Ghee also known as Indian clarified butter is the most commonly used fat in Indian cooking. From stir frying veggies to deep frying (due to high smoking point) to serving/smearing/topping food to enhance taste to making sweets for all occasions, this fat is the preferred choice. It has a sweet aroma and nutty flavor which both are very addictive. Saturated Fats are considered unhealthy for you exception being Ghee which has been proven as one of the most beneficial fats to be used in the kitchen. Few of its benefits are: Its known to be great source for energy and Vitamin D, helps digestion and strengthens the immune system. It has a great shelf life and thus can last up to couple of years (known for 100 years too) at room temperature without any refrigeration. Although known as clarified butter its actually just a form of it and the two are different.
Since childhood I've always seen Ghee (TUP as its called in Marathi Language) a constant in the kitchen pantry. Mom/Granny make ghee the traditional way i.e. from scratch by boiling milk and then once its cools it would form a layer of cream on top which they would remove in a separate container and refrigerate. Once the container was somewhat full (after couple of days) they would make ghee out of that accumulated cream. I followed this method while in India and would surely do a separate post on "How o make Ghee from Scratch". But ever since we moved to USA, boiling milk was no longer required and hence Ghee from Butter seemed a good and easy alternative. It may seem intimidating at first but its actually easy and once you know how the butter reacts its pretty straight forward.
Few uses of Ghee are :
- Use it to smear hot fresh chapati's/rotis to keep them soft and nice
- For making stirfry, sabjis, dals or any type of Indian food
- Use it for making Indian Sweets such as Ladoos, sheera, halwa etc
- Or simply add it to your dal rice to make it tastier and nutritious
- Or use it to light up Diya's/lanterns
Now to the recipe...
1 pound of unsalted butter (using 4 blocks)
You will Need:
Stainless steel strainer/cheesecloth
clean jar/container with lid for storage
Stove Top Method:
Unwrap the butter and add it to a clean dry vessel/saucepan. Turn the gas on medium low and melt the butter (approximately 3-4 minutes). Give it a stir and let it continue on medium low. Next the melted butter will start boiling and foam/froth up. Keep stirring and scraping the sides at regular intervals. After a couple of minutes the foam will go away/lessen and clear yellow liquid will be boiling. Now you can reduce the heat to low and continue boiling. Keep stirring intermittently.
After a while the milk solids will separate and begin to caramelize slowly. Keep a close watch and continue to stir and scrap. You know your Ghee is ready when the surface is covered with fizzy bubbles, the liquid is clear golden orangish in color and the milk solids from the bottom turn light to medium brown . Most of all you will know from the aroma that you ghee is ready. Strain the ghee into a heat proof container to separate the liquid from the milk solids.
The Ghee when fresh/hot will be in liquid state and yellowish golden in color and slowly move into a semisolid state once it cools. After straining I like to add a pinch of salt and stir it to get a grainy texture of the ghee as it cools . But this step is optional.
Instant Pot Method:
- Turn on the Instant Pot on saute-normal mode.
- Once it displays hot, add the butter.
- Butter will follow the same cycle as the stove top method from melting, turning frothy to the milk solids separating and settling at the bottom. Just ensure to stir every 2-3 mins and set external timer depending on the quantity of butter used.
- 10 mins for 16oz, 15 mins for 32oz of butter and 25-30 mins for 48 oz.
- The time can vary slightly so keep a close watch when the milk solids start to separate.
- Once the froth turns transparent you can siwtch off the pot since it will still continute to cook.
- If you think its browning too quickly switch off the pot (as it will still continue to cook) or remove the inner pot and place it on the stove without any heat (if its almost done).
- Add a pinch of salt, allow to cool and strain into clean glass jar and store airtight.
- I have used unsalted butter for this recipe but salted butter will work too. Just be careful as the salted butter tends to splash more and high as compared to unsalted.
- Make sure to keep a close watch on the butter once the milk solids start separating. Keep the flame on low to prevent them from burning. If the milk particles burn the will impart that flavor to the ghee which will be of no use for cooking.
That's it, our Homemade Indian Ghee is ready. Use it to cook your veggies or Dals, or any Indian sweet or simply smear your chapati/rotis with it. Enjoy!!