Monday, May 24, 2010
Ghee and Me - A Love Affair Not Meant to Be
Strained, freshly made ghee
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...When the book of life is writ and I approach the pearly gates, a footnote will be appended to my dossier. The notation will inform the gate keeper that I made ghee - once. I should be ashamed of myself I know. A goodly portion of the world makes ghee and they do it without complaint. Not only do I complain, I complain when it is not necessary. It's not so much that ghee is hard to make, it's that it's a bother to make. It takes time and patience and a serenity that seems, still, to elude me. Ghee is a fat that is much like clarified butter. There is one major difference, however. Ghee is made by simmering melted butter and allowing the milk solids at the bottom of the pan to brown before straining. The foam at the top of the butter is whey, while the brown bits on the bottom of the pan are curds. The clear oil that remains after straining the curds and whey is pure butterfat or ghee, and it has a high smoke point that makes it great for frying. Clarified butter is made in much the same way, save for the fact that the curds at the bottom of the pan are not allowed to brown. The browning gives ghee a subtle nutty flavor that can't be found in clarified butter. As to my unnecessary complaints, I live in a university community that has an Indian grocery store. I can buy ghee and do most of the time. I do, however, have an independent streak that forces me to try things that really aren't necessary. I talked myself into making ghee and now that I've done it I'll move on to other things, secure in the knowledge that I can make it should I have to. For those kindred spirits whose "been there, done that" list does not yet contain ghee, here's the recipe.
Ghee...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite
1 cup ( 2 sticks) unsalted butter
Place butter in a small heavy saucepan and set over very low heat. A heavy saucepan is necessary to prevent burning. Allow butter to melt without stirring. About 10 minutes into process, it will start to spit and a white foam will form on surface. Do not stir or shake pan. Continue cooking, over very low heat, for 30 to 40 minutes longer. Remove pan from heat and skim off crusty top layer. This layer looks like a soft topping of bread crumbs. Slowly pour liquid through a fine mesh strainer that is lined with a coffee filter, making sure to leave any foam or brown bits behind. The butterfat, ghee, will be clear and lemon or light gold in color. Pour into a lidded container and seal. Ghee will thicken as it cools. While ghee can be kept at room temperature, it is best to refrigerate it. It will keep for 4 to 6 weeks. Yield: 1 cup.
You might find these related posts helpful:
How to Make Clarified Butter and Ghee - The Reluctant Gourmet
Ghee: A Wholesome Fat - The Nourished Kitchen
Clarified Butter - Cooking for Engineers
This post is being linked to:
Smiling Sally - Blue Monday