sattvic foods

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.

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 centuries.  Ghee is known to reduce heat in the body, sharpen the memory and intellect, lubricate and strengthen the digestive tract.  It helps you on your yogic journey. 

Ayurveda recommends for overall health to add a spoon of ghee with one’s morning and evening meal. It is recommended to add ghee in the liquid form (melted) when adding it directly to your food.

ghee

ghee

Cooking ghee is a continual process, which requires a watchful eye. The butter goes through several different stages of clarification from a gentle simmer, to frothing, boiling and even rising up and settling down. Watch closely!

Preparation 10 – 15 minutes.

Makes about 1½ cups.

The good quality of ghee rests on the quality of butter, so use the best available and use unsalted. 

ingredients

500 grams, unsalted organic butter

ghee stage 1

preparation

1.  Place the butter in a saucepan and bring it to a gentle boil over medium heat.  It will take approximately 5 minutes to meltdown. Initially, it will froth and foam, and then begin to settle down.  

ghee 2

2.  The ghee will begin to bubble and crackle quite vigorously. Continue boiling until the bubbling and crackling stops – approx 3 -4 minutes. 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. 

ghee stage 3

3.  Turn off the heat, and allow the pot to continue to sit on the stove, it will continue to bubble slightly. Eventually, it will turn from white to fawn-colour.  The ghee will become clear, translucent and pleasantly fragrant, it is done.  Allow to cool slightly in the pan.

ghee stage6

finished ghee

4.  It is optional to pour the hot ghee through a very thin sieve, possibly a tea strainer.  Or alternatively allow the ghee to settle and pour the ghee as is, into a jar using the leftover residue to make a delicious treat. See below.  

ghee straining

Additionally, the residue left in the strainer and the pot can be turned into a sweet.  Add ½ cup/75g whole-wheat flour to the pot, stir for 2 minutes on medium heat. Add 2-4 tablespoons of jaggery or unrefined sugar and continue stirring another 2 minutes.  Add ½ cup/115g milk, stir and turn off the heat. Form into balls, roll in coconut and enjoy!  

Variation: use semolina or coconut or add to a pot cooked brown rice.

COOKING BENEFITS AND TIPS

  • Excellent cooking oil – since ghee doesn’t start smoking until it’s heated to 375F/190C, it will neither burn nor splatter easily. When heated its chemical structure remains more stable compared to other oils.
  • You will know when you have over toasted or burnt ghee as it takes on a granular texture when chilled and turns a dull beige colour.
  • Stores well – due to its low moisture content, ghee can go weeks without refrigeration. Ghee should be consumed within a month or two.
  • The key to ghee longevity: Store it somewhere cool, keep it covered and avoid letting any moisture or water into the ghee as this promotes bacterial growth.
  • Although milk-based, it lacks both lactose and casein.
  • As it sits it will become semi-soft and creamy.  (Unless you live in a very hot climate, it will stay liquid.)

Use as a replacement for oil/butter in cooking.  It can also be used to ‘cool down too spicy food’.

solid ghee - finished

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