Ghee or Clarified Butter

January 21st, 2010

Ghee or Clarified Butter is one of the most flavorful ingredients in Indian Cuisine. Naan Breads with Ghee is eaten as a  meal in itself. Here is an interesting story of how important Ghee can be in Indian Food and Culture.

Some time ago in Punjab India, there was a Holy man who lived on the streets of his village. People used to give him food and he would take some for himself and gave the rest away. People considered him to be very holy and respected him a lot. One day a woman gave him some Naans (An Indian flat bread) and some Ghee in a bottle. A stray dog came over and snatched the Naans from the Holy man and ran off. The Holy man started limping after the dog clutching the Ghee in his hand. The woman who gave him the food was surprised as well as horrified. She yelled at him, “hey, I thought you were a saint with no attractions to material possessions. I will make you more, let the dog go, forget about it”. The saint yelled faintly back at her and started running faster, “he forgot the Ghee!”

If you want to really understand this story, come to Roma’s kitchen, have her make you a fresh Naan from her Tandoor Oven and sprinkle her home made Ghee over it.

Here is Roma’s recipe for Organic homemade Holy Man’s Ghee

Eight sticks of Organic Unsalted Butter
One Heavy bottomed Pot

Put all the Butter in the pot and slowly bring to a boil. Lower the temperature to where it is barely boiling/simmering. Let it cook for at least one hour. You will see the milk solids separate. At first they will be yellowish and then slowly turn towards light brown as they caramelize. When the solids have turned light brown, turn off the heat and let it cool. Strain it into a couple of glass bottles.

If you use daily keep one outside and one in the refrigerator. Ghee has a very long shelf life even without refrigeration. In India we kept Ghee for up to eight weeks without refrigeration. It is very important to make sure the milk solids have turned brown, if you want good shelf life.

In our home the browned milk solids were a special treat, mixed with sugar, ground fresh coconut meat and spread on bread or over cooked Basmati rice.

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