Ghee is Indian style fully clarified butter. Through cooking, the butter’s moisture is removed and the milk solids are browned, transforming it into a butterscotchy-smelling, shelf stable fat with a high smoke point (485º).
Making your own ghee is simple and much cheaper than buying premade, even if you use organic butter. I usually cook a whole pound of butter, which yields close to two cups of ghee. I save the browned particles to use in Indian dal recipes for added flavor. You can also add the solids to your rice or some of your breads.
GHEE yields varies
- organic butter—Organic Valley regular unsalted butter is perfect. Click for a promotional offer including $10 in coupons. The current Whole Foods Whole Deal newsletter contains a coupon for $1 OFF OV one-pound butter.
Put the butter into a medium saucepan. I prefer a pot with a light-colored interior. My Chantal white-enameled pan (just a few bucks from the Gucci Goodwill on Lake Austin Blvd.) is perfect. Slowly melt and cook the butter, swirling the pan occasionally for that “hands-on” feeling, until the milk solids at the bottom of the pot have browned. The butter will gurgle and sputter to you in a chatty way as it renders, keeping you apprised of the water content. When the butter waxes taciturn, you’ll know it’s time to monitor the imminent browning.
Butterscotchly-browned and scented, your ghee is ready for decanting. I ladle the clear butterfat through a permanent coffee filter into a glass jar. Try not to disturb the particulates. After you’ve gleaned all the golden oil you can without stirring up the sediment (that is NOT a lovely word), seal your jar with an air-tight lid. Scrape the solids into a separate container and freeze them if you won’t be using them soon. You can store the brownings in the fridge for a week or two.
The finished, strained ghee solidifies at cool room temperature and will keep in your pantry for months. That’s more months in the cool season and fewer moons in hot weather. (Unless your lucky kitchen keeps its cool year-round—mine sure doesn’t!)