What Is Ghee?

Mar 25, 2013 12:31 pm

Some butter terminology is worth the clarification

what is ghee?
Photo: joyosity on Flickr
Ghee whiz: Once this butter is clarified, the party can begin.
 

Awh, ghee. Actually it's pronounced with a hard "g." Ghee is the Indian name for clarified butter, or butter which has had the milk solids removed. 

The process of removing milk solids from butter is incredibly easy — simply heat butter over a low flame and skim off the white particles that rise to the top. Continue until no more solids rise to the top, pour into a container and allow to solidify (refrigerated or not) and boom, you have ghee. It will be yellower and more translucent rather than milky-opaque. It will also smell like we imagine how heaven smells: buttery and sweet.

Why use it instead of butter? Ghee has a higher smoke point and is suitable for higher-heat frying, where you want the butter taste without the inevitable smoking...and burning. It melts at a higher temperature than butter, making it ideal for the incredibly buttery desserts India is famous for. It's also great for finishing a dish that needs a little (or a lot of) extra butter flavor, like steak or popcorn. 

Try it out on Garlic-Cilantro Naan or Sweet Potato Pakoras and see the difference. 

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