My son, loves it drizzled on rice.

solid ghee - finished

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