Ghee (from Sanskrit word meaning 'sprinkled') is clarified butter. Ghee can be prepared at home by boiling milk and taking the cream off. When the cream is cold, take a wooden stick and churn it. The water separates and the rest becomes unsalted butter. Melt the butter over low heat gradually in a heavy-bottomed pot. Do not stir. Cook until it is a clear golden liquid. It may bubble and foam may form on top, which you'll need to skim off and discard.
Remove from heat while the liquid is a clear gold. Any darker and it's overcooked. Take a large sieve and line it with 4 sheets of cheesecloth or muslin. Place it over a clean dry pot. While still hot, carefully strain the ghee through the cheesecloth-lined sieve into the pot. Transfer the strained ghee carefully into a clean glass jar and shut tightly. Ghee at room temperature looks semi-solid.
How to select
It is best to prepare the ghee at home. If you buy from a store, then look for a well known branded ghee as commercially prepared ghee may have adulterants and added animal fats. Any pure ghee would be uniformly homogenous, and not half semi-solid and the other bottom half fully caked hard. Organic ghee is also available in select markets.
· Since ghee doesn't spoil easily, it preserves the original freshness of herbs and foods.
· Its culinary high points are plenty-the aroma and flavour it imparts and the fact that one needs to use only half as much as other cooking oils. It doesn't burn or smoke during cooking and combine excellently with a wide variety of spices.
· Ghee is used for tempering on dals and vegetable preparation or preparing rice dishes like pulao and biryani.
· Ghee is also added on hot Indian breads for its distinct aroma and taste.
How to store
Ghee can be stored for extended periods without refrigeration, provided it is kept in an airtight container to prevent oxidation. Always use a clean utensil to scoop out ghee.
· Ghee is 100% fat (about 14 grams per tablespoon) and that too saturated fats which are known to increase risk to heart diseases. Ghee consumption in moderation is advised.
· Our ancient Ayurvedic texts gave ghee the cherished title of rasayana- food that helps overall health, longevity and well-being. Ghee helps balance excess stomach acid, and helps repair the mucus lining of the stomach
· Ghee contains butyric acid, a fatty acid that has anti-viral and anti-cancer properties''.