Ghee, quite simply, is butter with all the milk solids removed by cooking. That's why it's also called clarified butter. When just made, or heated, ghee is a clear golden oil. When kept at room temperature, ghee is a semi-solid--not hard like butter but a scoopable texture.
From the Ayurvedic perspective, ghee is revered as a rasayana--a food that promotes overall good health, vitality and longevity. It is a sattvic ( that which has a pure influence on mind, body and spirit) food. Ghee is very pacifying for vata and pitta. Vata types can enjoy more ghee than pitta types, and pitta types can enjoy more ghee than kapha types. Ghee stimulates the digestion while balancing stomach acid, is cooling for the mind and body, and helps carry the benefits of different foods to the cells and tissues of the body. The therapeutic value of spices is brought out in Ayurvedic cooking by sautéing them in a little ghee. Ghee also brings out the aroma and flavor of many foods.
Ghee can be heated to high temperatures without burning. It stays fresh for several weeks if kept in a relatively cool place. Ghee can be used to bake, sauté, fry and as a spread.
While ghee is available at Indian grocery stores, it can easily be made at home using good quality butter that is organic and bovine growth hormone free.
How to Make Ghee at Home
* 1 pound unsalted butter (organic if available)
* a large sieve
* 4 sheets of cheesecloth or muslin
* a dry heavy-bottomed deep pot
* a clean dry pot to hold the finished ghee
* a clean 1-pound glass jar with lid.
1. Melt the butter over low heat gradually in the heavy-bottomed pot. Do not stir.
2. Over low heat, cook the melted butter until it is a clear golden liquid. It may bubble some, and a foam may form on top, but if you have a deep pot it won't boil over. Golden or light brown solids will form and may settle at bottom. You can skim off and discard thick foam if you like.
3. Remove from heat while the liquid is a clear gold. A darker color means overdone ghee.
4. Line the sieve with the 4 sheets of cheesecloth and place over the clean dry pot. While still hot, carefully strain the ghee through the cheesecloth-lined sieve into a clean, dry pot.
5. Transfer the strained ghee carefully into the clean jar and shut tightly.
Note: Ghee at room temperature looks semi-solid. Ghee does not need to be refrigerated. Always use a clean utensil to scoop out ghee for use.