Ghee (Clarified Butter)

Ghee is clarified butter that has a smoke point of 252˚C. It is originated from the Indian subcontinent. Sanskrit word ‘ghruta’ which means the combination of herbal decoctions and fresh paste of herbs is the mother of word ‘ghee’. Over the period, the decoction found its way to milk (which was also used for some ayurvedic treatments in place of herbs) and later to our plates. Slowly the herbal decoctions were dominated by raw milk decoctions which resulted in ‘ghee’. Ghee is mentioned in Hindu Knowledge text – Yajurveda. Yajna(fire offering) and the oblation to various Hindu deities are never complete without ghee. Since the ‘Hindu’ is the oldest civilized identity on the planet and so Vedas, the mention of ghee in this culture makes it one of the oldest nutritious substances on earth. It is evident that ghee is used across In the Indian Subcontinent for 5,000 years. Ghee has a nutty taste and it is aromatic.

Indian Cuisines like Biryani, Daal Baati, Roti, Pongal, Khichdi and most of the Sweet dishes can not be described or prepared without ghee. Also, ghee is an ideal fat for deep frying because of its higher smoke point (252˚C), which is above the typical cooking temperature of around 200˚C and above that of most vegetable oils. Most of the Indian snacks contain refined flour (maida) which is fibreless. Such fibreless substance can be disturbing to the digestive system as well as blood sugar level. Since ghee contains fatty-acids, such disturbing effects of the snacks on the human body can be taken care of by frying them in ghee. Ghee doesn’t produce trans-fats in the body but releases fatty acids – Omega 3. Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid which helps the body to fight depression & anxiety, improves the eye-sight as well as the quality of sleep, nourishes the skin, boosts the heart health, maintains the metabolism of the body, etc.

Traditionally ghee is prepared by boiling raw cow milk. Once the milk is boiled, it is set to cool to 43˚C temperature. After letting it sit covered at room temperature for around 12 hours, yogurt is to be added and should be left to settle overnight. The settlement process makes more yogurt. This yogurt is churned with water, to obtain cultured butter, which is used to simmer to ghee.

Several communities outside the Indian subcontinent make ghee. Egyptians call it ‘samna baladi’ which means countryside butter. The process of making samna baladi is similar to that of ghee except for the kind of raw milk; buffalo milk is used instead of cow milk which makes this butter white in color. In Ethiopia, natives use ghee with the distinctive taste which is known as ‘niter kibbeh’. This is made in a similar way as ghee but with varieties of spices added to it during the process. In Brazil, an unrefrigerated butter similar to ghee – ‘manteiga-de-garrafa’ is common.