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Ghee 101: The How, The What, And The Why

Have you ever tried making pancakes? If you have, you’ll know to make the batter, heat up the pan, add a slab of butter to said pan, wait a few seconds, go to add your pancake batter, and – hold up, the butter got too hot and burnt. You’re bummed, but you cook the pancakes anyway. The final product smells rather burnt and looks like it too, but they’re still pancakes so you eat them… begrudgingly nonetheless.

Well, we’re here to offer some consolation: the burnt pancakes were (kind of) not your fault. That’s just the butter, and more specifically the proteins in the butter. Butter is made up of three components: fat, water, and milk solids, which house the proteins. The milk solids don’t make up much of the butter itself (less than 5%) but can seriously leave a mark when not handled properly (aka your burnt pancakes). That’s where ghee comes in.

What’s Ghee?

Ghee, or clarified butter as some say (although this is wrong, we’ll get to that later), is the butter without the milk solids. It’s simply the fat and water.

How To Make It

To make ghee, simply add large amounts of butter to a pot and heat it up until the milk solids separate and float to the top. Butter = yellow, milk solids = white. If you were to make clarified butter, you’d simply skim/strain off the white milk solids from the top. For ghee, keep heating the butter until the milk solids brown and sink to the bottom. Once they’ve sunk, strain the liquid through a cheesecloth. The remaining golden liquid, my friends, is your ghee. It keeps much longer than butter, has a high smoke point, and you can cook pretty much anything with it (like searing meats or sauteing veggies). Ghee and clarified butter are similar cook-wise, but ghee adds a rich, nutty flavour. This makes your pancakes char-free and exceptionally tasty.

How To Use It

Treat ghee like any other cooking oil. Roast meat with it, saute vegetables, COOK PANCAKES. It’s especially popular in Indian and Southeast Asian cooking for curries and dals. Really just use it to cook however you like – you won’t have to worry about burntness – or add it onto bread, toast, or waffles to replace butter. The possibilities are endless.

Other Benefits

Besides its high smoke point and nutty flavour, ghee also has many other benefits. First, it’s free of lactose and casein. Because these milk proteins are skimmed off, the majority of people with sensitivities to lactose or casein don’t have an issue with it. Huge bonus. Second, it’s also loaded with fat-soluble vitamins like A, E, and K, which help balance hormones. It’s also been shown to improve digestion, remove inflammation, help ease leaky gut and IBS symptoms, and is shown to improve metabolism.

All in all, while you shouldn’t go chugging the stuff to lose weight, it could be a good thing to incorporate into your diet, especially to replace butter or other cooking oils. And you should definitely use it to cook your pancakes.

Sources:

https://www.epicurious.com/ingredients/difference-between-clarified-butter-ghee-brown-butter-article

https://www.abeautifulplate.com/clarified-butter-ghee-and-brown-butter/

https://draxe.com/ghee-benefits/

Carli

Carli graduated from Dalhousie University with a double-major degree in Environmental Sustainability and Sociology. She's just your regular food-lovin', outdoorsy gal who's wholeheartedly obsessed with her dog, Bella. Despite working for an organic grocery store, if you offer her any form of artificially sweetened candy, she will say yes - always.

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