Ever heard of ghee or clarified butter? In an effort to use more whole-some and truly “natural” ingredients, ghee and clarified butter have made a come-back in many cookbooks – or maybe they really have never left – and are often used instead of highly refined plant oils. Do you regularly use it? Do you know why so many recipes do? Have you ever made it? Today we’ll look at ghee and clarified butter in more detail. My grandmother and mother regularly use it, always having a little bowl of it in the fridge or cold pantry. Let’s see what’s all the fuss about ghee. Come and cook with us!
Ghee and clarified butter are not exactly the same thing, although they are similar. Clarified butter – or as we call it Butterschmalz – is milk fat rendered from butter by heating it for long enough to separate the milk solids and water from the butterfat. The water evaporates and the milk solids either float to the surface and are skimmed off or sink to the bottom and are left behind when the butterfat is poured off. The clarified butterfat is a ridiculously rich and flavorful version of regular butter with strong and fragrant nutty notes. And what makes it so special is that this process made the butter longer-lasting and it increased its smoking point, something that makes it so attractive in many dishes.
Ghee is slightly different. It is heated to a much higher temperature and it also reflects particular regional differences that go beyond my expertise. For example, true Indian ghee is made from buffalo milk, which I honestly haven’t experimented with too much in my kitchen. Either way, in my recipes I use the term ghee and clarified butter interchangeably.
I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of jars at your supermarket. But it’s just as easy to make at home. And as with any other recipe, the higher-quality your ingredient, the better the outcome. I like to use grass-fed, organic butter that is high in omega-3s. My mother uses fresh unpasteurized butter straight from the farmer, but I find it forbiddingly expensive here in Northern California.
The uses of ghee are manifold. Weather scrambling up some eggs, frying up pancakes, sautéing vegetables or searing meat, clarified butter is a great addition to your kitchen adding amazing flavor to your dishes. And your house will be filled with the rich and flavorful notes released during the process. That’s reason enough to try it! Come and cook with us!